Radioiodine is a routine therapy for differentiated thyroid cancers. Non-thyroid cancers may be treated with radio-iodine following transfection with the human sodium/iodide symporter (hNIS) gene. The glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) promoter is an effective tumor-specific promoter for gene expression and thus may be useful in targeted gene therapy of malignant glioma. The present study used GFAP promoter-modulated expression of the hNIS gene in an experimental model of radioiodine-based treatment for malignant glioma. Cells were transfected using a recombination adeno-virus and evaluated in cells by studying the transfected transgene expression through western blot analysis, 125I uptake and efflux, clonogenicity following 131I treatment and radioiodine therapy using a U87 xenograft nude mouse model. Following transfection with the hNIS gene, the cells showed 95–70-fold higher 125I uptake compared with the control cells transfected with Ad-cytomegalovirus (CMV)-enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP). The western blotting revealed bands of ∼70, 49 and 43 kDa, consistent with the hNIS, GFAP and β-actin proteins. The clonogenic assay indicated that, following exposure to 500 μCi of 131I-iodide for 12 h, >90% of cells transfected with the hNIS gene were killed. Ad-GFAP-hNIS-transfected and 2 mCi 131I-injected U87 xenograft nude mice survived the longest of the three groups. The hNIS-expressing tumor tissue accumulated 99mTcO4 rapidly within 30 min of it being intraperitoneally injected. The experiments demonstrated that effective 131I therapy was achieved in the malignant glioma cell lines following the induction of tumor-specific iodide uptake activity by GFAP promoter-directed hNIS gene expression in vitro and in vivo. 131I therapy retarded Ad-GFAP-hNIS transfected-tumor growth following injection with 131I in U87 xenograft-bearing nude mice.
malignant glioma; sodium iodide symporter; glial fibrillary acidic protein promoter; radioiodine therapy
Oncolytic adenoviruses can be engineered for better tumor selectivity, gene delivery and be armed for imaging and concentrating radionuclides into tumors for synergistic oncolysis. We constructed Ad5/3-hTERT-hNIS where replication is controlled by hTERT-promoter. Ad5/3-hTERT-hNIS expresses hNIS for imaging of transgene expression and for treatment of infected tumors by radioiodine. Ad5/3-hTERT-hNIS efficiently killed prostate cancer cells and induced iodine uptake in vitro and in vivo after intratumoral virus administration. Survival of mice treated with intravenous Ad5/3-hTERT-hNIS significantly prolonged survival over mock or radioiodine only but the combination of virus with radioiodine was not more effective than virus alone. Temporal and spatial changes in hNIS-expression during therapy were detected with SPECT, demonstrating feasibility of evaluation of the combination therapy with hNIS-expressing adenoviruses and radioiodide.
Using an adenoviral system as a delivery mediator of therapeutic gene, we investigated the therapeutic effects of the use of combined MDR1 shRNA and human NIS (hNIS) radioiodine gene therapy in a mouse colon xenograft model. In vitro uptake of Tc-99m sestamibi was increased approximately two-fold in cells infected with an adenovirus vector that expressed MDR1 shRNA (Ad-shMDR1) and I-125 uptake was 25-fold higher in cells infected with an adenovirus vector that expressed human NIS (Ad-hNIS) as compared with control cells. As compared with doxorubicin or I-131 treatment alone, the combination of doxorubicin and I-131 resulted in enhanced cytotoxicity for both Ad-shMDR1- and Ad-hNIS-infected cells, but not for control cells. In vivo uptake of Tc-99m sestamibi and Tc-99m pertechnetate was twofold and 10-fold higher for Ad-shMDR1 and Ad-hNIS-infected tumors as compared with tumors infected with a control adenovirus construct that expressed β-galactrosidase (Ad-LacZ), respectively. In mice treated with either doxorubicin or I-131 alone, there was a slight delay in tumor growth as compared to mice treated with Ad-LacZ. However, combination therapy with doxorubicin and I-131 induced further significant inhibition of tumor growth as compared with mice treated with Ad-LacZ. We have shown successful therapeutic efficacy of combined MDR shRNA and hNIS radioiodine gene therapy using an adenoviral vector system in a mouse colon cancer model. Adenovirus-mediated cancer gene therapy using MDR1 shRNA and hNIS would be a useful tool for the treatment of cancer cells expressing multi-drug resistant genes.
MDR1; shRNA; hNIS; Radioiodine gene therapy; imaging
It is important to simultaneously induce strong cell death and antitumor immunity in cancer patients for successful cancer treatment. Here, we investigated the cytotoxic and phenotypic modulation effects of the combination of ANT2 shRNA and human sodium iodide symporter (hNIS) radioiodine gene therapy in vitro and in vivo and visualized the antitumor effects in an immunocompromised mouse colon cancer model.
