A novel suicide gene therapy for the treatment of p16Ink4a-overexpressing tumors.
Published Web Locationhttp://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.23752
p16Ink4a is a potent cell cycle inhibitor engaged to support cell cycle arrest during cellular senescence. However, in tumors carrying mutations in key downstream effectors, p16Ink4a is highly expressed but fails to block cell proliferation. p16Ink4a-overexpressing tumor cells are highly aggressive and no targeted interventions are available. To study the effect of specific therapies, we generated murine sarcomas by overexpressing RAS oncogene and disrupting p53 activity. We observed that p16Ink4a-overxpressing murine sarcoma cells were resistant to ABT-263 and ABT-737, anti-cancer small molecules previously shown to eliminate p16Ink4a+ senescent cells. We then generated sarcoma cells carrying a suicide and reporter gene, called 3MR, under the regulation of the full p16Ink4a promoter. Activation of the suicide efficiently killed p16Ink4a-overxpressing sarcoma cells in vitro and in vivo. These data suggest that suicide gene therapy could represent an important therapeutic approach for the treatment of highly aggressive p16Ink4a+ cancers.