Journal Article

Autophagic Cell Death of Malignant Glioma Cells Induced by a Conditionally Replicating Adenovirus

Hideaki Ito, Hiroshi Aoki, Florian Kühnel, Yasuko Kondo, Stefan Kubicka, Thomas Wirth, Eiji Iwado, Arifumi Iwamaru, Keishi Fujiwara, Kenneth R. Hess, Frederick F. Lang, Raymond Sawaya and Seiji Kondo

in JNCI: Journal of the National Cancer Institute

Volume 98, issue 9, pages 625-636
Published in print May 2006 | ISSN: 0027-8874
Published online May 2006 | e-ISSN: 1460-2105 | DOI:
Autophagic Cell Death of Malignant Glioma Cells Induced by a Conditionally Replicating Adenovirus

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Background: Conditionally replicating adenoviruses (CRAds) can be engineered to replicate selectively in cancer cells and cause cancer-specific cell lysis; thus they are considered a promising cancer therapy. Methods: To elucidate the mechanisms by which CRAds induce cancer-specific cell death, we infected normal human fibroblasts (MRC5, telomerase negative), human malignant glioma (U373-MG and U87-MG), human cervical cancer (HeLa), and human prostate cancer (PC3) cells (all telomerase positive) with CRAds regulated by the human telomerase reverse transcriptase promoter (hTERT-Ad) or control nonreplicating adenoviruses (Ad-GFP). Nonapoptotic autophagy was assessed in Ad-GFP- and hTERT-Ad–infected cells by examining cell morphology, the development of acidic vesicular organelles, and the conversion of microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3 from the cytoplasmic form to the autophagosome membrane form; signaling via mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), an autophagy-associated molecule, was monitored by western blot analysis. We also compared the growth of subcutaneous gliomas in nude mice that were treated by intratumoral injection with Ad-GFP or hTERT-Ad. Survival of athymic mice carrying intracranial gliomas treated by intratumoral injection with Ad-GFP or hTERT-Ad was compared by using the Kaplan–Meier method and the Cox–Mantel log-rank analysis. All statistical tests were two-sided. Results: hTERT-Ad induced tumor-specific autophagic cell death in tumor cells and in subcutaneous gliomas. hTERT-Ad–induced autophagy was associated with hTERT-Ad infection kinetics. The mTOR signaling pathway was suppressed in tumor cells and in subcutaneous gliomas treated with hTERT-Ad compared with GFP-Ad or no treatment as shown by reduced phosphorylation of mTOR's downstream target p70S6 kinase (p70S6K). hTERT-Ad treatment of mice (n = 7) slowed growth of subcutaneous gliomas (mean tumor volume = 39 mm3, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 23 to 54 mm3) compared with GFP-Ad treatment (n = 7) (mean tumor volume = 200 mm3, 95% CI = 149 to 251 mm3) at day 7 (volume difference = 161 mm3, 95% CI = 126 to 197 mm3; P<.001). Mice carrying intracranial tumors that were treated with three intratumoral injections of hTERT-Ad survived longer (53 days) than after treatment with GFP-Ad (29 days) (seven mice per group, difference = 24 days, 95% CI = 20 to 28 days; P<.001). Conclusions: hTERT-Ad may kill telomerase-positive cancer cells by inducing autophagic cell death.

Journal Article.  8865 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Medical Oncology

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