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Nat Med. 1997 Oct;3(10):1145-9.

Tumor-selective transgene expression in vivo mediated by an E2F-responsive adenoviral vector.

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Center for Neuro-Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


Recent data suggest that many tumors, such as malignant gliomas, have disrupted pRB function, either because of RB-1 gene mutations or as a result of mutations affecting upstream regulators of pRB such as cyclin D1 or p16/INK4a/MTS1 (ref. 1-5). Tumor suppression by pRB has been linked to its ability to repress E2F-responsive promoters such as the E2F-1 promoter. Thus, a prediction, which has not yet been demonstrated experimentally in vivo, is that E2F-responsive promoters should be more active in tumor cells relative to normal cells because of an excess of "free" E2F and loss of pRB/E2F repressor complexes. We demonstrate that adenoviral vectors that contain transgenes driven by the E2F-1 promoter can mediate tumor-selective gene expression in vivo, allowing for eradication of established gliomas with significantly less normal tissue toxicity than seen with standard adenoviral vectors. Our data indicate that de-repression of the E2F-1 promoter occurs in cancer cells in vivo, a finding that can be exploited to design viral vectors that mediate tumor-selective gene expression.

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