The constant presence of the viral genome in Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-associated gastric cancers (EBVaGCs) suggests the applicability of novel EBV-targeted therapies. The antiviral nucleoside drug, ganciclovir (GCV), is effective only in the context of the viral lytic cycle in the presence of EBV-encoded thymidine kinase (TK)/protein kinase (PK) expression. In this study, screening of the Johns Hopkins Drug Library identified gemcitabine as a candidate for combination treatment with GCV. Pharmacological induction of EBV-TK or PK in EBVaGC-originated tumor cells were used to study combination treatment with GCV in vitro and in vivo. Gemcitabine was found to be a lytic inducer via activation of the ataxia telangiectasia-mutated (ATM)/p53 genotoxic stress pathway in EBVaGC. Using an EBVaGC mouse model and a [125I] fialuridine (FIAU)-based lytic activation imaging system, we evaluated gemcitabine-induced lytic activation in an in vivo system and confirmed the efficacy of gemcitabine-GCV combination treatment. This viral enzyme-targeted anti-tumor strategy may provide a new therapeutic approach for EBVaGCs.
- Ataxia telangiectasia-mutated
- EBVaGC mouse model
- Epstein-Barr virus-associated gastric carcinoma
ASJC Scopus subject areas