Adenovirus-mediated cancer gene therapy and virotherapy (Review)

Int J Mol Med. 2010 Jan;25(1):3-10.


Gene therapy and virotherapy are among the approaches currently used to treat malignant tumors. Gene therapy and virotherapy use a specific therapeutic gene that causes death in cancer cells. In early attempts at gene therapy, therapeutic genes were driven by ubiquitous promoters such as the CMV promoter, which induce non-specific toxicity to normal cells and tissues in addition to the cancer cells. Recently, novel cancer- and/or tissue-specific promoter systems have been developed to target cancer cells but not normal cells including stem cells. In this review, we describe cancer and/or tissue-specific gene therapy systems for the treatment of cancer. In particular, we will discuss three systems for gene therapy and virotherapy: i) tissue-specific promoter systems, ii) cancer-specific promoter systems, and iii) oncolytic virotherapy. We will also discuss the major challenges of cancer-targeting vector systems and future directions in this area.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenoviridae / genetics*
  • Animals
  • Genetic Therapy* / methods
  • Genetic Therapy* / trends
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Oncolytic Virotherapy* / methods
  • Oncolytic Virotherapy* / trends
  • Oncolytic Viruses / genetics
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic