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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Treatment of chemotherapy-resistant human ovarian cancer xenografts in C.B-17/SCID mice by intraperitoneal administration of Clostridium perfringens enterotoxin.

Ovarian cancer remains the most lethal gynecologic malignancy in the United States. Although many patients with advanced-stage disease initially respond to standard combinations of surgical and cytotoxic therapy, nearly 90% develop recurrence and inevitably die from the development of chemotherapy-resistant disease. The discovery of novel and effective therapy against chemotherapy-resistant/recurrent ovarian cancer remains a high priority. Using expression profiling, we and others have recently found claudin-3 and claudin-4 genes to be highly expressed in ovarian cancer. Because these tight junction proteins have been described as the low- and high-affinity receptors, respectively, for the cytotoxic Clostridium perfringens enterotoxin (CPE), in this study we investigated the level of expression of claudin-3 and/or claudin-4 in chemotherapy-naive and chemotherapy-resistant primary human ovarian cancers as well as their sensitivity to CPE treatment in vitro. We report that 100% (17 of 17) of the primary ovarian tumors tested overexpress one or both CPE receptors by quantitative reverse transcription-PCR. All ovarian tumors showed a dose-dependent cytotoxic effect to CPE in vitro. Importantly, chemotherapy-resistant/recurrent ovarian tumors were found to express claudin-3 and claudin-4 genes at significantly higher levels when compared with chemotherapy-naive ovarian cancers. All primary ovarian tumors tested, regardless of their resistance to chemotherapeutic agents, died within 24 hours to the exposure to 3.3 microg/mL CPE in vitro. In addition, we have studied the in vivo efficacy of i.p. CPE therapy in SCID mouse xenografts in a highly relevant clinical model of chemotherapy-resistant freshly explanted human ovarian cancer (i.e., OVA-1). Multiple i.p. administration of sublethal doses of CPE every 3 days significantly inhibited tumor growth in 100% of mice harboring 1 week established OVA-1. Repeated i.p. doses of CPE also had a significant inhibitory effect on tumor progression with extended survival of animals harboring large ovarian tumor burdens (i.e., 4-week established OVA-1). Our findings suggest that CPE may have potential as a novel treatment for chemotherapy-resistant/recurrent ovarian cancer.[1]


  1. Treatment of chemotherapy-resistant human ovarian cancer xenografts in C.B-17/SCID mice by intraperitoneal administration of Clostridium perfringens enterotoxin. Santin, A.D., Cané, S., Bellone, S., Palmieri, M., Siegel, E.R., Thomas, M., Roman, J.J., Burnett, A., Cannon, M.J., Pecorelli, S. Cancer Res. (2005) [Pubmed]
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