A mouse colon cancer cell line co-expressing hNIS and the luciferase gene (CT26/hNIS-Fluc, named CT26/NF) was established. CT26/NF cells and tumor-bearing mice were treated with HBSS, scramble, ANT2 shRNA, I-131, and ANT2 shRNA + I-131. The apoptotic rates (%) and MHC class I and Fas gene expression levels were determined in treated CT26/NF cells using flow cytometry. Concurrently, the level of caspase-3 activation was determined in treated cells in vitro. For in vivo therapy, tumor-bearing mice were treated with scramble, ANT2 shRNA, I-131, and the combination therapy, and the anti-tumor effects were monitored using bioluminescence. The killing activity of cytotoxic T cells (CTLs) was measured with a lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) assay.
For the in vitro experiments, the combination of ANT2 shRNA and I-131 resulted in a higher apoptotic cell death rate compared with ANT2 shRNA or I-131 alone, and the levels of MHC class I and Fas-expressing cancer cells were highest in the cells receiving combination treatment, while single treatment modestly increased the level of MHC class I and Fas gene expression. The combination of ANT2 shRNA and I-131 resulted in a higher caspase-3 activation than single treatments. Interestingly, in vivo combination treatment led to increased gene expression of MHC class I and Fas than the respective mono-therapies; furthermore, bioluminescence showed increased antitumor effects after combination treatment than monotherapies. The LDH assay revealed that the CTL killing activity against CT26/NF cells was most effective after combination therapy.
Increased cell death and phenotypic modulation of cancer cells in vitro and in vivo were achieved simultaneously after combination therapy with ANT2 shRNA and I-131, and this combination therapy induced remarkable antitumor outcomes through improvements in CTL immunity against CT26/NF. Our results suggest that combination therapy can be used as a new therapeutic strategy for cancer patients who show resistance to single therapy such as radiation or immunotherapy.
Human sodium iodide symporter (hNIS); Radioiodine gene therapy; Adenine nucleotide translocase-2 (ANT2); Short hairpin RNA (shRNA); Radiation-induced immune response; Cytotoxic T cells (CTLs)
Radioiodide is an effective therapy for thyroid cancer. This treatment modality exploits the thyroid-specific expression of the sodium iodide symporter (NIS) gene, which allows rapid internalization of iodide into thyroid cells. To test whether a similar treatment strategy could be exploited in nonthyroid malignancies, we transfected non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cell lines with the NIS gene. Although the expression of NIS allowed significant radioiodide uptake in the transfected NSCLC cell lines, rapid radioiodide efflux limited tumor cell killing. Because thyroperoxidase (TPO) catalyzes iodination of proteins and subsequently causes iodide retention within thyroid cells, we hypothesized that coexpression of both NIS and TPO genes would overcome this deficiency. Our results show that transfection of NSCLC cells with both human NIS and TPO genes resulted in an increase in radioiodide uptake and retention and enhanced tumor cell apoptosis. These findings suggest that single gene therapy with only the NIS gene may have limited efficacy because of rapid efflux of radioiodide. In contrast, the combination of NIS and TPO gene transfer, with resulting TPO-mediated organification and intracellular retention of radioiodide, may lead to more effective tumor cell death. Thus, TPO could be used as a therapeutic strategy to enhance the NIS-based radioiodide concentrator gene therapy for locally advanced lung cancer.
Gene therapy; NIS/TPO; lung cancer
To develop a model for endogenous thyroid autoantigen presentation, we transfected EBV-transformed B lymphoblastoid cell lines (EBV-LCL), established from patients with autoimmune thyroid disease and normal controls, with cDNA for the human thyroid autoantigen thyroid peroxidase (hTPO). hTPO-antigen presentation to patient peripheral blood T cells was demonstrated after stimulation in vitro for 7 d with irradiated hTPO-transfected or untransfected autologous EBV-LCL. Anti-hTPO-reactive T cells were subsequently cloned in the presence of irradiated, autologous hTPO-transfected EBV-LCL and IL-2.10 T cell-cloned lines exhibited specific hTPO-induced proliferation (stimulation indices of 2.1-7.9) towards autologous hTPO-transfected EBV-LCL, and were subjected to human T cell receptor (hTCR) V gene analysis, using the PCR for the detection of V alpha and V beta hTcR gene families. The results indicated a preferential use of hTCR V alpha 1 and/or V alpha 3 in 9 of the 10 lines. In contrast, hTCR V beta gene family use was more variable. These data demonstrate a model for the endogenous presentation of human thyroid peroxidase in the absence of other thyroid specific antigens. The high frequency of antigen-specific T cells obtained from PBMC using this technique will facilitate further studies at both the functional and hTCR V gene level.
