Gene Summary

Gene:UPRT; uracil phosphoribosyltransferase homolog
Aliases: UPP, FUR1
Summary:This gene encodes uracil phosphoribosyltransferase, which catalyzes the conversion of uracil and 5-phosphoribosyl-1-R-diphosphate to uridine monophosphate (UMP). This reaction is an important part of nucleotide metabolism, specifically the pyrimidine salvage pathway. The enzyme localizes to the nucleus and cytoplasm. The protein is a potential target for rational design of drugs to treat parasitic infections and cancer. [provided by RefSeq, Nov 2009]
Databases:OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:uracil phosphoribosyltransferase homolog
Source:NCBIAccessed: 29 August, 2019


What does this gene/protein do?
UPRT is implicated in:
- cytoplasm
- nucleus
Data from Gene Ontology via CGAP

Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1994-2019)
Graph generated 29 August 2019 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

Mouse over the terms for more detail; many indicate links which you can click for dedicated pages about the topic.

  • Prostate Cancer
  • Xenograft Models
  • Cell Survival
  • Bystander Effect
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Flucytosine
  • Escherichia coli
  • Antimetabolites
  • Monoclonal Antibodies
  • Antimetabolites, Antineoplastic
  • Messenger RNA
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Transduction
  • Adenocarcinoma
  • Artificial Gene Fusion
  • Pancreatic Cancer
  • Gene Transfer Techniques
  • Brain Tumours
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Fluorouracil
  • Genes, Transgenic, Suicide
  • Tumor Burden
  • Yeasts
  • Prodrugs
  • Genetic Therapy
  • Cytosine Deaminase
  • Survival Rate
  • TP53
  • Transfection
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Glioblastoma
  • Adenoviridae
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Oncolytic Virotherapy
  • X Chromosome
  • Brain Tumours
  • Virus Replication
  • Genetic Vectors
  • Pentosyltransferases
  • Genetic Engineering
  • Uracil Nucleotides
Tag cloud generated 29 August, 2019 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (4)

Data table showing topics related to specific cancers and associated disorders. Scope includes mutations and abnormal protein expression.

Note: list is not exhaustive. Number of papers are based on searches of PubMed (click on topic title for arbitrary criteria used).

Latest Publications: UPRT (cancer-related)

Altaner C, Altanerova U
Mesenchymal Stem Cell Exosome-Mediated Prodrug Gene Therapy for Cancer.
Methods Mol Biol. 2019; 1895:75-85 [PubMed] Related Publications
Exosomes derived from human mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) engineered to express the suicide gene yeast cytosine deaminase::uracil phosphoribosyl transferase (yCD::UPRT) represent a new therapeutic approach for tumor-targeted innovative therapy. The yCD::UPRT-MSC-exosomes carry mRNA of the suicide gene in their cargo. Upon internalization by tumor cells, the exosomes inhibit the growth of broad types of cancer cells in vitro, in the presence of a prodrug. Here we describe the method leading to the production and testing of these therapeutic exosomes. The described steps include the preparation of replication-deficient retrovirus possessing the yCD::UPRT suicide gene, and the preparation and selection of MSCs transduced with yCD::UPRT suicide gene. We present procedures to obtain exosomes possessing the ability to induce the death of tumor cells. In addition, we highlight methods for the evaluation of the suicide gene activity of yCD::UPRT-MSC-exosomes.

Altanerova U, Jakubechova J, Benejova K, et al.
Prodrug suicide gene therapy for cancer targeted intracellular by mesenchymal stem cell exosomes.
Int J Cancer. 2019; 144(4):897-908 [PubMed] Related Publications
The natural behavior of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) and their exosomes in targeting tumors is a promising approach for curative therapy. Human tumor tropic mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) isolated from various tissues and MSCs engineered to express the yeast cytosine deaminase::uracil phosphoribosyl transferase suicide fusion gene (yCD::UPRT-MSCs) released exosomes in conditional medium (CM). Exosomes from all tissue specific yCD::UPRT-MSCs contained mRNA of the suicide gene in the exosome's cargo. When the CM was applied to tumor cells, the exosomes were internalized by recipient tumor cells and in the presence of the prodrug 5-fluorocytosine (5-FC) effectively triggered dose-dependent tumor cell death by endocytosed exosomes via an intracellular conversion of the prodrug 5-FC to 5-fluorouracil. Exosomes were found to be responsible for the tumor inhibitory activity. The presence of microRNAs in exosomes produced from naive MSCs and from suicide gene transduced MSCs did not differ significantly. MicroRNAs from yCD::UPRT-MSCs were not associated with therapeutic effect. MSC suicide gene exosomes represent a new class of tumor cell targeting drug acting intracellular with curative potential.

Erkan EP, Senfter D, Madlener S, et al.
Extracellular vesicle-mediated suicide mRNA/protein delivery inhibits glioblastoma tumor growth in vivo.
Cancer Gene Ther. 2017; 24(1):38-44 [PubMed] Related Publications
Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are considered as important mediators of intercellular communication, which carry a diverse repertoire of genetic information between cells. This feature of EVs can be used and improved to advance their therapeutic potential. We have previously shown that genetically engineered EVs carrying the suicide gene mRNA and protein-cytosine deaminase (CD) fused to uracil phosphoribosyltransferase (UPRT)-inhibited schwannoma tumor growth in vivo. To further examine whether this approach can be applied to other cancer types, we established a subcutaneous xenograft glioblastoma tumor model in mice, as glioblastoma represents the most common primary brain tumor, which is highly aggressive compared with the original schwannoma tumor model. U87-MG glioblastoma cells were implanted into the flanks of nude SCID mice, and the animals were intratumorally injected with the EVs isolated from the cells expressing EGFP or CD-UPRT. After the intraperitoneal administration of the prodrug 5-fluorocytosine, the tumor growth was assessed by regular caliper measurements. Our data revealed that the treatment with the CD-UPRT-enriched EVs significantly reduced the tumor growth in mice. Taken together, our findings suggest that EVs uploaded with therapeutic CD-UPRT mRNA/protein may be a useful tool for glioblastoma treatment.

