Gene therapy for cancer and metastatic disease

Susan B. Kesmodel, Francis R. Spitz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Gene therapy has been applied to the treatment of cancer and metastatic disease for over ten years. Research in this area has utilised multiple gene therapy approaches including targeting tumour suppressor genes and oncogenes, stimulating the immune system, targeted chemotherapy, antiangiogenic strategies, and direct viral oncolysis. In recent years, gene delivery vectors have been developed that selectively target tumour cells through tumour-specific receptors, deletion of certain viral gene sequences, or incorporation of tumour-specific promoter sequences that drive gene expression. Preclinical models have produced promising results, demonstrating significant tumour regression and reduction of metastatic disease. Unfortunately, only limited responses have been observed in clinical trials. The main limitations in treating metastatic disease include poor vector transduction efficiencies and difficulties in targeting remote tumour cells with systemic vector delivery. Currently, various groups are investigating means to improve gene delivery and clinical responses by continuing to modify gene delivery vectors and by concentrating on combination gene therapy and multimodality therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalExpert Reviews in Molecular Medicine
Issue number17
StatePublished - Jun 3 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • anti-angiogenic agents
  • cancer
  • gene therapy
  • gene therapy vectors
  • immunopotentiation
  • metastatic disease
  • mutation compensation
  • suicide gene therapy
  • viral oncolysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology


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