Adenovirus-mediated transfer of the PTEN gene inhibits human colorectal cancer growth in vitro and in vivo.

Research paper by Y Y Saito, X X Swanson, A M AM Mhashilkar, Y Y Oida, R R Schrock, C D CD Branch, S S Chada, L L Zumstein, R R Ramesh

Indexed on: 07 Oct '03Published on: 07 Oct '03Published in: Gene Therapy


The tumor-suppressor gene PTEN encodes a multifunctional phosphatase that is mutated in a variety of human cancers. PTEN inhibits the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase pathway and downstream functions, including activation of Akt/protein kinase B (PKB), cell survival, and cell proliferation in tumor cells carrying mutant- or deletion-type PTEN. In such tumor cells, enforced expression of PTEN decreases cell proliferation through cell-cycle arrest at G1 phase accompanied, in some cases, by induction of apoptosis. More recently, the tumor-suppressive effect of PTEN has been reported in ovarian and thyroid tumors that are wild type for PTEN. In the present study, we examined the tumor-suppressive effect of PTEN in human colorectal cancer cells that are wild type for PTEN. Adenoviral-mediated transfer of PTEN (Ad-PTEN) suppressed cell growth and induced apoptosis significantly in colorectal cancer cells (DLD-1, HT29, and SW480) carrying wtPTEN than in normal colon fibroblast cells (CCD-18Co) carrying wtPTEN. This suppression was induced through downregulation of the Akt/PKB pathway, dephosphorylation of focal adhesion kinase (FAK) and mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and cell-cycle arrest at the G2/M phase, but not the G1 phase. Furthermore, treatment of human colorectal tumor xenografts (HT-29, and SW480) with Ad-PTEN resulted in significant (P=0.01) suppression of tumor growth. These results indicate that Ad-PTEN exerts its tumor-suppressive effect on colorectal cancer cells through inhibition of cell-cycle progression and induction of cell death. Thus Ad-PTEN may be a potential therapeutic for treatment of colorectal cancers.