Lin TY, Hsu HY
Ling Zhi-8 reduces lung cancer mobility and metastasis through disruption of focal adhesion and induction of MDM2-mediated Slug degradation.
Cancer Lett. 2016; 375(2):340-348 [PubMed] Related Publications
We recently reported that recombinant Ling Zhi-8 (rLZ-8), a medicinal mushroom Ganoderma lucidum recombinant protein, effectively prevents lung cancer cells proliferation in vivo mice model. In our current study, we demonstrated that rLZ-8 suppressed tumor metastasis and increased the survival rate in Lewis lung carcinoma cell-bearing mice. The epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) process is regarded as the critical event in tumor metastasis. Herein, we showed that rLZ-8 effectively induced changes in EMT by interfering with cell adhesion and focal adhesion kinase (FAK) functions in lung cancer cells. Slug, a transcription factor, represses E-cadherin transcription and is regarded as a critical event in EMT and tumor metastasis. Functional studies revealed that downregulation of Slug as a result of rLZ-8-induced FAK inactivation enhanced E-cadherin expression and repressed cancer cell mobility. Moreover, we found that rLZ-8 enhanced the ubiquitination proteasome pathway (UPP)-mediated degradation of Slug in CL1-5 cells. Mechanistically, we demonstrated that rLZ-8 promoted the interaction between MDM2 and Slug, resulting in Slug degradation; however, MDM2-shRNA abolished rLZ-8-enhanced Slug degradation. This study is the first to determine anti-metastatic activity of rLZ-8 and its potential mechanism, with how the regulation of EMT and cell mobility is via the negative modulation of FAK, and thereby leading to the ubiquitination and degradation of Slug. Our findings suggest that the targets of FAK play a key role in metastasis. Moreover, rLZ-8 may be useful as a chemotherapeutic agent for treating lung cancer.

Casañola-Martin GM, Le-Thi-Thu H, Pérez-Giménez F, et al.
Multi-output Model with Box-Jenkins Operators of Quadratic Indices for Prediction of Malaria and Cancer Inhibitors Targeting Ubiquitin- Proteasome Pathway (UPP) Proteins.
Curr Protein Pept Sci. 2016; 17(3):220-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
The ubiquitin-proteasome pathway (UPP) is the primary degradation system of short-lived regulatory proteins. Cellular processes such as the cell cycle, signal transduction, gene expression, DNA repair and apoptosis are regulated by this UPP and dysfunctions in this system have important implications in the development of cancer, neurodegenerative, cardiac and other human pathologies. UPP seems also to be very important in the function of eukaryote cells of the human parasites like Plasmodium falciparum, the causal agent of the neglected disease Malaria. Hence, the UPP could be considered as an attractive target for the development of compounds with Anti-Malarial or Anti-cancer properties. Recent online databases like ChEMBL contains a larger quantity of information in terms of pharmacological assay protocols and compounds tested as UPP inhibitors under many different conditions. This large amount of data give new openings for the computer-aided identification of UPP inhibitors, but the intrinsic data diversity is an obstacle for the development of successful classifiers. To solve this problem here we used the Bob-Jenkins moving average operators and the atom-based quadratic molecular indices calculated with the software TOMOCOMD-CARDD (TC) to develop a quantitative model for the prediction of the multiple outputs in this complex dataset. Our multi-target model can predict results for drugs against 22 molecular or cellular targets of different organisms with accuracies above 70% in both training and validation sets.

Torabi K, Miró R, Fernández-Jiménez N, et al.
Patterns of somatic uniparental disomy identify novel tumor suppressor genes in colorectal cancer.
Carcinogenesis. 2015; 36(10):1103-10 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is characterized by specific patterns of copy number alterations (CNAs), which helped with the identification of driver oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes (TSGs). More recently, the usage of single nucleotide polymorphism arrays provided information of copy number neutral loss of heterozygosity, thus suggesting the occurrence of somatic uniparental disomy (UPD) and uniparental polysomy (UPP) events. The aim of this study is to establish an integrative profiling of recurrent UPDs/UPPs and CNAs in sporadic CRC. Our results indicate that regions showing high frequencies of UPD/UPP mostly coincide with regions typically involved in genomic losses. Among them, chromosome arms 3p, 5q, 9q, 10q, 14q, 17p, 17q, 20p, 21q and 22q preferentially showed UPDs/UPPs over genomic losses suggesting that tumor cells must maintain the disomic state of certain genes to favor cellular fitness. A meta-analysis using over 300 samples from The Cancer Genome Atlas confirmed our findings. Several regions affected by recurrent UPDs/UPPs contain well-known TSGs, as well as novel candidates such as ARID1A, DLC1, TCF7L2 and DMBT1. In addition, VCAN, FLT4, SFRP1 and GAS7 were also frequently involved in regions of UPD/UPP and displayed high levels of methylation. Finally, sequencing and fluorescence in situ hybridization analysis of the gene APC underlined that a somatic UPD event might represent the second hit to achieve biallelic inactivation of this TSG in colorectal tumors. In summary, our data define a profile of somatic UPDs/UPPs in sporadic CRC and highlights the importance of these events as a mechanism to achieve the inactivation of TSGs.

Matuskova M, Kozovska Z, Toro L, et al.
Combined enzyme/prodrug treatment by genetically engineered AT-MSC exerts synergy and inhibits growth of MDA-MB-231 induced lung metastases.
J Exp Clin Cancer Res. 2015; 34:33 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Metastatic spread of tumor cells remains a serious problem in cancer treatment. Gene-directed enzyme/prodrug therapy mediated by tumor-homing genetically engineered mesenchymal stromal cells (MSC) represents a promising therapeutic modality for elimination of disseminated cells. Efficacy of gene-directed enzyme/prodrug therapy can be improved by combination of individual systems. We aimed to define the combination effect of two systems of gene therapy mediated by MSC, and evaluate the ability of systemically administered genetically engineered mesenchymal stromal cells to inhibit the growth of experimental metastases derived from human breast adenocarcinoma cells MDA-MB-231/EGFP.
METHODS: Human adipose tissue-derived mesenchymal stromal cells (AT-MSC) were retrovirally transduced with fusion yeast cytosine deaminase::uracil phosphoribosyltransferase (CD::UPRT) or with Herpes simplex virus thymidine kinase (HSVtk). Engineered MSC were cocultured with tumor cells in the presence of prodrugs 5-fluorocytosin (5-FC) and ganciclovir (GCV). Combination effect of these enzyme/prodrug approaches was calculated. SCID/bg mice bearing experimental lung metastases were treated with CD::UPRT-MSC, HSVtk-MSC or both in combination in the presence of respective prodrug(s). Treatment efficiency was evaluated by EGFP-positive cell detection by flow cytometry combined with real-time PCR quantification of human cells in mouse organs. Results were confirmed by histological and immunohistochemical examination.
RESULTS: We demonstrated various extent of synergy depending on tested cell line and experimental setup. The strongest synergism was observed on breast cancer-derived cell line MDA-MB-231/EGFP. Systemic administration of CD::UPRT-MSC and HSVtk-MSC in combination with 5-FC and GCV inhibited growth of MDA-MB-231 induced lung metastases.
CONCLUSIONS: Combined gene-directed enzyme/prodrug therapy mediated by MSC exerted synergic cytotoxic effect and resulted in high therapeutic efficacy in vivo.

