PURPOSE - Preclinical studies have demonstrated that the adenovirus type 5 E1A gene is associated with antitumor activities by transcriptional repression of HER-2/neu and induction of apoptosis. Indeed, E1A gene therapy is known to induce regression of HER-2/neu-overexpressing breast and ovarian cancers in nude mice. Therefore, we evaluated the feasibility of intracavitary injection of E1A gene complexed with DC-Chol cationic liposome (DCC-E1A) in patients with both HER-2/neu-overexpressing and low HER-2/neu-expressing breast and ovarian cancers in a phase I clinical trial.
PATIENTS AND METHODS - An E1A gene complexed with DCC-E1A cationic liposome was injected once a week into the thoracic or peritoneal cavity of 18 patients with advanced cancer of the breast (n = 6) or ovary (n = 12).
RESULTS - E1A gene expression in tumor cells was detected by immunohistochemical staining and reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction. This E1A gene expression was accompanied by HER-2/neu downregulation, increased apoptosis, and reduced proliferation. The most common treatment-related toxicities were fever, nausea, vomiting, and/or discomfort at the injection sites.
CONCLUSION - These results argue for the feasibility of intracavitary DCC-E1A administration, provide a clear proof of preclinical concept, and warrant phase II trials to determine the antitumor activity of the E1A gene.