Breast cancer -specific activation of topoisomerase IIα and its application in the tumor -targeting gene therapy

Chi-Ping Day, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


To ensure the success of systemic gene therapy, it is critical to enhance the tumor specificity and activity of the promoter. In the current study, we identified the breast cancer-specific activity of the topoisomerase IIα promoter. We further showed that cdk2 and cyclin A activate topoisomerase IIα promoter in a breast cancer-specific manner. An element containing an inverted CCAAT box (ICB) was shown to respond this signaling. When the ICB-harboring topoisomerase IIα minimal promoter was linked with an enhancer sequence from the cytomegalovirus immediate early gene promoter (CMV promoter), this composite promoter, CT90, exhibited activity comparable to or higher than the CMV promoter in breast cancer cells in vitro and in vivo, yet expresses much lower activity in normal cell lines and normal organs than the CMV promoter. A CT90-driven construct expressing BikDD, a potent pro-apoptotic gene, was shown to selectively kill breast cancer cells in vitro and to suppress mammary tumor development in an animal model of intravenously administrated, liposome-delivered gene therapy. Expression of BikDD was readily detectable in the tumors but not in the normal organs of CT90-BikDD-treated animals. Finally, we demonstrated that CT90-BikDD treatment potentially enhanced the sensitivity of breast cancer cells to chemotherapeutic agents, especially doxorubicin and taxol. The results indicate that liposomal CT90-BikDD is a novel and effective systemic breast cancer-targeting gene therapy, and its combination with chemotherapy may further improve the current adjuvant therapy for breast cancer.

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Recommended Citation

Day, Chi-Ping, "Breast cancer -specific activation of topoisomerase IIα and its application in the tumor -targeting gene therapy" (2005). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3180668.