Transcriptional Targeting of Tumor Endothelial Cells for Gene Therapy

Adv Drug Deliv Rev. 2009 Jul 2;61(7-8):542-53. doi: 10.1016/j.addr.2009.02.006. Epub 2009 Apr 23.


It is well known that angiogenesis plays a critical role in the pathobiology of tumors. Recent clinical trials have shown that inhibition of angiogenesis can be an effective therapeutic strategy for patients with cancer. However, one of the outstanding issues in anti-angiogenic treatment for cancer is the development of toxicities related to off-target effects of drugs. Transcriptional targeting of tumor endothelial cells involves the use of specific promoters for selective expression of therapeutic genes in the endothelial cells lining the blood vessels of tumors. Recently, several genes that are expressed specifically in tumor-associated endothelial cells have been identified and characterized. These discoveries have enhanced the prospectus of transcriptionally targeting tumor endothelial cells for cancer gene therapy. In this manuscript, we review the promoters, vectors, and therapeutic genes that have been used for transcriptional targeting of tumor endothelial cells, and discuss the prospects of such approaches for cancer gene therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Endothelial Cells / physiology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / physiology
  • Genes, Transgenic, Suicide
  • Genetic Therapy*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Transcription, Genetic / genetics*