Enhanced efficiency of prodrug activation therapy by tumor-selective replicating retrovirus vectors armed with the Escherichia coli purine nucleoside phosphorylase gene

C. K. Tai, W. Wang, Y. H. Lai, C. R. Logg, W. B. Parker, Y. F. Li, J. S. Hong, E. J. Sorscher, T. C. Chen, N. Kasahara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

32 Scopus citations


Gene transfer of the Escherichia coli purine nucleoside phosphorylase (PNP) results in potent cytotoxicity after administration of the prodrug fludarabine phosphate (F-araAMP). Here, we have tested whether application of this strategy in the context of replication-competent retrovirus (RCR) vectors, which can achieve highly efficient tumor-restricted transduction as well as persistent expression of transgenes, would result in effective tumor inhibition, or, alternatively, would adversely affect viral replication. We found that RCR vectors could achieve high levels of PNP expression concomitant with the efficiency of their replicative spread, with significant cell killing activity in vitro and potent therapeutic effects in vivo. In U-87 xenograft models, replicative spread of the vector resulted in progressive transmission of the PNP transgene, as evidenced by increasing PNP enzyme activity with time after vector inoculation. On F-araAMP administration, high efficiency gene transfer of PNP by the RCR vector resulted in significant suppression of tumor growth and extended survival time. As the RCR mediates stable integration of the PNP gene and continuous expression, an additional round of F-araAMP administration resulted in further survival benefit. RCR-mediated PNP suicide gene therapy thus represents a highly efficient form of intracellular chemotherapy, and may achieve effective antitumor activity with less systemic toxicity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)614-623
Number of pages10
JournalCancer gene therapy
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2010
Externally publishedYes



  • Retrovirus
  • brain tumor
  • oncolytic therapy
  • purine nucleoside phosphorylase
  • suicide gene

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cancer Research

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