Development of prostate cancer gene therapy

Song-Chu Ko, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


Osseous metastases account for most of the morbidity and mortality associated with prostate cancer, for which there are currently no effective therapies. In the skeletal metastatic environment, neoplastic prostatic epithelial cells interact in a bidirectional stimulatory manner with osteoblastic stromal cells. Similarly, the presence of osteoblastic cells is essential for the survival and maintenance of intraosseous prostate cancer cells. In this thesis, I have developed novel gene therapy strategies for the treatment of androgen-independent human prostate cancers in experimental animal models. First, Ad-CMV-p53, a recombinant adenovirus (Ad) containing p53 tumor suppressor gene driven by the universal cytomegalovirus promoter, was effective in inhibiting prostate cancer cell growth, and direct intratumoral injections of Ad-CMV-p53 resulted in tumor regression. Second, because prostate cancer cells as well as osteoblastic cells produce osteocalcin (OC), OC promoter mediated tissue/tumor specific toxic gene therapy is developed to interrupt stromal-epithelial communications by targeting both cell types. Ad-OC-TK, a recombinant Ad containing the herpes simplex virus thymidine kinase (TK) gene driven by the OC promoter, was generated to inhibit the growth of osteoblastic osteosarcoma with prodrug acyclovir (ACV). Ad-OC-TK/ACV also inhibited the growth of prostate cancer cells and suppressed the growth of subcutaneous and intraosseous prostate tumor. In order to combine treatment modalities to maximize tumor cell-kill with minimized host toxicities, Ad-OC-TK/ACV was applied in combination with low dose methotrexate to eradicate osteoblastic osteosarcoma. In targeting of micrometastatic disease, intravenous Ad-OC-TK/ACV treatment resulted in significant tumor nodule reduction and prolonged the survival of animals harboring osteosarcoma lung metastases without significant host toxicity. Ad-OC-TK is a rational choice for the treatment of prostate cancer skeletal metastasis because OC is uniformly detected in both primary and metastatic human prostate cancer specimens by immunohistochemistry. Ad-OC-TK/ACV inhibits the growth not only of prostate cancer cells but also of their supporting bone stromal cells. Targeting both prostate cancer epithelium and its supporting stroma may be most efficacious for the treatment of prostate cancer osseous metastases.

Subject Area

Molecular biology|Surgery|Oncology

Recommended Citation

Ko, Song-Chu, "Development of prostate cancer gene therapy" (1998). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9909440.