8 Scopus citations


The ability to achieve tumor selective expression of therapeutic genes is an area that needs improvement for cancer gene therapy to be successful. One approach to address this is through the use of promoters that can be controlled by external means, such as hyperthermia. In this regard, we constructed a replication-deficient adenovirus that consists of a mutated herpes simplex virus 1 thymidine kinase (mTK) fused to enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) under the control of the full-length human heat shock (HS) 70b promoter. The virus (AdHSmTK-EGFP) was evaluated both in vitro and in vivo in oral squamous cell carcinoma SCC-9 cells for expression of both mTK and EGFP. The in vitro expression of mTK-EGFP was validated using both 3H-penciclovir and fluorescence-activated cell sorting assays. These studies show that specific expression could be achieved by heating the cells at 41°C for 1 h, whereas little expression was observed using high doses of virus without hyperthermia. The vector was also evaluated in vivo by direct intratumoral injection into mice bearing SCC-9 xenografts. These studies demonstrated tumor expression of mTK-EGFP after ultrasound heating of the tumors by radioactive biodistribution assays, histology and microPET imaging. These in vivo results, which demonstrate HS-inducible transgene expression using PET imaging, provide a means for noninvasive monitoring of heat-induced gene therapy in local tumors, such as oral squamous cell carcinomas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-170
Number of pages10
JournalCancer gene therapy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2009


  • Adenovirus
  • Heat shock promoter
  • Hyperthermia
  • PET imaging
  • Thymidine kinase


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