ICOVIR-5 shows E2F1 addiction and potent antiglioma effect in vivo

Marta M Alonso, Manel Cascallo, Candelaria Gomez-Manzano, Hong Jiang, B Nebiyou Bekele, Anna Perez-Gimenez, Frederick F Lang, Yuji Piao, Ramon Alemany, Juan Fueyo
Cancer Research 2007 September 1, 67 (17): 8255-63
During 2007, approximately 200,000 people in the United States will be diagnosed with brain tumors. Gliomas account for 77% of primary malignant brain tumors, and the prognosis has hardly changed in the past 20 years, with only 30% of patients with malignant glioma surviving 5 years after diagnosis. Oncolytic adenoviruses are promising therapies for the treatment of gliomas. Here, report the antiglioma activity of the tumor-selective ICOVIR-5 adenovirus, which encompasses an early 1A adenoviral (E1A) deletion in the retinoblastoma (Rb) protein-binding region, substitution of the E1A promoter for E2F-responsive elements, and an RGD-4C peptide motif inserted into the adenoviral fiber to enhance adenoviral tropism. Mechanistic studies showed a dramatic addiction of ICOVIR-5 to the E2F1 oncogene in vitro and in vivo. This addiction was mediated by the occupancy of the ectopic adenoviral E2F1-responsive elements by the endogenous E2F1 protein resulting in high level of E1A expression in cancer cells and potent antiglioma effect. Importantly, we showed for the first time the ability of oncolytic adenoviruses to enhance E2F transcriptional activity in vivo, and we provided direct evidence of the interaction of the E2F1 protein with native and ectopic adenovirus promoters. Restoration of Rb function led to the association of Rb/E2F1 repressor complexes with ICOVIR-5 ectopic E2F1 promoter and subsequent down-modulation of E1A, dramatically impairing adenoviral replication. In xenografted mice, intratumoral injection of ICOVIR-5 resulted in a significant improvement of the median survival (P < 0.0001), and furthermore, led to 37% of long-term survivors free of disease. The antitumor activity of ICOVIR-5 suggests that it has the potential to be an effective agent in the treatment of gliomas.


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