The Journal of clinical investigation

Breast cancer selective gene expression and therapy mediated by recombinant adenoviruses containing the DF3/MUC1 promoter.

PMID 8675647


The high molecular weight mucin-like glycoprotein, DF3 (MUC1), is overexpressed in the majority of human breast cancers. Here we demonstrate that replication defective recombinant adenoviral vectors, containing the DF3 promoter (bp -725 to +31), can be used to express beta-galactosidase (Ad.DF3-betagal) and the herpes simplex virus thymidine kinase (HSV-tk) gene (Ad.Df3-tk) in DF3 positive breast carcinoma cell lines. In vivo experiments using breast tumor implants in nude mice injected with Ad.DF3-betagal demonstrated that expression of the beta-galactosidase gene is limited to DF3-positive breast cancer xenografts. Moreover, in an intraperitoneal breast cancer metastases model, we show that i.p. injection of Ad.DF3-tk followed by GCV treatment results in inhibition of tumor growth. These results demonstrate that utilization of the DF3 promoter in an adenoviral vector can confer selective expression of heterologous genes in breast cancer cells in vitro and in vivo.