The sodium iodide symporter (NIS) directs the uptake and concentration of iodide in thyroid cells. We have extended the use of NIS-mediated radioiodine therapy to prostate cancer. We have developed a prostate tumor specific conditionally replicating adenovirus (CRAd) that expresses hNIS (Ad5PB_RSV-NIS). For radiovirotherapy to be effective in humans, the radioiodine dose administered in the pre-clinical animal model should scale to the range of acceptable doses in humans. We performed 131I dose-response experiments aiming to determine the dose required in mice to achieve efficient radiovirotherapy. Efficacy was determined by measuring tumor growth and survival times. We observed that individual tumors display disparate growth rates which preclude averaging within a treatment modality indicating heterogeneity of growth rate. We further show that a statistic and stochastic approach must be used when comparing the effect of an anti-cancer therapy on a cohort of tumors. Radiovirotherapy improves therapeutic value over virotherapy alone by slowing the rate of tumor growth in a more substantial manner leading to an increase in survival time. We also show that the radioiodine doses needed to achieve this increase scaled well within the current doses used for treatment of thyroid cancer in humans.
prostate cancer; probasin; adenovirus; sodium iodide symporter; virotherapy; gene therapy; allometry
Prostate cancer (PCa) is the second most commonly diagnosed and sixth leading cause of cancer death in American men and one for which no curative therapy exists after metastasis. To meet this need for novel therapies, our laboratory has previously generated conditionally replicating adenovirus (CRAd) vectors expressing the sodium iodide symporter (hNIS). This virus transduced PCa cells and induced functional NIS expression, allowing for noninvasive tumor imaging and combination therapy with radioiodide, referred to as radiovirotherapy. We have now generated two new modified vectors to further improve efficacy. Ad5/3PB-ADP-hNIS and Ad5/3PB-hNIS include a hybrid Ad5/3 fiber knob to improve transduction efficiency, and express NIS from the endogenous major late promoter to restrict NIS expression to target cells. Additionally, Ad5/3PB-ADP-hNIS includes the adenovirus death protein (ADP), which hastens the release of viral particles after assembly. These two vectors specifically induce radioisotope uptake, cytopathic effect, and viral replication in androgen receptor–expressing PCa cell lines with Ad5/3PB-ADP-hNIS showing earlier 131I uptake and cytolysis at low multiplicity of infection. SPECT-CT imaging of xenograft tumors infected with Ad5/3PB-hNIS showed steady uptake, whereas infection with Ad5/3PB-ADP-hNIS led to increasing uptake, indicating viral spread. Radiovirotherapy of xenograft LNCaP tumors with Ad5/3PB-ADP-hNIS showed the most significant survival extension versus control tumors (p=0.001), but the benefit of radiovirotherapy was not statistically significant compared with virotherapy alone in this model. These results show the potential of Ad5/3PB-ADP-hNIS as a vector for treatment of prostate cancer.
Oneal and colleagues report on two novel conditionally replicating adenoviral vectors that combine 131I therapy with conventional virotherapy, a treatment termed radiovirotherapy. They show that these vectors can specifically induce radioisotope uptake, cytopathic effect, and viral replication in androgen receptor-expressing prostate cancer cell lines. In vivo efficacy studies show that treatment of tumor-bearing xenograft mice with these vectors results in a significant oncolytic effect.
Surgery is currently the definitive treatment for early-stage breast cancer. However, the rate of positive surgical margins remains unacceptably high. The human sodium iodide symporter (hNIS) is a naturally occurring protein in human thyroid tissue, which enables cells to concentrate radionuclides. The hNIS has been exploited to image and treat thyroid cancer. We therefore investigated the potential of a novel oncolytic vaccinia virus GLV1h-153 engineered to express the hNIS gene for identifying positive surgical margins after tumor resection via positron emission tomography (PET). Furthermore, we studied its role as an adjuvant therapeutic agent in achieving local control of remaining tumors in an orthotopic breast cancer model.
GLV-1h153, a replication-competent vaccinia virus, was tested against breast cancer cell lines at various multiplicities of infection (MOIs). Cytotoxicity and viral replication were determined. Mammary fat pad tumors were generated in athymic nude mice. To determine the utility of GLV-1h153 in identifying positive surgical margins, 90% of the mammary fat pad tumors were surgically resected and subsequently injected with GLV-1h153 or phosphate buffered saline (PBS) in the surgical wound. Serial Focus 120 microPET images were obtained six hours post-tail vein injection of approximately 600 μCi of 124I-iodide.
Viral infectivity, measured by green fluorescent protein (GFP) expression, was time- and concentration-dependent. All cell lines showed less than 10% of cell survival five days after treatment at an MOI of 5. GLV-1h153 replicated efficiently in all cell lines with a peak titer of 27 million viral plaque forming units (PFU) ( <10,000-fold increase from the initial viral dose ) by Day 4. Administration of GLV-1h153 into the surgical wound allowed positive surgical margins to be identified via PET scanning. In vivo, mean volume of infected surgically resected residual tumors four weeks after treatment was 14 mm3 versus 168 mm3 in untreated controls (P < 0.05).
This is the first study to our knowledge to demonstrate a novel vaccinia virus carrying hNIS as an imaging tool in identifying positive surgical margins of breast cancers in an orthotopic murine model. Moreover, our results suggest that GLV-1h153 is a promising therapeutic agent in achieving local control for positive surgical margins in resected breast tumors.
The sodium iodide symporter (NIS) directs the uptake and concentration of iodide in thyroid cells. This in turn allows radioiodine imaging and therapy for thyroid cancer. To extend the use of NIS-mediated radioiodine therapy to other types of cancer, we successfully transferred and expressed the sodium-iodide symporter (NIS) gene in prostate, colon, and breast cancer cells both in vivo and in vitro by using non-replicating adenoviral vectors.