Nouri FS, Wang X, Hatefi A
Genetically engineered theranostic mesenchymal stem cells for the evaluation of the anticancer efficacy of enzyme/prodrug systems.
J Control Release. 2015; 200:179-87 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Over the past decade, various enzyme/prodrug systems such as thymidine kinase/ganciclovir (TK/GCV), yeast cytosine deaminase/5-fluorocytosine (yCD/5-FC) and nitroreductase/CB1954 (NTR/CB1954) have been used for stem cell mediated suicide gene therapy of cancer. Yet, no study has been conducted to compare and demonstrate the advantages and disadvantages of using one system over another. Knowing that each enzyme/prodrug system has its own strengths and weaknesses, we utilized mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) as a medium to perform for the first time a comparative study that illustrated the impact of subtle differences among these systems on the therapeutic outcome. For therapeutic purposes, we first genetically modified MSCs to stably express a panel of four suicide genes including TK (TK007 and TK(SR39) mutants), yeast cytosine deaminase:uracil phosphoribosyltransferase (yCD:UPRT) and nitroreductase (NTR). Then, we evaluated the anticancer efficacies of the genetically engineered MSCs in vitro and in vivo by using SKOV3 cell line which is sensitive to all four enzyme/prodrug systems. In addition, all MSCs were engineered to stably express luciferase gene making them suitable for quantitative imaging and dose-response relationship studies in animals. Considering the limitations imposed by the prodrugs' bystander effects, our findings show that yCD:UPRT/5-FC is the most effective enzyme/prodrug system among the ones tested. Our findings also demonstrate that theranostic MSCs are a reliable medium for the side-by-side evaluation and screening of the enzyme/prodrug systems at the preclinical level. The results of this study could help scientists who utilize cell-based, non-viral or viral vectors for suicide gene therapy of cancer make more informed decisions when choosing enzyme/prodrug systems.

Mesa-Pereira B, Medina C, Camacho EM, et al.
Improved cytotoxic effects of Salmonella-producing cytosine deaminase in tumour cells.
Microb Biotechnol. 2015; 8(1):169-76 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
In order to increase the cytotoxic activity of a Salmonella strain carrying a salicylate-inducible expression system that controls cytosine deaminase production, we have modified both, the vector and the producer bacterium. First, the translation rates of the expression module containing the Escherichia coli codA gene cloned under the control of the Pm promoter have been improved by using the T7 phage gene 10 ribosome binding site sequence and replacing the original GUG start codon by AUG. Second, to increase the time span in which cytosine deaminase may be produced by the bacteria in the presence of 5-fluorocytosine, a 5-fluorouracyl resistant Salmonella strain has been constructed by deleting its upp gene sequence. This new Salmonella strain shows increased cytosine deaminase activity and, after infecting tumour cell cultures, increased cytotoxic and bystander effects under standard induction conditions. In addition, we have generated a purD mutation in the producer strain to control its intracellular proliferation by the presence of adenine and avoid the intrinsic Salmonella cell death induction. This strategy allows the analysis and comparison of the cytotoxic effects of cytosine deaminase produced by different Salmonella strains in tumour cell cultures.

Hsiao HT, Xing L, Deng X, et al.
Hypoxia-targeted triple suicide gene therapy radiosensitizes human colorectal cancer cells.
Oncol Rep. 2014; 32(2):723-9 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The hypoxic microenvironment, an important feature of human solid tumors but absent in normal tissue, may provide an opportunity for cancer-specific gene therapy. The purpose of the present study was to investigate whether hypoxia-driven triple suicide gene TK/CD/UPRT expression enhances cytotoxicity to ganciclovir (GCV) and 5-fluorocytosine (5-FC), and sensitizes human colorectal cancer to radiation in vitro and in vivo. Stable transfectant of human colorectal HCT8 cells was established which expressed hypoxia-inducible vectors (HRE-TK/eGFP and HRE-CD/UPRT/mDsRed). Hypoxia-induced expression/function of TK, CD and UPRT was verified by western blot analysis, flow cytometry, fluorescent microscopy and cytotoxicity assay of GCV and 5-FC. Significant radiosensitization effects were detected after 5-FC and GCV treatments under hypoxic conditions. In the tumor xenografts, the distribution of TK/eGFP and CD/UPRT/mDsRed expression visualized with fluorescence microscopy was co-localized with the hypoxia marker pimonidazole positive staining cells. Furthermore, administration of 5-FC and GCV in mice in combination with local irradiation resulted in tumor regression, as compared with prodrug or radiation treatments alone. Our data suggest that the hypoxia-inducible TK/GCV+CDUPRT/5-FC triple suicide gene therapy may have the ability to specifically target hypoxic cancer cells and significantly improve the tumor control in combination with radiotherapy.

Deschênes-Simard X, Lessard F, Gaumont-Leclerc MF, et al.
Cellular senescence and protein degradation: breaking down cancer.
Cell Cycle. 2014; 13(12):1840-58 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Autophagy and the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway (UPP) are the major protein degradation systems in eukaryotic cells. Whereas the former mediate a bulk nonspecific degradation, the UPP allows a rapid degradation of specific proteins. Both systems have been shown to play a role in tumorigenesis, and the interest in developing therapeutic agents inhibiting protein degradation is steadily growing. However, emerging data point to a critical role for autophagy in cellular senescence, an established tumor suppressor mechanism. Recently, a selective protein degradation process mediated by the UPP was also shown to contribute to the senescence phenotype. This process is tightly regulated by E3 ubiquitin ligases, deubiquitinases, and several post-translational modifications of target proteins. Illustrating the complexity of UPP, more than 600 human genes have been shown to encode E3 ubiquitin ligases, a number which exceeds that of the protein kinases. Nevertheless, our knowledge of proteasome-dependent protein degradation as a regulated process in cellular contexts such as cancer and senescence remains very limited. Here we discuss the implications of protein degradation in senescence and attempt to relate this function to the protein degradation pattern observed in cancer cells.

