A midkine promoter-based conditionally replicative adenovirus for treatment of pediatric solid tumors and bone marrow tumor purging

Cancer Res. 2001 Nov 1;61(21):7882-8.


The treatment of advanced neuroblastoma (NB) or Ewing's sarcoma (ES) is one of the major challenges in pediatric oncology. Both malignancies are refractory to conventional therapies and have an extremely poor prognosis. High-dose myeloablative radiochemotherapy with autologous bone marrow or peripheral blood stem cell rescue is one of the most aggressive treatments attempted for these diseases but is often undermined by residual tumor cells contaminating the graft. Thus, in this approach, purging of tumor cells from the graft is key to the prevention of relapse after transplantation. We investigated a novel approach to eliminate tumor cells from the bone marrow or peripheral blood stem cell graft without causing stem cell damage through the use of a conditionally replicative adenovirus (Ad). ES and NB are sensitive to Ad infection, and advanced NBs express a high level of the growth/differentiation factor midkine (MK). We confirmed in this study that ES cell lines (SK-ES-1 and RD-ES) are also sensitive to Ad infection and express high levels of MK. In contrast, CD34+ stem cells are refractory to Ad infection and express very little MK. A conditionally replicative Ad in which the expression of E1 is controlled by the MK promoter achieved good levels of viral replication in NB or ES and induced remarkable tumor cell killing. On the other hand, this virus caused no damage to CD34+ cells even after 3 h of infection at a dose of 1000 multiplicity of infection. We concluded that application of this replication-competent Ad to hematopoietic grafts could be a simple but effective procedure to achieve complete tumor cell purging.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adenoviridae / genetics
  • Adenoviridae / physiology*
  • Adenovirus E1 Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Adenovirus E1 Proteins / genetics
  • Bone Marrow Purging / methods*
  • Carrier Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Carrier Proteins / genetics*
  • Cytokines*
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells
  • Humans
  • Midkine
  • Neuroblastoma / metabolism
  • Neuroblastoma / therapy*
  • Neuroblastoma / virology
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic / genetics*
  • Sarcoma, Ewing / metabolism
  • Sarcoma, Ewing / therapy*
  • Sarcoma, Ewing / virology
  • Virus Replication


  • Adenovirus E1 Proteins
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Cytokines
  • Midkine