Targeted killing of migrating glioma cells by injection of HTK-modified glioma cells

Hum Gene Ther. 1997 Mar 1;8(4):381-91. doi: 10.1089/hum.1997.8.4-381.


The "bystander effect" describes the killing of nearby unmodified cells and herpes simplex thymidine kinase (HTK)-transduced cells by ganciclovir (GCV) treatment. This effect is thought to be produced by contact between these cells. In this study, we showed that injected glioma cells migrated rapidly to a place distant from the injection point whereas injected virus-producing fibroblast cells did not migrate in a murine brain model. Moreover, the initially injected glioma cells and glioma cells injected at a later time mix very well, even at a place distant from the injection point. This suggested that glioma cells migrating after injection could be targeted by HTK-modified glioma cells introduced in a second injection and be killed together by GCV treatment. Therefore, we injected HTK-modified glioma cells 3 days after injection of wild glioma cells to investigate whether wild-type glioma cells that migrated to a place distant from the injection point could also be killed by GCV treatment. Tumor growth was suppressed after the GCV treatment. Suppression of tumor growth of wild glioma cells is not solely mediated by the immune response, which may be triggered by the killing of HTK-modified glioma cells with GCV, because inoculation of HTK-modified glioma to the contralateral side followed by GCV treatment did not cure the initial wild glioma. Moreover, the migration of the second inoculum of glioma cells is necessary for effective killing, because early administration of GCV resulted in insufficient killing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Brain Neoplasms / enzymology
  • Brain Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Brain Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Cell Communication
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Female
  • Ganciclovir / therapeutic use*
  • Genetic Therapy / methods*
  • Genetic Vectors
  • Glioma / enzymology
  • Glioma / physiopathology
  • Glioma / secondary
  • Glioma / therapy*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C3H
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Thymidine Kinase / genetics*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • Viral Proteins / genetics*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Antiviral Agents
  • Viral Proteins
  • Thymidine Kinase
  • Ganciclovir