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Cancer Gene Ther. 2003 Jul;10(7):529-39.

Systemic genetic transfer of p21WAF-1 and GM-CSF utilizing of a novel oligopeptide-based EGF receptor targeting polyplex.

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National Laboratory for Oncogenes and Related Genes, Shanghai Cancer Institute, Shanghai, China.


Based on the fact that aberrant overexpression of some growth factor receptors was observed in a variety of human cancer cells, a novel nonviral gene delivery system GE7, which contains a 16-amino-acid ligand for identifying EGF receptor was constructed for tumor-targeted gene therapy. Intravenous administration of GE7 system revealed that it has the ability to target beta-galactosidase (beta-gal) reporter gene into murine hepatoma (Hepa) cells. Owing to the limited antitumor effects elicited by a single-gene transfer, recent efforts to treat malignancy using combined gene therapy have been accomplished with varying degrees of success. In this study, the human cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor gene p21(WAF-1) and the murine cytokine gene granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) were used simultaneously for in vivo gene therapy through systemic injection of the EGF R targeted GE7/DNA complex into murine hepatoma-bearing mice. The results demonstrated that combined administration of p21(WAF-1) and GM-CSF could remarkably inhibit the growth of subcutaneously transplanted hepatoma Hepa cells, and significantly increase the survival rate of tumor-bearing mice. The activities of natural killer (NK) cells and specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) were clearly enhanced after combined gene therapy. In vitro experiments showed that p21(WAF-1) gene transfer exhibited a suppressive function on the growth of Hepa cells and the expression of H-2K(b) and B7-1 molecules on Hepa cells increased significantly after combined genes delivery. All these results suggested that the GE7 system was able to target therapeutic genes efficiently to cancer cells, which showed high EGF R expression. The cotransfer of p21(WAF-1) and GM-CSF genes apparently inhibited the growth of tumors through (a) the arrest of tumor cell growth and (b) the enhancement of systemic antitumor immunity.

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