This article will provide an overview on the status of cancer gene therapy, focussed specifically on its potential application in nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC). The concepts and strategies behind the design of therapeutic targets such as p53, p16, and death genes will be described. One of the major challenges in cancer gene therapy is tumor-specific expression of therapeutic genes, and a transcriptional targeting approach will be reviewed, in reference to NPC. Specifically, the ability to exploit the presence of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) will be emphasized. The currently available preclinical data on genetic therapeutic approaches for NPC will be reviewed, and an outline for its future role in management of NPC, in conjunction with existing cytotoxic modalities of ionizing radiation and chemotherapy will be provided.
Copyright 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd.