Regional treatment of hepatic micrometastasis by adenovirus vector-mediated delivery of interleukin-2 and interleukin-12 cDNAs to the hepatic parenchyma

Edward A. Hirschowitz, Hassan A. Naama, Denis Evoy, Michael D. Lieberman, John Daly, Ronald Crystal

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We hypothesize that adenovirus (Ad) vector-mediated delivery of the human interleukin-2 (IL-2) cDNA(AdIL2) or the murine IL-12 cDNA heterodimer (AdIL12) would produce high concentrations of cytokines in the local hepatic milieu to induce host responses sufficient to inhibit the growth of experimental colon carcinoma-derived hepatic metastases. Ad vectors administered intravenously, which is a route known to deliver >90% of the vector to the hepatic parenchyma, achieved significant levels of each cytokine locally, with minimal levels in the sera. To examine the therapeutic effect, the AdIL2 and AdIL12 vectors were evaluated in a hepatic metastasis model that was established by injecting 3 × 104 cells from the poorly immunogenic syngeneic C26 colon carcinoma cell line into the right lobe of the livers of BALB/c mice. Animals received AdIL2, AdIL12, or control virus (108 plaque-forming units each) intravenously for 2 days after tumor implantation, and tumor growth was compared with naive controls. The AdNull control tumors measured 116 ± 25 mm2 at 2 weeks. The control virus showed no significant antitumor effect. In marked contrast, both AdIL2 and AdIL12 vectors that were delivered regionally had significant antitumor effects, with AdlL2-treated animals having an average tumor size of 16 ± 8 mm2; AdIL12-treated tumors measured 6 ± 6 mm2 (P < .01, both compared with control). Both the AdIL2 and AdIL12 vectors provided a significant survival advantage by log-rank analysis (P < .01), but only AdIL12 translated into an increase in mean survival from 27 (naive control) to 37 days. To evaluate whether these antitumor effects were T-cell-mediated, splenocytes from AdIL2-treated, AdIL12-treated, and naive control groups were stimulated in vitro with γ-irradiated C26 tumor cells for 5 days and tested for C26 tumor cell cytolysis by an in vitro cytotoxicity assay. Splenocytes from both AdIL2- and AdIL12-treated animals showed a dose-dependent, T-cell-mediated, specific cytolysis of CT26 cells. AdIL12 and to a lesser extent AdIL2 induced natural killer cell activity, as determined by a dose-dependent increase in lysis of the natural killer-specific target cell YAC-1. Overall, these data suggest that regional Ad-mediated delivery of IL-2 and IL-12 cDNAs may be useful for local tumor control and may warrant further investigation as a potentially useful adjuvant for the treatment of hepatic micrometastasis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)491-498
Number of pages8
JournalCancer Gene Therapy
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 1999
Externally publishedYes



  • Adenovirus
  • Interleukin-12
  • Interleukin-2
  • Liver
  • Tumor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Genetics

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