Aim: rAAV mediated endostatin gene therapy has been examined as a new method for treating cancer. However, a sustained and high protein delivery is required to achieve the desired therapeutic effects. We evaluated the impact of topoisomerase inhibitors in rAAV delivered endostatin gene therapy in a liver tumor model. Methods: rAAV containing endostatin expression cassettes were transduced into hepatoma cell lines. To test whether the topoisomerase inhibitor pretreatment increased the expression of endostatin, Western blotting and ELISA were performed. The biologic activity of endostatin was confirmed by endothelial cell proliferation and tube formation assays. The anti-tumor effects of the rAAV-endostatin vector combined with a topoisomerase inhibitor, etoposide, were evaluated in a mouse liver tumor model. Results: Topoisomerase inhibitors, including camptothecin and etoposide, were found to increase the endostatin expression level in vitro. The over-expressed endostatin, as a result of pretreatment with a topoisomerase inhibitor, was also biologically active. In animal experiments, the combined therapy of topoisomerase inhibitor, etoposide with the rAAV-endostatin vector had the best tumor-suppressive effect and tumor foci were barely observed in livers of the treated mice. Pretreatment with an etoposide increased the level of endostatin in the liver and serum of rAAV-endostatin treated mice. Finally, the mice treated with rAAV-endostatin in combination with etoposide showed the longest survival among the experimental models. Conclusion: rAAV delivered endostatin gene therapy in combination with a topoisomerase inhibitor pretreatment is an effective modality for anticancer gene therapy.
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