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Original communication| Volume 135, ISSUE 4, P427-436, April 2004

Interferon-β gene therapy improves survival in an immunocompetent mouse model of carcinomatosis

      Abstract

      Background

      Interferon-β (IFNβ) has multiple antitumor effects; however, its use has been limited by its short half-life in vivo. This limitation may be overcome by IFNβ gene therapy. We evaluated adenovirus-IFNβ therapy in an immunocompetent mouse model of carcinomatosis.

      Methods

      Mice that were treated intraperitoneally 5 days after tumor (mouse ovarian teratoma) inoculation with an adenoviral vector that contains the mouse IFNβ gene (Ad-IFNβ), control adenoviral vector or saline solution. Mice were monitored for multiple outcome measures and toxicity. To determine the mechanism of antitumor effect, flow cytometry of ascites fluid was performed to differentiate immune cell populations. Nitric oxide in ascites fluid was measured with an electrochemical microsensor.

      Results

      Tumor burden was decreased and survival was prolonged (P<.001) in the Ad-IFNβ group after a single treatment of 3.3×108 plaque-forming units, with acceptable toxicity. By flow cytometry, an increase in the proportion of natural killer cells (from less than 2% of the gated population to more than 8%; P = .024) and an increase in macrophages were seen in the treated animals. Although there was a trend toward increased levels of nitric oxide in Ad-IFNβ treatment groups, it was not statistically significant.

      Conclusion

      IFNβ gene therapy results in decreased tumor burden and improved survival in an aggressive, immunocompetent mouse model of carcinomatosis. This therapy warrants further evaluation as a treatment for disseminated peritoneal cancer.
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