To improve virotherapy efficiency, we developed a conditionally replicating adenovirus (CRAd) in which the transcriptional cassette RSV promoter-human NIScDNA-bGH polyA was also inserted at the E3 region. The E1a gene is driven by the tumor-specific promoter MUC-1 in the CRAd Ad5AMUCH_RSV-NIS.
In vitro infection of the MUC-1-positive breast cell line T47D resulted in virus replication, cytolysis, and release of infective viral particles. Conversely, the MUC-1-negative breast cancer cell line MDA-MB-231 was refractory to the viral cytopathic effect and did not support viral replication. The data indicate that Ad5AMUCH_RSV-NIS activity is stringently restricted to MUC-1-positive cancer cells. Radioiodine uptake was readily measurable in T47 cells infected with Ad5AMUCH_RSV-NIS 24 hours after infection, thus confirming NIS expression before viral-induced cell death.
This construct may allow multimodal therapy, combining virotherapy with radioiodine therapy to be developed as a novel treatment for breast and other MUC1-overexpressing cancers.
Oncolytic viruses show promise for treating cancer. However, to assess therapy and potential toxicity, a noninvasive imaging modality is needed. This study aims to determine the in vivo biodistribution, and imaging and timing characteristics of a vaccinia virus, GLV-1h153, encoding the human sodium iodide symporter (hNIS.
GLV-1h153 was modified from GLV-1h68 to encode the hNIS gene. Timing of cellular uptake of radioiodide 131I in human pancreatic carcinoma cells PANC-1 was assessed using radiouptake assays. Viral biodistribution was determined in nude mice bearing PANC-1 xenografts, and infection in tumors confirmed histologically and optically via Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) and bioluminescence. Timing characteristics of enhanced radiouptake in xenografts were assessed via 124I-positron emission tomography (PET). Detection of systemic administration of virus was investigated with both 124I-PET and 99m-technecium gamma-scintigraphy.
GLV-1h153 successfully facilitated time-dependent intracellular uptake of 131I in PANC-1 cells with a maximum uptake at 24 hours postinfection (P<0.05). In vivo, biodistribution profiles revealed persistence of virus in tumors 5 weeks postinjection at 109 plaque-forming unit (PFU)/gm tissue, with the virus mainly cleared from all other major organs. Tumor infection by GLV-1h153 was confirmed via optical imaging and histology. GLV-1h153 facilitated imaging virus replication in tumors via PET even at 8 hours post radiotracer injection, with a mean %ID/gm of 3.82±0.46 (P<0.05) 2 days after intratumoral administration of virus, confirmed via tissue radiouptake assays. One week post systemic administration, GLV-1h153-infected tumors were detected via 124I-PET and 99m-technecium-scintigraphy.
GLV-1h153 is a promising oncolytic agent against pancreatic cancer with a promising biosafety profile. GLV-1h153 facilitated time-dependent hNIS-specific radiouptake in pancreatic cancer cells, facilitating detection by PET with both intratumoral and systemic administration. Therefore, GLV-1h153 is a promising candidate for the noninvasive imaging of virotherapy and warrants further study into longterm monitoring of virotherapy and potential radiocombination therapies with this treatment and imaging modality.
Human sodium iodide symporter (hNIS) gene over-expression is under active consideration worldwide as an alternative target molecule for breast cancer (BC) diagnosis and targeted radio-iodine treatment. However, the field demands better stratified analysis of endogenous hNIS expression across major BC subtypes. Therefore, we have analyzed subtype-specific variation of hNIS overexpression in breast tumor tissue samples by immunohistochemistry (IHC) and also report the development of a homogeneous, quantitative analysis method of digital IHC images.
hNIS expression was analyzed from 108 BC tissue samples by IHC. Sub-cellular localization of hNIS protein was analyzed by dual immunofluorescence (IF) staining method using hNIS and HER2 antibodies. An ImageJ based two-step digital analysis method was developed and applied for the bias-free analysis of the images.
Staining of the tumor samples show 70% cases are hNIS positive indicating high incidence of hNIS positive cases in BC. More importantly, a subtype specific analysis done for the first time shows that hNIS expression is overly dominated in estrogen receptor (ER) positive cases than the receptor negative cases. Further, 56% of the ER+ve, PgR+ve, HER2-ve and 36% of ER+ve, PgR+ve, HER2+ve cases show highest intensity staining equivalent to the thyroid tissue. A significant positive correlation is also observed between hNIS and estrogen receptor expression (p = 0.0033, CI = 95%) suggesting hNIS mediated targeted radio-iodine therapy procedures may benefit both ER+ve, PgR+ve, HER2–ve as well as HER2+ve cases. Further, in a few cases, hNIS and HER2 protein localization is demonstrated by overlapping membrane co-expression. ImageJ based image analysis method shows over 70% match with manual pathological scoring method.
