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PLoS One. 2012;7(9):e44802. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0044802. Epub 2012 Sep 18.

Combined therapy with cytokine-induced killer cells and oncolytic adenovirus expressing IL-12 induce enhanced antitumor activity in liver tumor model.

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Institute of Pathology and Southwest Cancer Center, Southwest Hospital, Third Military Medical University, Chongqing, China.


Both adoptive immunotherapy and gene therapy hold a great promise for treatment of malignancies. However, these strategies exhibit limited anti-tumor activity, when they are used alone. In this study, we explore whether combination of cytokine-induced killer (CIK) adoptive immunotherapy with oncolytic adenovirus-mediated transfer of human interleukin-12 (hIL-12) gene induce the enhanced antitumor potency. Our results showed that oncolytic adenovirus carrying hIL-12 (AdCN205-IL12) could produce high levels of hIL-12 in liver cancer cells, as compared with replication-defective adenovirus expressing hIL-12 (Ad-IL12). AdCN205-IL12 could specifically induce cytotoxocity to liver cancer cells. Combination of CIK cells with AdCN205-IL12 could induce higher antitumor activity to liver cancer cells in vitro than that induced by either CIK or AdCN205-IL12 alone, or combination of CIK and control vector AdCN205-GFP. Furthermore, treatment of the established liver tumors with the combined therapy of CIK cells and AdCN205-IL12 resulted in tumor regression and long-term survival. High level expression of hIL-12 in tumor tissues could increase traffic of CIK cells to tumor tissues and enhance their antitumor activities. Our study provides a novel strategy for the therapy of cancer by the combination of CIK adoptive immunotherapy with oncolytic adenovirus-mediated transfer of immune stimulatory molecule hIL-12.

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