Adenoviral-mediated herpes simplex virus-thymidine kinase gene transfer in vivo for treatment of experimental human melanoma

Bernd Bonnekoh, David A. Greenhalgh, Donnie S. Bundman, Ken Ichiro Kosai, Shu Hsia Chen, Milton J. Finegold, Thomas Krieg, Savio L C Woo, Dennis R. Roop

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


To assess the efficacy of an in vivo adenoviral-mediated cytotoxic gene therapy, human melanomas were established in nude mice and transduced with herpes simplex virus-thymidine kinase (tk) followed by treatment with ganciclovir (GCV). In initial experiments, adenovirus (adv) containing the β-galactosidase reporter gene was employed to determine melanoma cell infectivity in vitro. In comparison to murine melanoma cell lines B16 and K1735-M2, human A375-SM cells exhibited up to a 10-fold greater susceptibility to adenoviral transduction, similar to the degree of infectivity found for human epidermal HaCaT cells. In addition, human A375-SM melanoma cells exhibited a greater sensitivity in vitro to the cytotoxic effects of transduction with tk-adv and treatment with GCV, which was mediated by a strong bystander effect. In vivo, intratumoral injection of relatively large human melanomas (160 mm3) with 1.2 x 109 pfu of tk-adv, followed by intraperitoneal GCV treatment (60 mg/kg twice daily) over 4 days, typically resulted in a 50% reduction in melanoma growth rate compared to mock or untreated controls. Moreover, histometrical analysis employing a rigorous computerized imaging system revealed that the residual viable tumor area in the tk-adv/GCV-treated group was only one-fifth that of solvent controls. These data show that adv is a highly efficient in vivo gene delivery system to treat experimental human melanomas. In comparison to a previous murine melanoma study, human melanomas appeared to exhibit a greater sensitivity to this cytotoxic treatment in vivo, which may hold significant promise for development of effective gene therapy modalities to treat melanoma in humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1163-1168
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Investigative Dermatology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1996


  • adenovirus
  • cancer
  • gene therapy
  • nude mice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Dermatology
  • Cell Biology


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