The promoter region of the early-growth response-1(Egr-1) gene has been shown to be activated by external radiation, thus making a selective tumoricidal effect possible. A previous experiment showed that the Egr-1 promoter can be activated by internal radiation using radioisotopes as well as external radiation. Internal radiation using I-131 lipiodol (I-131-Lip) has been established as one of the most useful therapeutic strategies against hepatoma. We herein linked the Egr-1 promoter to the herpes simplex virus-thymidine kinase (HSV-TK) gene, and investigated its efficacy in hepatoma gene therapy in combination with I-131-Lip. A luciferase assay showed the Egr-1-promoter activity to be markedly increased in hepatoma tissue specimens in an I-131-dose-dependent manner, whereas a less than two-fold increase in this activity was observed in other organs. In addition, the radioactivity derived from I-131 was selectively accumulated in the tumor tissue specimens. To examine the efficacy of EgrTK/ganciclovir (GCV) gene therapy in vivo, subcutaneous hepatoma xenografts in nude mice were transfected using a hemagglutinating virus of Japan (HVJ)-liposome vector. Complete tumor regression was observed in all the EgrTK-transfected tumors following combination treatment with I-131-Lip and GCV 42 days after treatment without any side effects (n=8). In contrast, the tumors continued to grow in all control mice (n=10). Furthermore, the serum α-fetoprotein levels decreased in the combination therapy group, while they increased in the controls. In conclusion, these data indicate that Egr-1 promoter-based gene therapy combined with internal radiation has a selective effect on hepatoma tumors while also showing an improved in vivo efficacy. This combination therapy might, therefore, be an effective human hepatoma gene therapy, even in advanced multiple cases.
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Kawashita, Y., Ohtsuru, A., Miki, F. et al. Eradication of hepatocellular carcinoma xenografts by radiolabelled, lipiodol-inducible gene therapy. Gene Ther 12, 1633–1639 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.gt.3302531
- Egr-1 promoter
- internal radiation
- mouse model
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