Wang F, Zamora G, Sun CH, et al.
Increased sensitivity of glioma cells to 5-fluorocytosine following photo-chemical internalization enhanced nonviral transfection of the cytosine deaminase suicide gene.
J Neurooncol. 2014; 118(1):29-37 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Despite advances in surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, the outcomes of patients with GBM have not significantly improved. Tumor recurrence in the resection margins occurs in more than 80% of cases indicating aggressive treatment modalities, such as gene therapy are warranted. We have examined photochemical internalization (PCI) as a method for the non-viral transfection of the cytosine deaminase (CD) suicide gene into glioma cells. The CD gene encodes an enzyme that can convert the nontoxic antifungal agent, 5-fluorocytosine, into the chemotherapeutic drug, 5-fluorouracil. Multicell tumor spheroids derived from established rat and human glioma cell lines were used as in vitro tumor models. Plasmids containing either the CD gene alone or together with the uracil phosphoribosyl transferase (UPRT) gene combined with the gene carrier protamine sulfate were employed in all experiments.PCI was performed with the photosensitizer AlPcS2a and 670 nm laser irradiance. Protamine sulfate/CD DNA polyplexes proved nontoxic but inefficient transfection agents due to endosomal entrapment. In contrast, PCI mediated CD gene transfection resulted in a significant inhibition of spheroid growth in the presence of, but not in the absence of, 5-FC. Repetitive PCI induced transfection was more efficient at low CD plasmid concentration than single treatment. The results clearly indicate that AlPcS2a-mediated PCI can be used to enhance transfection of a tumor suicide gene such as CD, in malignant glioma cells and cells transfected with both the CD and UPRT genes had a pronounced bystander effect.

Altaner C, Altanerova V, Cihova M, et al.
Complete regression of glioblastoma by mesenchymal stem cells mediated prodrug gene therapy simulating clinical therapeutic scenario.
Int J Cancer. 2014; 134(6):1458-65 [PubMed] Related Publications
Suicide gene therapy mediated by mesenchymal stem cells with their ability to engraft into tumors makes these therapeutic stem cells an attractive tool to activate prodrugs directly within the tumor mass. In this study, we evaluated the therapeutic efficacy of human mesenchymal stem cells derived from bone marrow and from adipose tissue, engineered to express the suicide gene cytosine deaminase::uracil phosphoribosyltransferase to treat intracerebral rat C6 glioblastoma in a simulated clinical therapeutic scenario. Intracerebrally grown glioblastoma was treated by resection and subsequently with single or repeated intracerebral inoculations of therapeutic stem cells followed by a continuous intracerebroventricular delivery of 5-fluorocytosine using an osmotic pump. Kaplan-Meier survival curves revealed that surgical resection of the tumor increased the survival time of the resected animals depending on the extent of surgical intervention. However, direct injections of therapeutic stem cells into the brain tissue surrounding the postoperative resection cavity led to a curative outcome in a significant number of treated animals. Moreover, the continuous supply of therapeutic stem cells into the brain with growing glioblastoma by osmotic pumps together with continuous prodrug delivery also proved to be therapeutically efficient. We assume that observed curative therapy of glioblastoma by stem cell-mediated prodrug gene therapy might be caused by the destruction of both tumor cells and the niche where glioblastoma initiating cells reside.

Mizrak A, Bolukbasi MF, Ozdener GB, et al.
Genetically engineered microvesicles carrying suicide mRNA/protein inhibit schwannoma tumor growth.
Mol Ther. 2013; 21(1):101-8 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Microvesicles (MVs) play an important role in intercellular communication by carrying mRNAs, microRNAs (miRNAs), non-coding RNAs, proteins, and DNA from cell to cell. To our knowledge, this is the first report of delivery of a therapeutic mRNA/protein via MVs for treatment of cancer. We first generated genetically engineered MVs by expressing high levels of the suicide gene mRNA and protein-cytosine deaminase (CD) fused to uracil phosphoribosyltransferase (UPRT) in MV donor cells. MVs were isolated from these cells and used to treat pre-established nerve sheath tumors (schwannomas) in an orthotopic mouse model. We demonstrated that MV-mediated delivery of CD-UPRT mRNA/protein by direct injection into schwannomas led to regression of these tumors upon systemic treatment with the prodrug (5-fluorocytosine (5-FC)), which is converted within tumor cells to 5-fluorouracil (5-FU)-an anticancer agent. Taken together, these studies suggest that MVs can serve as novel cell-derived "liposomes" to effectively deliver therapeutic mRNA/proteins to treatment of diseases.

Kucerova L, Poturnajova M, Tyciakova S, Matuskova M
Increased proliferation and chemosensitivity of human mesenchymal stromal cells expressing fusion yeast cytosine deaminase.
Stem Cell Res. 2012; 8(2):247-58 [PubMed] Related Publications
Mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) are considered to be suitable vehicles for cellular therapy in various conditions. The expression of reporter and/or effector protein(s) enabled both the identification of MSCs within the organism and the exploitation in targeted tumor therapies. The aim of this study was to evaluate cellular changes induced by retrovirus-mediated transgene expression in MSCs in vitro. Human Adipose Tissue-derived MSCs (AT-MSCs) were transduced to express (i) the enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) reporter transgene, (ii) the fusion yeast cytosine deaminase::uracil phosphoribosyltransferase (CDy::UPRT) enzyme along with the expression of dominant positive selection gene NeoR or (iii) the selection marker NeoR alone (MOCK). CDy::UPRT expression resulted in increased proliferation of CDy::UPRT-MSCs versus naïve AT-MSCs, MOCK-MSCs or EGFP-MSCs. Furthermore, CDy::UPRT-MSCs were significantly more sensitive to 5-fluorouracil (5FU), cisplatin, cyclophosphamide and cytosine arabinoside as determined by increased Caspase 3/7 activation and/or decreased relative proliferation. CDy::UPRT-MSCs in direct cocultures with breast cancer cells MDA-MB-231 increased tumor cell killing induced by low concentrations of 5FU. Our data demonstrated the changes in proliferation and chemoresistance in engineered MSCs expressing transgene with enzymatic function and suggested the possibilities for further augmentation of targeted MSC-mediated antitumor therapy.

