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Mol Ther. 2013 Apr;21(4):758-66. doi: 10.1038/mt.2012.282. Epub 2013 Jan 15.

Insulin-like growth factor-binding protein-7 (IGFBP7): a promising gene therapeutic for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).

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Department of Pathology, Virginia Commonwealth University, School of Medicine, Richmond, Virginia 23298, USA.


Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a highly fatal disease mandating development of novel, targeted therapies to elicit prolonged survival benefit to the patients. Insulin-like growth factor-binding protein-7 (IGFBP7), a secreted protein belonging to the IGFBP family, functions as a potential tumor suppressor for HCC. In the present study, we evaluated the therapeutic efficacy of a replication-incompetent adenovirus expressing IGFBP7 (Ad.IGFBP7) in human HCC. Ad.IGFBP7 profoundly inhibited viability and induced apoptosis in multiple human HCC cell lines by inducing reactive oxygen species (ROS) and activating a DNA damage response (DDR) and p38 MAPK. In orthotopic xenograft models of human HCC in athymic nude mice, intravenous administration of Ad.IGFBP7 profoundly inhibited primary tumor growth and intrahepatic metastasis. In a nude mice subcutaneous model, xenografts from human HCC cells were established in both flanks and only left-sided tumors received intratumoral injection of Ad.IGFBP7. Growth of both left-sided injected tumors and right-sided uninjected tumors were markedly inhibited by Ad.IGFBP7 with profound suppression of angiogenesis. These findings indicate that Ad.IGFBP7 might be a potent therapeutic eradicating both primary HCC and distant metastasis and might be an effective treatment option for terminal HCC patients.

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