The study indicates a positive link between hNIS and ER expression in BC. The quantitative IHC image analysis method reported here will further help in patient stratification and potentially benefit global clinical assessment where hNIS mediated targeted 131I radio-ablative therapy is aimed.
Recovery of iodide uptake in thyroid cancer cells by means of obtaining the functional expression of the sodium/iodide symporter (NIS) represents an innovative strategy for the treatment of poorly differentiated thyroid cancer. However, the NIS gene expression alone is not always sufficient to restore radioiodine concentration ability in these tumour cells.
In this study, the anaplastic thyroid carcinoma ARO cells were stably transfected with a Pax8 gene expression vector. A quantitative RT-PCR was performed to assess the thyroid specific gene expression in selected clones. The presence of NIS protein was detected by Western blot and localized by immunofluorescence. A iodide uptake assay was also performed to verify the functional effect of NIS induction and differentiation switch.
The clones overexpressing Pax8 showed the re-activation of several thyroid specific genes including NIS, Pendrin, Thyroglobulin, TPO and TTF1. In ARO-Pax8 clones NIS protein was also localized both in cell cytoplasm and membrane. Thus, the ability to uptake the radioiodine was partially restored, associated to a high rate of efflux. In addition, ARO cells expressing Pax8 presented a lower rate of cell growth.
These finding demonstrate that induction of Pax8 expression may determine a re-differentiation of thyroid cancer cells, including a partial recovery of iodide uptake, fundamental requisite for a radioiodine-based therapeutic approach for thyroid tumours.
Due to their unique property to migrate to pathological lesions, stem cells are used as a delivery vehicle for therapeutic genes to tumors, especially for glioma. It is critically important to track the movement, localization, engraftment efficiency and functional capability or expression of transgenes of selected cell populations following transplantation. The purposes of this study were to investigate whether 1) intravenously administered, genetically transformed cord blood derived EPCs can carry human sodium iodide symporter (hNIS) to the sites of tumors in rat orthotopic model of human glioma and express transgene products, and 2) whether accumulation of these administered EPCs can be tracked by different in vivo imaging modalities.
Methods and Results
Collected EPCs were cultured and transduced to carry hNIS. Cellular viability, differential capacity and Tc-99m uptake were determined. Five to ten million EPCs were intravenously administered and Tc-99-SPECT images were acquired on day 8, to determine the accumulation of EPCs and expression of transgenes (increase activity of Tc-99m) in the tumors. Immunohistochemistry was performed to determine endothelial cell markers and hNIS positive cells in the tumors. Transduced EPCs were also magnetically labeled and accumulation of cells was confirmed by MRI and histochemistry. SPECT analysis showed increased activity of Tc-99m in the tumors that received transduced EPCs, indicative of the expression of transgene (hNIS). Activity of Tc-99m in the tumors was also dependent on the number of administered transduced EPCs. MRI showed the accumulation of magnetically labeled EPCs. Immunohistochemical analysis showed iron and hNIS positive and, human CD31 and vWF positive cells in the tumors.
EPC was able to carry and express hNIS in glioma following IV administration. SPECT detected migration of EPCs and expression of the hNIS gene. EPCs can be used as gene carrier/delivery system for glioma therapy as well as imaging probes.
Anaplastic thyroid carcinoma (ATC) is one of the most deadly cancers. With intensive multimodalities of treatment, the survival remains low. ATC is not sensitive to 131I therapy due to loss of sodium iodide symporter (NIS) gene expression. We have previously generated a stable human NIS-expressing ATC cell line, ARO, and the ability of iodide accumulation was restored. To make NIS-mediated gene therapy more applicable, this study aimed to establish a lentiviral system for transferring hNIS gene to cells and to evaluate the efficacy of in vitro and in vivo radioiodide accumulation for imaging and therapy. Lentivirus containing hNIS cDNA were produced to transduce ARO cells which do not concentrate iodide. Gene expression, cell function, radioiodide imaging and treatment were evaluated in vitro and in vivo. Results showed that the transduced cells were restored to express hNIS and accumulated higher amount of radioiodide than parental cells. Therapeutic dose of 131I effectively inhibited the tumor growth derived from transduced cells as compared to saline-treated mice. Our results suggest that the lentiviral system efficiently transferred and expressed hNIS gene in ATC cells. The transduced cells showed a promising result of tumor imaging and therapy.
Despite enormous progress in gene therapy for breast cancer, an optimal systemic vehicle for delivering gene products to the target tissue is still lacking. The purpose of this study was to determine whether AC133+ progenitor cells (APC) can be used as both gene delivery vehicles and cellular probes for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). In this study, we used superparamagentic iron oxide (SPIO)-labeled APCs to carry the human sodium iodide symporter (hNIS) gene to the sites of implanted breast cancer in mouse model. In vivo real time tracking of these cells was performed by MRI and expression of hNIS was determined by Tc-99m pertechnetate (Tc-99m) scan.