Zaoui K, Bossow S, Grossardt C, et al.
Chemovirotherapy for head and neck squamous cell carcinoma with EGFR-targeted and CD/UPRT-armed oncolytic measles virus.
Cancer Gene Ther. 2012; 19(3):181-91 [PubMed] Related Publications
First-line treatment of recurrent and/or refractory head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) is based on platinum, 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) and the monoclonal antiEGFR antibody cetuximab. However, in most cases this chemoimmunotherapy does not cure the disease, and more than 50% of HNSCC patients are dying because of local recurrence of the tumors. In the majority of cases, HNSCC overexpress the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), and its presence is associated with a poor outcome. In this study, we engineered an EGFR-targeted oncolytic measles virus (MV), armed with the bifunctional enzyme cytosine deaminase/uracil phosphoribosyltransferase (CD/UPRT). CD/UPRT converts 5-fluorocytosine (5-FC) into the chemotherapeutic 5-FU, a mainstay of HNSCC chemotherapy. This virus efficiently replicates in and lyses primary HNSCC cells in vitro. Arming with CD/UPRT mediates efficient prodrug activation with high bystander killing of non-infected tumor cells. In mice bearing primary HNSCC xenografts, intratumoral administration of MV-antiEGFR resulted in statistically significant tumor growth delay and prolongation of survival. Importantly, combination with 5-FC is superior to virus-only treatment leading to significant tumor growth inhibition. Thus, chemovirotherapy with EGFR-targeted and CD/UPRT-armed MV is highly efficacious in preclinical settings with direct translational implications for a planned Phase I clinical trial of MV for locoregional treatment of HNSCC.

Kawashima R, Abei M, Fukuda K, et al.
EpCAM- and EGFR-targeted selective gene therapy for biliary cancers using Z33-fiber-modified adenovirus.
Int J Cancer. 2011; 129(5):1244-53 [PubMed] Related Publications
A critical issue in adenovirus (Ad)-based cancer gene therapy is to improve the specificity of gene delivery to cancer cells for better efficacy and safety. We explored methods of retargeting Ad vectors for selective gene therapy of human biliary cancers using the Ad incorporating an IgG Fc-binding motif (Z33) from the Staphylococcus protein A (Ad-FZ33) combined with tumor-specific antibodies. Flow cytometry analysis revealed high-expression levels of epithelial cell adhesion molecule (EpCAM) and epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) on human biliary cancer cells. Ad-FZ33 expressing LacZ combined with antibodies against EpCAM or EGFR, followed by β-gal assay, demonstrated highly efficient gene transduction in these biliary cancer cells, compared to the treatment with control antibody or without antibody. Ad-FZ33 expressing uracil phosphoribosyl transferase (UPRT), an enzyme which greatly enhances the toxicity of 5-fluorouracil (FU), combined with antibodies against EpCAM or EGFR, remarkably enhanced the sensitivity of biliary cancer cells to 5-FU. By contrast, the treatment did not affect the 5-FU sensitivity of the cells not expressing EpCAM or EGFR including normal hepatocytes. Finally, treatments with the UPRT-expressing Ad-FZ33 with antibodies against EpCAM or EGFR, followed by 5-FU administration, significantly suppressed the growth of biliary cancer xenografts in nude mice. These results indicate that the gene therapy mediated by the Z33 fiber modified Ad with anti-EpCAM or anti-EGFR antibodies offers a potentially effective therapeutic modality against biliary cancers.

Johnson AJ, Ardiani A, Sanchez-Bonilla M, Black ME
Comparative analysis of enzyme and pathway engineering strategies for 5FC-mediated suicide gene therapy applications.
Cancer Gene Ther. 2011; 18(8):533-42 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Bacterial- and yeast- encoded cytosine deaminases (bCD and yCD, respectively) are widely investigated suicide enzymes used in combination with the prodrug 5-fluorocytosine (5FC) to achieve localized cytotoxicity. Yet characteristics such as poor turnover rates of 5FC (bCD) and enzyme thermolability (yCD) preclude their full therapeutic potential. We previously applied regio-specific random mutagenesis and computational design to create novel bCD and yCD variants with altered substrate preference (bCD(1525)) or increased thermostability (yCD(double), yCD(triple)) to aid in overcoming these limitations. Others have utilized pathway engineering in which the microbial enzyme uracil phosphoribosyltransferase (UPRT) is fused with its respective CD, creating bCD/bUPRT or yCD/yUPRT. In this study, we evaluated whether the overlay of CD mutants onto their respective CD/UPRT fusion construct would further enhance 5FC activation, cancer cell prodrug sensitivity and bystander activity in vitro and in vivo. We show that all mutant fusion enzymes allowed for significant reductions in IC(50) values relative to their mutant CD counterparts. However, in vivo the CD mutants displayed enhanced tumor growth inhibition capacity relative to the mutant fusions, with bCD(1525) displaying the greatest tumor growth inhibition and bystander activity. In summary, mutant bCD(1525) appears to be the most effective of all bacterial or yeast CD or CD/UPRT enzymes examined and as such is likely to be the best choice to significantly improve the clinical outcome of CD/5FC suicide gene therapy applications.

Takahashi S, Kato K, Nakamura K, et al.
Neural cell adhesion molecule 2 as a target molecule for prostate and breast cancer gene therapy.
Cancer Sci. 2011; 102(4):808-14 [PubMed] Related Publications
In adenovirus-derived gene therapy, one of the problems is the difficulty in specific targeting. We have recently demonstrated that monoclonal antibody (mAb) libraries screened by fiber-modified adenovirus vector (Adv-FZ33), which is capable of binding to immunoglobulin-G (IgG), provide a powerful approach for the identification of suitable target antigens for prostate cancer therapy. Hybridoma libraries from mice immunized with androgen-dependent prostate cancer cell line LNCaP were screened and mAb were selected. Through this screening, we obtained one mAb, designated LNI-29, that recognizes a glycoprotein with an apparent molecular mass of 100 kD. It was identified as neural cell adhesion molecule 2 (NCAM2). Some prostate and breast cancer cell lines highly expressed NCAM2 whereas normal prostate cell lines expressed NCAM2 at low levels. In contrast to the low efficiency of gene transduction by Adv-FZ33 with a control antibody, LNI-29-mediated Adv-FZ33 infection induces high rates of gene delivery in NCAM2-positive cancers. NCAM2-mediated therapeutic gene transduction of uracil phosphoribosyltransferase (UPRT) had a highly effective cytotoxic effect on NCAM2-positive cancer cells, whereas it had less of an effect in cases with a control antibody. In conclusion, NCAM2 should be a novel gene therapy target for the treatment of prostate and breast cancer.

