Recombinant interferon α2a synergistically enhances gancielovir-mediated tumor cell killing in the herpes simplex virus thymidine kinase system

Katharine A. Whartenby, James W. Darnowski, Scott M. Freeman, Kimberly Yurasha, Paul Calabresi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The herpes simplex virus thymidine kinase (HSV-TK) gene is being developed in the treatment of many different types of tumors. The HSV-TK gene sensitizes tumor cells to the antiviral drug ganciclovir (GCV) and mediates the bystander effect in which unmodified tumor cells are killed as well. Although this approach has shown a significant antitumor effect, the need to potentiate this therapy exists. The results of this study indicate that recombinant interferon α2a (IFNα2a) acts synergistically with GCV to kill HSV-TK-expressing PA1 human ovarian tumor cells. Furthermore, it enhances the bystander killing of nearby unmodified tumor cells that do not express the HSV-TK gene. Previous studies have suggested that in vitro and in vivo bystander effects may be mediated by different mechanisms. However, IFNα2a enhanced bystander killing in both systems, with the survival of mice bearing preexisting tumors being significantly prolonged when they were treated with IFNα2a and HSV-TK/GCV compared with either treatment alone. Mechanism studies have shown that treatment with IFNα2a and GCV caused an increase in cells in S phase 24 hours after therapy in the HSV-TK-expressing cells, but the mechanism of action of IFNα2a does not seem to be related to an increase in DNA damage, because GCV incorporation was not increased after treatment with IFNα2a. These findings suggest that IFNα2a may be a useful adjunctive therapy for the HSV-TK/GCV system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)402-408
Number of pages7
JournalCancer Gene Therapy
Volume6
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Bystander effect
  • Cancer
  • Ganciclovir
  • Gene therapy
  • Herpes simplex virus thymidine kinase
  • Interferon

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cancer Research

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