Co-treatment with arsenic trioxide and ganciclovir reduces tumor volume in a murine xenograft model of nasopharyngeal carcinoma

Virol J. 2013 May 16;10:152. doi: 10.1186/1743-422X-10-152.


We have previously shown that disruption of promyelocytic leukemia nuclear bodies (PML NBs) is sufficient to activate the EBV lytic cycle thus making infected cells susceptible to ganciclovir (GCV) mediated killing in vitro. Here we show that co-administration of GCV and arsenic trioxide (ATO), a PML NB disruptor, reduces tumor volume in a xenograft model of nasopharyngeal carcinoma utilizing CNE1 cells. When administered at pharmacologic levels, both GCV and ATO reduced tumor growth while co-treatment with GCV + ATO resulted in a diminution of tumor volume. Treatment with GCV or ATO individually resulted in an increased number of apoptotic cells while co-treatment with GCV + ATO synergistically induced apoptosis. Treatment with ATO or co-treatment with GCV + ATO resulted in expression of EBV lytic proteins. These data suggest that co-treatment with GCV + ATO may provide an effective treatment for nasopharyngeal carcinoma patients.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Antiviral Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Arsenic Trioxide
  • Arsenicals / administration & dosage*
  • Carcinoma
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Drug Therapy, Combination / methods
  • Ganciclovir / administration & dosage*
  • Heterografts / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma
  • Nasopharyngeal Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Oxides / administration & dosage*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Tumor Burden / drug effects


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Antiviral Agents
  • Arsenicals
  • Oxides
  • Ganciclovir
  • Arsenic Trioxide