Seo E, Abei M, Wakayama M, Fukuda K, Ugai H, Murata T, Todoroki T, Matsuzaki Y, Tanaka N, Hamada H, Yokoyama KK.
In order to enhance the efficacy of conditionally replicating adenoviruses (CRAd) in the treatment of cancers of the biliary tract, we studied the efficacy in vitro and in vivo of AxE1CAUP, a CRAd vector that carries a gene for uracil phosphoribosyltransferase (UPRT), which converts 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) directly to 5-fluorouridine monophosphate and greatly enhances the cytotoxicity of 5-FU. AxE1CAUP replicated and induced an increased UPRT expression in biliary cancer cells more efficiently than AxCAUP, a nonreplicative adenovirus carrying the UPRT gene. Whereas AxCAUP and AxE1AdB, a CRAd without the UPRT gene, modestly increased the sensitivity of BC cells to 5-FU, AxE1CAUP markedly increased the sensitivity, especially when the timing of 5-FU administration was appropriately chosen. AxE1CAUP replicated much less efficiently in normal WI-38 fibroblasts without any change in the sensitivity to 5-FU. In nude mice with s.c. biliary cancer xenografts, i.t. AxE1CAUP/5-FU therapy inhibited tumor growth significantly more strongly than AxCAUP/5-FU or AxE1AdB/5-FU therapy. Furthermore, in mice with peritoneally disseminated biliary cancer, i.p. AxE1CAUP efficiently proliferated in the tumors, decreased the tumor burden, and prolonged the survival of the mice when 5-FU was started 10 or 15 days after the vector inoculation, whereas earlier initiation of 5-FU resulted in early eradication of the vector and no survival benefit. The present study shows that the CRAd expressing UPRT was a more potent sensitizer of biliary cancer to 5-FU, than was a nonreplicative UPRT-encoding vector or a CRAd without UPRT gene, even at a lower dose of the vector, and that timing of 5-FU administration was a key factor to maximize the efficacy. This gene therapy with appropriately timed administration of 5-FU should be useful in overcoming the resistance of biliary cancers to 5-FU.