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Mol Ther. 2012 Sep;20(9):1821-30. doi: 10.1038/mt.2012.115. Epub 2012 Aug 7.

Ad3-hTERT-E1A, a fully serotype 3 oncolytic adenovirus, in patients with chemotherapy refractory cancer.

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Cancer Gene Therapy Group, Haartman Institute and Transplantation Laboratory, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.


Twenty-five patients with chemotherapy refractory cancer were treated with a fully serotype 3-based oncolytic adenovirus Ad3-hTERT-E1A. In mice, Ad3 induced higher amounts of cytokines but less liver damage than Ad5 or Ad5/3. In humans, the only grade 3 adverse reactions were self-limiting cytopenias and generally the safety profile resembled Ad5-based oncolytic viruses. Patients that had been previously treated with Ad5 viruses presented longer lasting lymphocytopenia but no median increase in Ad3-specific T-cells in blood, suggesting immunological activity against antigens other than Ad3 hexon. Frequent alterations in antitumor T-cells in blood were seen regardless of previous virus exposure. Neutralizing antibodies against Ad3 increased in all patients, whereas Ad5 neutralizing antibodies remained stable. Treatment with Ad3-hTERT-E1A resulted in re-emergence of Ad5 viruses from previous treatments into blood and vice versa. Signs of possible efficacy were seen in 11/15 (73%) patients evaluable for tumor markers, four of which were treated only intravenously. Particularly promising results were seen in breast cancer patients and especially those receiving concomitant trastuzumab. Taken together, Ad3-hTERT-E1A seems safe for further clinical testing or development of armed versions. It offers an immunologically attractive alternative, with possible pharmacodynamic differences and a different receptor compared to Ad5.

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