We investigated the potential benefits of combining adenoviral vector mediated in situ interleukin-12 (AdmIL-12) gene therapy with radiation therapy (XRT) to enhance therapeutic efficacy. In a metastatic mouse prostate cancer cell line, 178-2 BMA, AdmIL-12+XRT demonstrated enhanced therapeutic activities in vitro as determined by clonogenic survival, apoptosis, and mIL-12 levels. At the molecular level, increased expression of tumor necrosis factor-α mRNA was specific for the combined therapy. In a subcutaneous 178-2 BMA in vivo model, the combination of AdmIL-12+XRT produced statistically significant tumor growth suppression compared to control vector Adβgal, Adβgal XRT, or AdmIL-12 as monotherapy. In addition, significant prolongation of survival was demonstrated for the combination of AdmIL-12+XRT. The combination of AdmIL-12+XRT significantly suppressed both spontaneous and pre-established lung metastases, and led to a prolonged elevation of serum IL-12 and significantly increased natural killer (NK) activities. Importantly, in vivo depletion of NK cells resulted in significant attenuation of the antimetastatic activities of AdmIL-12 alone or AdmIL-12+XRT. These combined effects suggest that AdIL-12 gene therapy together with radiotherapy may achieve maximal tumor control (both local and systemic) in selected prostate cancer patients via radio-gene therapy induced local cytotoxicity and local and systemic antitumor immunity.
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