Pancreatic cancer has a poor prognosis even when surgical treatment can be accomplished. Studies have demonstrated that pancreatic cancer is associated with various genetic abnormalities in oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes including p53. New therapeutic approaches for pancreatic cancer can be developed by targeting these genetic alterations. Adenovirus (Adv) lacking the 55-kDa E1B protein (E1B55K) replicates preferentially in p53-deficient cancer cells. We constructed E1B55K-deleted Adv (AxE1AdB), and studied its replication and cytopathic effect on pancreatic cancer cells. AxE1AdB replicated in and caused cell death of the p53-deficient pancreatic cancer cell lines tested (e.g., PANC-1, MIAPaCa-2, SU.86.86, BxPC-3, and PK- 1). To enhance its therapeutic effect, we examined the combination of coinfecting this restricted replication-competent adenovirus (RRCA) with other Adv. Coinfection of E1-deficient Adv expressing the reporter lacZ gene (AxCAlacZ) together with AxE1AdB resulted in the replication of both viruses and a marked increase in reporter gene expression. PANC-1 cells coinfected with AxE1AdB and the Adv for human IL-2 (AxCAhIL2), produced 110 times more IL-2 than those infected with AxCAhIL2 alone. Similarly, coinfection of AxE1AdB and Adv for human IL-12 augmented the IL-12 production by 370-fold. Injecting AxE1AdB into the PANC-1 tumor of severe combined immunodeficient mice (SCID mice) resulted in marked reduction of the volume of the tumor. Moreover, injecting AxE1AdB with AxCAhIL2 into the PANC-1 tumor resulted in complete regression of the established tumors. These data suggest that RRCA, which augments the antitumor effect of a viral transgene (i.e., cytokines), may be a powerful tool for treating p53-deficient pancreatic cancer.
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