Three million human breast cancer (MDA-MB-231) cells were subcutaneously implanted in the right flank of nude mice. APCs, isolated from fresh human cord blood, were genetically transformed to carry the hNIS gene using adenoviral vectors and magnetically labeled with ferumoxides-protamine sulfate (FePro) complexes. Magnetically labeled genetically transformed cells were administered intravenously in tumor bearing mice when tumors reached 0.5 cm in the largest dimension. MRI and single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) images were acquired 3 and 7 days after cell injection, with a 7 Tesla animal MRI system and a custom built micro-SPECT using Tc-99m, respectively. Expression of hNIS in accumulated cells was determined by staining with anti-hNIS antibody. APCs were efficiently labeled with ferumoxide-protamine sulfate (FePro) complexes and transduced with hNIS gene. Our study showed not only the accumulation of intravenously administered genetically transformed, magnetically labeled APCs in the implanted breast cancer, but also the expression of hNIS gene at the tumor site. Tc-99m activity ratio (tumor/non-tumor) was significantly different between animals that received non-transduced and transduced cells (P < 0.001).
This study indicates that genetically transformed, magnetically labeled APCs can be used both as delivery vehicles and cellular probes for detecting in vivo migration and homing of cells. Furthermore, they can potentially be used as a gene carrier system for the treatment of tumor or other diseases.
Thyroid iodide uptake through the sodium-iodide symporter (NIS) is not only an essential step for thyroid hormones biosynthesis, but also fundamental for the diagnosis and treatment of different thyroid diseases. However, part of patients with thyroid cancer is refractory to radioiodine therapy, due to reduced ability to uptake iodide, which greatly reduces the chances of survival. Therefore, compounds able to increase thyroid iodide uptake are of great interest. It has been shown that some flavonoids are able to increase iodide uptake and NIS expression in vitro, however, data in vivo are lacking. Flavonoids are polyhydroxyphenolic compounds, found in vegetables present in human diet, and have been shown not only to modulate NIS, but also thyroperoxidase (TPO), the key enzyme in thyroid hormones biosynthesis, besides having antiproliferative effect in thyroid cancer cell lines. Therefore, we aimed to evaluate the effect of some flavonoids on thyroid iodide uptake in Wistar rats in vivo. Among the flavonoids tested, rutin was the only one able to increase thyroid iodide uptake, so we decided to evaluate the effect of this flavonoid on some aspects of thyroid hormones synthesis and metabolism. Rutin led to a slight reduction of serum T4 and T3 without changes in serum thyrotropin (TSH), and significantly increased hypothalamic, pituitary and brown adipose tissue type 2 deiodinase and decreased liver type 1 deiodinase activities. Moreover, rutin treatment increased thyroid iodide uptake probably due to the increment of NIS expression, which might be secondary to increased response to TSH, since TSH receptor expression was increased. Thus, rutin might be useful as an adjuvant in radioiodine therapy, since this flavonoid increased thyroid iodide uptake without greatly affecting thyroid function.
The sodium iodide symporter (NIS) directs the uptake and concentration of iodide in thyroid cells. We have extended the use of NIS-mediated radioiodine therapy to other types of cancer, we transferred and expressed the sodium-iodide symporter (NIS) gene into prostate, colon, and breast cancer cells using adenoviral vectors. To improve vector efficiency we have developed a conditionally replicating adenovirus (CRAd) in which the E1a gene is driven by the prostate specific promoter, Probasin and the cassette RSV promoter-human NIScDNA-bGH polyA replaces the E3 region (CRAd Ad5PB_RSV-NIS). In vitro infection of the prostate cancer cell line LnCaP resulted in virus replication, cytolysis, and release of infective viral particles. Conversely, the prostate cancer cell line PC-3 (androgen receptor negative) and the pancreatic cancer cell line Panc-1 were refractory to the viral cytopathic effect and did not support viral replication. Radioiodine uptake was readily measurable in LnCaP cells infected with Ad5PB_RSV-NIS 24 hours post-infection, confirming NIS expression. In vivo, LnCaP tumor xenografts in nude mice injected intratumorally with Ad5PB_RSV_NIS CRAd expressed NIS actively as evidenced by 99Tc uptake and imaging. Administration of therapeutic 131I after virus injection significantly increased survival probability in mice carrying xenografted LnCaP tumors compared to virotherapy alone. The data indicate that Ad5PB_RSV_NIS replication is stringently restricted to androgen positive prostate cancer cells and results in effective NIS expression and uptake of radioiodine. This construct may allow multimodal therapy, combining cytolytic virotherapy with radioiodine treatment, to be developed as a novel treatment for prostate cancer.
prostate cancer; probasin; adenovirus; sodium iodide symporter; virotherapy; gene therapy
We studied the concordance of transgene expression in the transplanted heart using bicistronic adenoviral vector coding for a transgene of interest (human carcinoembryonic antigen: hCEA - beta human chorionic gonadotropin: βhCG) and for a marker imaging transgene (human sodium iodide symporter: hNIS).
