Epithelial junctions between tumor cells inhibit the penetration of anti-cancer drugs into tumors. We previously reported on recombinant adenovirus serotype 3 derived protein (JO-1), which triggers transient opening of intercellular junctions in epithelial tumors through binding to desmoglein 2 (DSG2), and enhances the anti-tumor effects of several therapeutic monoclonal antibodies. The goal of this study was to evaluate whether JO-1 co-therapy can also improve the efficacy of chemotherapeutic drugs.
The effect of intravenous application of JO-1 in combination with several chemotherapy drugs including paclitaxel/Taxol™, nanoparticle albumin bound paclitaxel/Abraxane™, liposomal doxorubicin/Doxil™ and irinotecan/Camptosar™, was tested in xenograft models for breast, colon, ovarian, gastric and lung cancer. Because JO-1 does not bind to mouse cells, for safety studies with JO-1, we also used human DSG2 (hDSG2) transgenic mice with tumors that overexpressed human DSG2.
JO-1 increased the efficacy of chemotherapeutic drugs, and in several models overcame drug resistance. JO-1 treatment also allowed for the reduction of drug doses required to achieve anti-tumor effects. Importantly, JO-1 co-admininstration protected normal tissues, including bone marrow and intestinal epithelium, against toxic effects that are normally associated with chemotherapeutic agents. Using the hDSG2 transgenic mouse model, we demonstrated that JO-1 predominantly accumulates in tumors. Except for a mild, transient diarrhea, intravenous injection of JO-1 (2mg/kg) had no critical side effects on other tissues or hematological parameters in hDSG2-transgenic mice.
Our preliminary data suggest that JO-1 co-therapy has the potential to improve the therapeutic outcome of cancer chemotherapy.