Use of suicide genes for cancer gene therapy: study of the different approaches

Expert Opin Biol Ther. 2004 Apr;4(4):519-30. doi: 10.1517/14712598.4.4.519.


Cancer is a disease of high incidence for which conventional treatments are not necessarily effective. There is a need for the development of new alternative strategies. Among them, suicide gene therapy has been developed. In this approach, a gene encoding for a protein toxic under particular conditions is delivered to the target cells, resulting in their death. Although this approach has been in development for a long time, new combinations with other gene therapy areas, such as selective replicative viruses, tumour targeting, or conventional treatments such as chemo- or radiotherapy, are currently being tested. This review will summarise some of these approaches.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adenoviridae / genetics
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Gene Transfer Techniques
  • Genes, Transgenic, Suicide / genetics*
  • Genetic Therapy / methods*
  • Genetic Vectors
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Neoplasms / virology
  • Prodrugs / therapeutic use*
  • Retroviridae / genetics
  • Simplexvirus / genetics
  • Thymidine Kinase / genetics
  • Vaccinia virus / genetics


  • Prodrugs
  • Thymidine Kinase