Inbred Lewis rats were used for syngeneic heterotopic cardiac transplantation. Donor rat hearts were perfused ex vivo for 30 minutes prior to transplantation with University of Wisconsin (UW) solution (n=3), with 109 pfu/ml of adenovirus expressing hNIS (Ad-NIS; n=6), hNIS-hCEA (Ad-NIS-CEA; n=6) and hNIS-βhCG (Ad-NIS-CG; n=6). On post-operative day (POD) 5, 10, 15 all animals underwent micro-SPECT/CT imaging of the donor hearts after tail vein injection of 1000 μCi 123I and blood sample collection for hCEA and βhCG quantification.
Significantly higher image intensity was noted in the hearts perfused with Ad-NIS (1.1±0.2; 0.9±0.07), Ad-NIS-CEA (1.2±0.3; 0.9±0.1) and Ad-NIS-CG (1.1±0.1; 0.9±0.1) compared to UW group (0.44±0.03; 0.47±0.06) on POD 5 and 10 (p<0.05). Serum levels of hCEA and βhCG increased in animals showing high cardiac 123I uptake, but not in those with lower uptake. Above this threshold, image intensities correlated well with serum levels of hCEA and βhCG (R2=0.99 and R2=0.96 respectively).
These data demonstrate that hNIS is an excellent reporter gene for the transplanted heart. The expression level of hNIS can be accurately and non-invasively monitored by serial radioisotopic single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) imaging. High concordance has been demonstrated between imaging and soluble marker peptides at the maximum transgene expression on POD 5.
Gene therapy; heart transplantation; sodium iodide symporter (NIS); single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT); molecular imaging
Expression cassettes can be inserted at several positions into recombinant adenoviral genomes but the implications of this choice for transgene expression level have not been determined. Knowledge of the relative expression levels of transgenes inserted at different sites in the adenoviral genome is of particular significance for transgene expression monitoring approaches that rely on the concordant expression of a marker transgene inserted elsewhere in the viral genome.
Three expression cassettes, each comprising a cytomegalovirus promoter driving one of three marker peptides [serum carcinoembryonic antigen (sCEA), beta subunit of human chorionic gonadotropin (βhCG) or human sodium iodide symporter (hNIS)], were inserted into E1, E3 or E4 cloning sites in a recombinant adenoviral vector backbone. High titer stocks of bicistronic adenoviral vectors coding for combinations of marker peptides were prepared. A panel of human cells of various lineages was infected with the vectors and expression ratios of the transgene-encoded proteins were analysed. Serum levels of the soluble proteins and hepatic uptake of radioactive iodine were also compared in vivo in nude rats after intravenous vector infusion.
High concordance of expression between the inserted transgenes was observed in all of the bicistronic vectors irrespective of whether the expression cassettes were placed in the E1, E3 or E4 regions. Concordance was maintained across multiple cell lineages. In vivo, in athymic rats, blood and urine levels of βhCG were highly concordant with serum levels of sCEA at all timepoints after intravenous infusion of the bicistronic vectors encoding both of these soluble markers. Hepatic radioiodine uptake was concordant with serum CEA concentration in mice infused with a bicistronic vector expressing CEA and NIS.
The expression level of a given transgene in an adenoviral vector genome can be accurately and quantitatively inferred from the expression of a marker protein encoded by a second transgene inserted elsewhere in the vector genome.
adenoviral vector; βhCG; CEA; gene expression concordance; sodium iodide symporter
To monitor noninvasively potentially therapeutic adenoviruses for cancer, we have developed a methodology based on the sodium iodide symporter (NIS). Men with clinically localized prostate cancer were administered an intraprostatic injection of a replication-competent adenovirus, Ad5-yCD/utTKSR39rep-hNIS, armed with two suicide genes and the NIS gene. NIS gene expression (GE) was imaged noninvasively by uptake of Na99mTcO4 in infected cells using single photon emission–computed tomography (SPECT). The investigational therapy was safe with 98% of the adverse events being grade 1 or 2. GE was detected in the prostate in seven of nine (78%) patients at 1 × 1012 virus particles (vp) but not at 1 × 1011 vp. Volume and total amount of GE was quantified by SPECT. Following injection of 1 × 1012 vp in 1 cm3, GE volume (GEV) increased to a mean of 6.6 cm3, representing, on average, 18% of the total prostate volume. GEV and intensity peaked 1–2 days after the adenovirus injection and was detectable in the prostate up to 7 days. Whole-body imaging demonstrated intraprostatic gene expression, and there was no evidence of extraprostatic dissemination of the adenovirus by SPECT imaging. The results demonstrate that noninvasive imaging of adenovirus-mediated gene therapy in humans is feasible and safe.
Radioiodine is efficiently concentrated by tissues expressing the human sodium iodide symporter (hNIS). The aim of this study was to analyze the effects of 131I on acute cardiac allograft rejection after hNIS ex-vivo gene transfer in a rat model of cardiac allotransplantation.
Hearts from Brown Norway rats were perfused ex vivo either with UW solution (n=9) or with UW solution containing 1 × 109 pfu/ml adenovirus 5+NIS (Ad-NIS) (n=18). Donor hearts were transplanted heterotopically into the abdomen of Lewis rats and recipients were treated on post operative day 3 with either 15,000 μCi 131I or saline. The hearts were explanted when no longer beating and were evaluated histologically for evidence of rejection and other changes.
