mda-7 gene transfer sensitizes breast carcinoma cells to chemotherapy, biologic therapies and radiotherapy: correlation with expression of bcl-2 family members

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Abstract

Current therapies used in the treatment of breast cancer are limited by systemic toxicity, rapid drug metabolism and intrinsic and acquired drug resistance. We have previously shown that adenoviral-mediated transfer of the melanoma differentiation-associated gene-7 (mda-7) elicits growth inhibition and apoptosis in various tumor types. Here, we evaluate the effects of Ad-mda7, alone and in combination with other therapies, against a panel of nine breast tumor cell lines and their normal counterparts; we report selective Ad-mda7-mediated p53-independent growth inhibition, G2/M cell cycle arrest, and apoptosis. In vivo, Ad-mda7 induced p53-independent tumor growth inhibition (P<0.004) in multiple xenograft models. We then evaluated the combination of Ad-mda7 with agents commonly used to treat breast cancer: radiotherapy (XRT), Tamoxifen, Taxotere, Adriamycin, and Herceptin. These agents exhibit diverse modes of action, including formation of bulky adducts, inhibition of DNA replication (Adriamycin, XRT), damage to microtubules (Taxotere), nonsteroidal estrogen antagonists (Tamoxifen), or Her2/neu receptor blockade (Herceptin). Treated with conventional anticancer drugs or radiation, MDA-7-expressing cells display additive or synergistic cytotoxicity and apoptosis that correlates with decreased BCL-2 expression and BAX upregulation. In vivo, animals that received Ad-mda7 and XRT underwent significant reduction of tumor growth (P<0.002). This is the first report of the synergistic effects of Ad-mda7 combined with chemotherapy or radiotherapy on human breast carcinoma cells.

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