Ligand-directed retroviral targeting of human breast cancer cells

Xiaoliang Han, Noriyuki Kasahara, Yuet Wai Kan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

109 Scopus citations


We explored the feasibility of designing retroviral vectors that can target human breast cancer cells with characteristic receptors via ligand- receptor interaction. The ecotropic Moloney murine leukemia virus envelope was modified by insertion of sequences encoding human heregulin. Ecotropic virus, which normally does not infect human cells, when pseudotyped with the modified envelope protein now crosses species to infect human breast cancer cell lines that overexpress HER-2 (human epidermal growth factor receptor; also called ERBB2) and HER-4 (also called ERBB4), while human breast cancer cell lines expressing low levels of these receptors remain resistant to infection. Since about 20% of human breast cancers overexpress HER-2 and some of breast cancer cell lines overexpress both HER-2 and HER-4, cell-specific targeting of retroviral vectors may provide a different approach for in vivo gene therapy of this type of breast cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9747-9751
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number21
StatePublished - Oct 10 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • ERBB2
  • ERBB4
  • HER-2
  • HER-4
  • heregulin
  • ligand-receptor interaction
  • neu

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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