Efficient DNA electrotransfer into tumors

Bioelectrochemistry. 2000 Sep;52(1):83-90. doi: 10.1016/s0302-4598(00)00087-8.


DNA transfer to tumor cells of antiproliferative genes or of genes coding for immunomodulatory or antiangiogenic products is a promising approach for cancer therapy. However, intratumoral injection of plasmid DNA either naked or associated to chemical vectors results in a low level of gene expression. Recently, electrically mediated gene transfer has been described to strongly increase foreign gene expression in various tissues. We confirm and extend these observations using long duration electric pulses for several murine and human tumor models, using a reporter gene encoding for luciferase. After plasmid intratumoral injection, eight electric pulses of 20-ms duration were delivered at a frequency of 1 Hz through two flat parallel stainless steel electrodes placed at each side of the tumor. Optimal gene transfer was obtained using a voltage-to-distance ratio comprising between 400 and 600 V/cm. Two days after electrotransfer, we obtained a 10- to 1200-fold increase in gene expression over the naked DNA injection alone, leading to the expression of 0.6 to 300 ng luciferase per tumor. Moreover, histological results using beta-Gal reporter gene injected in H1299 tumor indicate that electrotransfer leads to a substantial increase in the percentage of beta-Gal positive cells. These results confirm the wide potential of electrotransfer for gene therapy in cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • DNA / administration & dosage*
  • Genes, Reporter
  • Humans
  • Luciferases / genetics
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • beta-Galactosidase / genetics


  • DNA
  • Luciferases
  • beta-Galactosidase