Anwar A, Norris DA, Fujita M
Ubiquitin proteasomal pathway mediated degradation of p53 in melanoma.
Arch Biochem Biophys. 2011; 508(2):198-203 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Ubiquitin proteasomal pathway (UPP) is the principle mechanism for protein catabolism and affects cellular processes critical for survival and proliferation. Levels of tumor suppressor protein p53 are very low in cells due to its rapid turnover by UPP-mediated degradation. While p53 is mutated in human cancers, most human melanomas maintain wild-type conformation. In this study, to investigate the effects of UPP inhibitor invitro and in vivo, we used a genetically-engineered mouse model (GEMM) that has the same genetic alterations as those of human melanomas. Melanoma cells were established from mouse tumors and named 8B20 cells. Treatment of 8B20 cells with the UPP inhibitors, MG132 and clasto-lactacystin-β-lactone, led to an increase in levels of p53 while treatment with non-proteasomal inhibitors did not alter p53 levels. UPP inhibitors induced formation of heavy molecular weight ubiquitinated proteins, a hallmark of UPP inhibition, and p53-specific poly-ubiquitinated products in 8B20 cells. To further decipher the mechanism of p53 stabilization, we investigated half-life of p53 in cells treated with cycloheximide to block de novo protein synthesis. Treatment of 8B20 cells with MG132 led to an increase in the half-life of p53. Further analysis revealed that p53 stabilization was not mediated by phosphorylation of Ser-15 and Ser-20 residues. In vivo studies showed that MG132 induced p53 overexpression and reduced tumor growth, suggesting an important role of p53 stabilization in controlling melanoma. Taken together, our studies provide a proof of principle for using a GEMM to address the mechanisms of action and efficacy of melanoma treatment.

Fang Y, Zhou X, Lin M, et al.
Inhibition of all-trans-retinoic acid-induced proteasome activation potentiates the differentiating effect of retinoid in acute myeloid leukemia cells.
Mol Carcinog. 2011; 50(1):24-35 [PubMed] Related Publications
All-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) is nowadays considered to be the sole efficient agent for differentiation-based therapy in leukemia; however, the mechanisms of ATRA's biological effects remain largely unknown. Here we first reported that ATRA-induced myeloid leukemia differentiation was accompanied with the increased level of ubiquitin-protein conjugates and the upregulation of proteasome activity. To explore the functional role of the activated proteasome in retinoic acid (RA) signaling, the effects of proteasome inhibitors on RA-induced cell differentiation were determined. Our results demonstrated that inhibition of ATRA-elevated proteasome activity obviously promoted the myeloid maturation program triggered by ATRA, suggesting that the overactivated proteasome is not beneficial for ATRA's effects. Further studies demonstrated that the synergistic differentiating effects of ATRA and proteasome inhibitors might be associated with the protection of retinoic acid receptor alpha (RARα) from degradation by the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway (UPP). Moreover, the accumulated RARα was able to enhance the transcription of its target gene, which might also contribute to the enhanced differentiation of leukemia cells. Together, by linking the UPP to ATRA-dependent signaling, our data provide a novel insight into studying the mechanisms of ATRA-elicited cellular effects and imply the possibility of combination of ATRA and proteasome inhibitors in leukemia therapy.

Imamura Y, Ishikawa S, Sato N, et al.
Adenoviral oncolytic suicide gene therapy for a peritoneal dissemination model of gastric cancer in mice.
Ann Surg Oncol. 2010; 17(2):643-52 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Peritoneal dissemination of gastric cancer is often refractory to systemic therapies. Although adenoviral gene therapy has been reported to be a potentially useful therapeutic modality, the adenovirus itself has a dose-limiting toxicity. A novel system was constructed using adenoviral oncolytic suicide gene therapy targeting carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA), and its therapeutic effect and the possibility to reduce the total viral dose while still preserving the antitumor effect were assessed.
METHODS: Three types of adenoviruses were prepared for this novel system: (A) Ad/CEA-Cre, (B) Ad/lox-CD::UPRT for a Cre/loxP system, and (C) Ad/CEA-E1 for conditionally replicating adenovirus. The antitumor effect of the oncolytic suicide gene therapy (A + B + C) was then evaluated in vitro. Mice bearing peritoneal dissemination of human gastric cancer were treated with either this system (A + B + C) or with a tenfold viral dose of suicide gene therapy (A + B). The adverse effects in terms of hepatotoxicity were then evaluated between the two groups.
RESULTS: The current system (A + B + C) demonstrated significantly better cytotoxic effect for CEA-producing cell lines than did suicide gene therapy (A + B) at the same viral dose in vitro. The effect of oncolytic suicide gene therapy was almost equal to that of the tenfold viral dose of suicide gene therapy in vivo. The hepatotoxicity of the two treated groups was also found to be equivalent.
CONCLUSION: It was possible to reduce the total adenoviral dose of oncolytic suicide gene therapy while still preserving the antitumor effect.

Cavarretta IT, Altanerova V, Matuskova M, et al.
Adipose tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cells expressing prodrug-converting enzyme inhibit human prostate tumor growth.
Mol Ther. 2010; 18(1):223-31 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The ability of human adipose tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cells (AT-MSCs), engineered to express the suicide gene cytosine deaminase::uracil phosphoribosyltransferase (CD::UPRT), to convert the relatively nontoxic 5-fluorocytosine (5-FC) into the highly toxic antitumor 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) together with their ability to track and engraft into tumors and micrometastases makes these cells an attractive tool to activate prodrugs directly within the tumor mass. In this study, we tested the feasibility and efficacy of these therapeutic cells to function as cellular vehicles of prodrug-activating enzymes in prostate cancer (PC) therapy. In in vitro migration experiments we have shown that therapeutic AT-MSCs migrated to all the prostate cell lines tested. In a pilot preclinical study, we observed that coinjections of human bone metastatic PC cells along with the transduced AT-MSCs into nude mice treated with 5-FC induced a complete tumor regression in a dose dependent manner or did not even allow the establishment of the tumor. More importantly, we also demonstrated that the therapeutic cells were effective in significantly inhibiting PC tumor growth after intravenous administration that is a key requisite for any clinical application of gene-directed enzyme prodrug therapies.