Grafts perfused with the Ad-NIS vector survived significantly longer in recipients injected with 131I (11.3±1.9 days) compared to control animals not treated with 131I (5.7±0.65 days; p<0.001). 131I treatment did not prolong graft survival in recipients of hearts that were not perfused with Ad-NIS (5.5±1.0 vs 5.3±0.8 days). In Ad-NIS 131I treated transplants, the level of myocardial damage on day 6 after surgery, when control hearts rejected, was significantly lower (60.8±28.0 vs 99.7±0.8; p<0.05).
This study indicates that 131I, after NIS gene transfer, can effectively prolong cardiac allograft survival. To our knowledge, this is the first report of the use of NIS-targeted 131I therapy in cardiac transplantation. Further studies are required to determine the mechanism of this effect and its potential for clinical application.
Gene therapy; heart transplantation; sodium iodide symporter (NIS); single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT); molecular imaging; Iodine 131
Radioiodine whole-body scintigraphy (WBS), which takes advantage of the high avidity of radioiodine in the functioning thyroid tissues, has been used for detection of differentiated thyroid cancer. Radioiodine is a sensitive marker for detection of thyroid cancer; however, radioiodine uptake is not specific for thyroid tissue. It can also be seen in healthy tissue, including thymus, breast, liver, and gastrointestinal tract, or in benign diseases, such as cysts and inflammation, or in a variety of benign and malignant non-thyroidal tumors, which could be mistaken for thyroid cancer. In order to accurately interpret radioiodine scintigraphy results, one must be familiar with the normal physiologic distribution of the tracer and frequently encountered physiologic and pathologic variants of radioiodine uptake. This article will provide a systematic overview of potential false-positive uptake of radioiodine in the whole body and illustrate how such unexpected findings can be appropriately evaluated.
Differentiated thyroid cancer; radioiodine; I-131; I-123; whole-body scintigraphy; false-positive; physiologic uptake; pathologic uptake
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have been implicated to play a central role in the development of drug resistance in a variety of malignancies. However, many studies were conducted at the in vitro level and could not provide the in vivo information on the functions of miRNAs in the anticancer drug resistance. Here, we introduced a dual reporter gene imaging system for noninvasively monitoring the kinetic expression of miRNA-16 during chemoresistance in gastric cancer both in vitro and in vivo. Human sodium iodide symporter (hNIS) and firefly luciferase (Fluc) genes were linked to form hNIS/Fluc double fusion reporter gene and then generate human gastric cancer cell line NF-3xmir16 and its multidrug resistance cell line NF-3xmir16/VCR. Radioiodide uptake and Fluc luminescence signals in vitro correlated well with viable cell numbers. The luciferase activities and radioiodide uptake in NF-3xmir16 cells were remarkably repressed by exogenous or endogenous miRNA-16. The NF-3xmir16/VCR cells showed a significant increase of 131I uptake and luminescence intensity compared to NF-3xmir16 cells. The radioactivity from in vivo
99mTc-pertechnetate imaging and the intensity from bioluminescence imaging were also increased in NF-3xmir16/VCR compared with that in NF-3xmir16 tumor xenografts. Furthermore, using this reporter gene system, we found that etoposide (VP-16) and 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) activated miRNA-16 expression in vitro and in vivo, and the upregulation of miRNA-16 is p38MAPK dependent but NF-κB independent. This dual imaging reporter gene may be served as a novel tool for in vivo imaging of microRNAs in the chemoresistance of cancers, as well as for early detection and diagnosis in clinic.
Expression of the sodium iodide symporter (NIS) is required for efficient iodide uptake in thyroid and lactating breast. Since most differentiated thyroid cancer expresses NIS, β-emitting radioactive iodide is routinely utilized to target remnant thyroid cancer and metastasis after total thyroidectomy. Stimulation of NIS expression by high levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone is necessary to achieve radioiodide uptake into thyroid cancer that is sufficient for therapy. The majority of breast cancer also expresses NIS, but at a low level insufficient for radioiodine therapy. Retinoic acid is a potent NIS inducer in some breast cancer cells. NIS is also modestly expressed in some non-thyroidal tissues, including salivary glands, lacrimal glands and stomach. Selective induction of iodide uptake is required to target tumors with radioiodide. Iodide uptake in mammalian cells is dependent on the level of NIS gene expression, but also successful translocation of NIS to the cell membrane and correct insertion. The regulatory mechanisms of NIS expression and membrane insertion are regulated by signal transduction pathways that differ by tissue. Differential regulation of NIS confers selective induction of functional NIS in thyroid cancer cells, as well as some breast cancer cells, leading to more efficient radioiodide therapy for thyroid cancer and a new strategy for breast cancer therapy. The potential for systemic radioiodide treatment of a range of other cancers, that do not express endogenous NIS, has been demonstrated in models with tumor-selective introduction of exogenous NIS.
Sodium iodide symporter; thyroid cancer; breast cancer; Transcriptional regulation; Posttranslational regulation