Combination of cytosine deaminase with uracil phosphoribosyl transerase leads to local and distant bystander effects against RM1 prostate cancer in mice

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Journal Article
Journal of Gene Medicine, 2006, 8 (9), pp. 1086 - 1096
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Background: We aimed to evaluate the efficacy of gene-directed enzyme-prodrug therapy (GDEPT) using cytosine deaminase in combination with uracil phosphoribosyl transferase (CDUPRT) against intraprostatic mouse androgen-refractory prostate (RM1) tumors in immunocompetent mice. The product of the fusion gene, CDUPRT, converts the prodrug, 5-fluorocytosine (5FC), into 5-fluorouracil (5FU) and other cytotoxic metabolites that kill both CDUPRT-expressing and surrounding cells, via a 'bystander effect'. Methods: Stably transformed andogen-independent mouse prostate cancer (PC) cells, RM1-CDUPRT, -GFP or GFP/LacZ cells were used. To assess the local bystander effects of CDUPRT-GDEPT, immunocompetent C57BL/6 mice implanted with cell mixtures of RM1-GFP/CDUPRT and RM1-GFP cells in different proportions intraprostatically were treated with 5FC. Pseudo-metastases in the lungs were established by a tail vein injection of untransfected RM1 cells. At necropsy, prostate weight/volume and lung colony counts were assessed. Tumors, lymph nodes, spleens and lungs were frozen or fixed for immunohistochemistry. Results: CDUPRT expression in RM1-GFP/CDUPRT cells or tumors was confirmed by enzymic conversion of 5FC into 5FU, using HPLC. Treatment of mice bearing intraprostatic RM1-GFP/CDUPRT tumors with 5FC resulted in complete regression of the tumors. A 'local bystander effect' was seen, even though only 20% of the cells expressed CDUPRT. More importantly a significant reduction in pseudo-metastases of RM1 cells in lungs indicated a 'distant bystander effect'. Immunohistochemical evaluation of the treated tumors showed increased necrosis and apoptosis, with decreased tumor vascularity. There was also a significant increase in tumour-infiltration by macrophages, CD4+ T and natural killer cells. Conclusions: We conclude that CDUPRT-GDEPT significantly suppressed the aggressive growth of RM1 prostate tumors and lung pseudo-metastases via immune mechanisms involving necrosis and apoptosis. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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