Im YS, Shin HK, Kim HR, et al.
Enhanced cytotoxicity of 5-FU by bFGF through up-regulation of uridine phosphorylase 1.
Mol Cells. 2009; 28(2):119-24 [PubMed] Related Publications
Anti cancer agent 5-FU (Fluoro Uracil) is a prodrug that can be metabolized and then activated to interfere with RNA and DNA homeostasis. However, the majority of administered 5-FU is known to be catabolized in vivo in the liver where Dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD) is abundantly expressed to degrade 5-FU. The biological factors that correlate with the response to 5-FU-based chemotherapy have been proposed to include uridine phosphorylase (UPP), thymidine phosphorylase (TPP), p53 and microsatellite instability. Among these, the expression of UPP is known to be controlled by cytokines such as TNF-alpha, IL1 and IFN-gamma. Our preliminary study using a DNA microarray technique showed that basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) markedly induced the expression of UPP1 at the transcription level. In the present study, we investigated whether bFGF could modulate the expression of UPP1 in osteo-lineage cells and examined the sensitivity of these cells to 5-FU mediated apoptosis.

Shi DZ, Hu WX, Li LX, et al.
Pharmacokinetics and the bystander effect in CD::UPRT/5-FC bi-gene therapy of glioma.
Chin Med J (Engl). 2009; 122(11):1267-72 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Cytosine deaminase (CD) converts 5-fluorocytosine (5-FC) to 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) in CD/5-FC gene therapy, 5-FU will be mostly converted into nontoxic beta-alanine without uracil phosphoribosyltransferase (UPRT). UPRT catalyzes the conversion of 5-FU to 5-fluorouridine monophosphate, which directly kills CD::UPRT-expressing cells and surrounding cells via the bystander effect. But the pharmacokinetics and the bystander effect of CD::UPRT/5-FC has not been verified in vivo and in vitro. Before the CD::UPRT/5-FC bi-gene therapy system is used in clinical trial, it is essential to monitor the transgene expression and function in vivo. Thus, we developed a preclinical tumor model to investigate the feasibility of using (19)F-magnetic resonance spectroscopy ((19)F-MRS) and optical imaging to measure non-invasive CD and UPRT expression and its bystander effect.
METHODS: C6 and C6-CD::UPRT cells were cultured with 5-FC. The medium, cells and their mixture were analyzed by (19)F-MRS. Rats with intracranial xenografted encephalic C6-CD::UPRT glioma were injected intraperitoneally with 5-FC and their (19)F-MRS spectra recorded. Then the pharmacokinetics of 5-FC was proved. Mixtures of C6 and C6-CD::UPRT cells at different ratios were cultured with 5-FC and the cytotoxic efficacy and survival rate of cells recorded. To determine the mechanism of the bystander effect, the culture media from cell comprising 25% and 75% C6-CD::UPRT cells were examined by (19)F-MRS. A comparative study of mean was performed using analysis of variance (ANOVA).
RESULTS: (19)F-MRS on samples from C6-CD::UPRT cells cultured with 5-FC showed three broad resonance signals corresponding to 5-FC, 5-FU and fluorinated nucleotides (F-Nuctd). For the C6 mixture, only the 5-FC peak was detected. In vivo serial (19)F-MRS spectra showed a strong 5-FC peak and a weak 5-FU peak at 20 minutes after 5-FC injection. The 5-FU concentration reached a maximum at about 50 minutes. The F-Nuctd signal appeared after about 1 hour, reached a maximum at around 160 minutes, and was detectable for several hours. At a 10% ratio of C6-CD::UPRT cells, the survival rate was (79.55 +/- 0.88)% (P < 0.01). As the C6-CD::UPRT ratio increased, the survival rate of the cells decreased. (19)F-MRS showed that the signals for 5-FU and F-Nuctd in the culture medium increased as the ratio of C6-CD::UPRT in the mixture increased.
CONCLUSIONS: (19)F-MRS studies indicated that C6-CD::UPRT cells could effectively express CD and UPRT enzymes. The CD::UPRT/5-FC system showed an obvious bystander effect. This study demonstrated that CD::UPRT/5-FC gene therapy is suitable for 5-FC to F-Nuctd metabolism; and (19)F-MRS can monitor transferred CD::UPRT gene expression and catalysis of substrates noninvasively, dynamically and quantitatively.

Kojima Y, Honda K, Hamada H, Kobayashi N
Oncolytic gene therapy combined with double suicide genes for human bile duct cancer in nude mouse models.
J Surg Res. 2009; 157(1):e63-70 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The prognosis of bile duct cancer is quite poor because of the low resection rate and the tolerance of the cancer to chemotherapy and radiotherapy. We investigated the feasibility of an oncolytic adenovector with two suicide genes for the treatment of bile duct cancer.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: We developed a new conditionally replicating adenovirus (AxE1CAUT) with the uracil phosphoribosyltransferase (UPRT) gene and the herpes simplex virus thymidine kinase (HSV-tk) gene, and compared its antitumor effects with a replication defective adenovector (AxCAUT) that has both the UPRT and HSV-tk genes. We evaluated the effects of these adenoviruses with 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) and/or ganciclovir (GCV) on human cholangiocarcinoma cells (HuCCT1, with mutant p53) in vitro and in vivo.
RESULTS: The drug sensitivity of HuCCT1 cells to 5-FU and/or GCV was increased with an increase in the multiplicity of infection (MOI). The antitumor effect increased when 5-FU and GCV were given at the same time. Subcutaneous tumors of nude mice directly injected with AxCAUT showed a higher response to 5-FU/GCV than 5-FU or GCV alone, but there was no difference between AxCAUT and AxE1CAUT. However, AxE1CAUT with 5-FU/GCV produced a decrease in tumor weight and better survival than AxCAUT in a peritoneal dissemination model infected by intraperitoneal administration of the adenovectors.
CONCLUSION: Oncolytic double suicide gene therapy is effective against human cholangiocarcinoma cells in nude mouse models.

Zhang W, Tong Q, Li S, et al.
MG-132 inhibits telomerase activity, induces apoptosis and G(1) arrest associated with upregulated p27kip1 expression and downregulated survivin expression in gastric carcinoma cells.
Cancer Invest. 2008; 26(10):1032-6 [PubMed] Related Publications
Ubiquitin-proteasome pathway (UPP) is the major system for the selective degradation of cellular proteins that play key roles in cellular processes. Previous study indicated that ubiquitin-proteasome inhibitor MG-132 could inhibit growth of some carcinoma. However, anti-carcinoma mechanism of MG-132 is unclear. Our objective was to investigate mechanisms of growth inhibitory effect of MG-132 on gastric carcinoma cells. Gastric carcinoma cell SGC-7901 was treated with ubiquitin-proteasome inhibitor MG-132. Cell growth suppression was evaluated with 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazole-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyl tetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay. DNA synthesis was evaluated by (3)H-thymidine ((3)H-TdR) incorporation. Activity of telomerase was examined by telomeric repeat amplification protocol (TRAP) PCR-ELISA. Cell cycle and apoptosis were detected by flow cytometry (FCM). DNA fragment analysis was used to confirm the presence of apoptosis. Expression of p27kip1 and survivin was detected using the western blot method. After exposed to MG-132, the growth and value of (3)H-TdR incorporation of gastric carcinoma cells were obviously inhibited. TRAP PCR-ELISA showed that light absorption of cells gradually decreased after exposed to 5 microM of MG-132 for 24, 48, 72 and 96 h (P < 0.01). The percentage of cells at G(0)/G(1) phase was increased and that at S and G(2)/M phase was decreased (P < 0.01). The ratio of apoptotic cells treated with 5 microM MG-132 for 96 h was 53.7 +/- 6.4%. Agarose electrophoresis showed marked ladders. Moreover, expression of p27kip1 of cells was increased and expression of survivin was decreased. Our results suggest that MG-132 inhibits telomerase activity, induces apoptosis and G(1) arrest which is associated with upregulated p27kip1 expression and downregulated survivin expression in gastric carcinoma cells.

Zhao FJ, Zhang S, Yu ZM, et al.
Specific targeting of prostate cancer cells in vitro by the suicide gene/prodrug system, uracil phosphoribosyltransferase/5-fluorouracil, under the control of prostate-specific membrane antigen promoter/enhancer.
Prostate Cancer Prostatic Dis. 2009; 12(2):166-71 [PubMed] Related Publications
This study was designed to investigate the prostate cancer-specific tumoricidal effect of the suicide gene, Escherichia coli uracil phosphoribosyltransferase (UPRT), driven by the human prostate-specific membrane antigen promoter/enhancer (PSMA(E/P)) in vitro. When transfected with PSMA(E/P)-EGFP (enhanced green fluorescence protein) (a plasmid construct with the green fluorescence protein gene driven by the PSMA(E/P)), only the androgen-responsive and PSMA-positive prostate cancer cell line, LNCaP, expressed GFP, indicating the specificity of the PSMA(E/P) activity in androgen-sensitive and PSMA-positive prostate cancer cells. Taking advantage of this prostate cancer-specific property of PSMA(E/P), we successfully introduced bacterial UPRT into LNCaP cells where the tumoricidal effect of 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) was significantly increased when compared with the cells without the exogenous UPRT. We conclude that the efficacy of 5-FU-based chemotherapy in prostate cancers can be significantly improved by targeted expression of the suicide gene UPRT under the control of PSMA(E/P).

Zhang P, Zeng H, Wei Q, et al.
Improved effects of a double suicide gene system on prostate cancer cells by targeted regulation of prostate-specific membrane antigen promoter and enhancer.
Int J Urol. 2008; 15(5):442-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: To explore the specific killing effect on prostate cancer cells of a dual cytosine deaminase (CD) and uracil phosphoribosyltransferase (UPRT) expression plasmid system controlled by the prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) promoter and enhancer.
METHODS: The CD gene was used to construct the recombinant plasmid prostate-specific membrane antigen(promoter/enhancer)-CD (pPSMA(E/P)-CD). The specific regulatory function of the pPSMA(E/P) promoter was demonstrated by detection of enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) expression in the LNCaP cell line. Survival of cells transfected with different plasmids and treated with 5-fluorocytosine (5-FC) was measured by microculture tetrazolium assay. Cell cycle changes were measured by flow cytometry.
RESULTS: Target-specific expression of PSMA(E/P) was observed in the prostate cancer cell line. Cytotoxicity of 5-FC was greater against LNCaP cells transfected with pPSMA(E/P)-CD and UPRT and pPSMA(E/P)-CD than control groups. Percentages of cells in S phase were 37.5% (LNCaP) and 30.6% (5-FC treatment) in the un-transfected groups, whereas they were 23.9% and 12.4% in the double and single suicide gene groups, respectively.
CONCLUSIONS: Our findings confirm the cytotoxic efficacy of the pPSMA(E/P)-CD + 5-FC and pPSMA(E/P)-CD and UPRT + 5-FC suicide gene systems. The CD and UPRT gene system quickly and directly converted 5-FC into 5-FU, and then into toxic metabolites. The CD and UPRT double suicide gene system was more effective in inducing tumor cell apoptosis with 5-FC than the single suicide gene system. Thus, this construct can specifically target prostate cancer cells and might have a role in gene therapy against prostate cancer.

Fogar P, Navaglia F, Basso D, et al.
Suicide gene therapy with the yeast fusion gene cytosine deaminase/uracil phosphoribosyltransferase is not enough for pancreatic cancer.
Pancreas. 2007; 35(3):224-31 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVES: Suicide gene therapy with FCY1 gene, encoding cytosine deaminase (CD), together with FUR1, encoding uracil phosphoribosyltransferase (UPRT), has been proposed for pancreatic cancer therapy in vivo. We ascertained whether gene therapy with FCY1-FUR1 is effective in killing pancreatic cancer cells after 5-fluorocytosine (5-FC) treatment.
METHODS: AsPC1, BxPC3, Capan1, MIA PaCa2, and Panc1 cell lines were transfected using 2 plasmid vectors expressing CD only (pRSV-CD) or the chimera CD-UPRT (pRSV-CD-UPRT). Control and pRSV-CD- or pRSV-CD-UPRT-transfected cell lines were treated with 0, 0.1, 0.5, 1, 5, and 10 mM of 5-FC for 1, 3, 6, 8, 10, and 13 days.
RESULTS: FCY1 alone did not confer sensitivity to 5-FC. The CD-UPRT-transfected BxPC3 and Panc1 were sensitive to very low 5-FC doses (0.1 mM). 5-Fluorocytosine-sensitive transfected cell lines rapidly converted 5-FC into 5-fluorouracil, whereas the 5-FC resistant cell lines had an impaired 5-FC conversion.
CONCLUSIONS: Suicide gene therapy with the FCY1 gene alone was ineffective in the treatment of pancreatic cancer in vitro. The pRSV-CD-UPRT construct conferred 5-FC sensitivity to some pancreatic cancer cell lines. Therefore, the application in vivo of suicide gene therapy with FCY1 alone or in combination with the FUR1 gene is probably destined to fail.

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