A survivin-driven tumour-activatable minicircle system for prostate cancer theranostics [article]

TianDuo Wang, Yuanxin Chen, David Goodale, Alison L Allan, John A Ronald
2020 bioRxiv   pre-print
Gene vectors driven by tumour-specific promoters to express reporter genes and therapeutic genes are an emerging approach for improved cancer diagnosis and treatment. Minicircles (MCs) are shortened plasmids stripped of prokaryotic sequences and have potency and safety characteristics that are beneficial for clinical translation. We previously developed survivin-driven, tumour-activatable MCs for cancer detection via a secreted blood reporter assay. Here we present a novel theranostic system
more » ... prostate cancer featuring a pair of survivin-driven MCs, combining selective detection of aggressive tumours via a urinary reporter test and subsequent tumour treatment with gene-directed enzyme prodrug therapy. Methods: We engineered both diagnostic and therapeutic survivin-driven MCs expressing Gaussia luciferase, a secreted reporter that is detectable in the urine, and cytosine deaminase:uracil phosphoribosyltransferase fusion, respectively. Diagnostic MCs were evaluated in mice carrying orthotopic prostate tumours with varying survivin levels, measuring reporter activity in serial urine samples. Therapeutic MCs were evaluated in mice receiving prodrug using bioluminescence imaging to assess cancer cell viability over time. Results: Diagnostic MCs revealed mice with aggressive prostate tumours exhibited significantly higher urine reporter activity than mice with non-aggressive tumours and tumour-free mice. Combined with 5-fluorocytosine prodrug treatment, therapeutic MCs resulted in reduced bioluminescence signal in mice with aggressive prostate tumours compared to control mice. Conclusion: Sequential use of these MCs may be used to first identify patients carrying aggressive prostate cancer by a urinary reporter test, followed by stringent treatment in stratified individuals identified to have high-risk lesions. This work serves to highlight tumour-activatable MCs as a viable platform for development of gene-based tumour-activatable theranostics.
doi:10.1101/2020.06.25.171645 fatcat:wnow3sihvrhvvkvkiuverbpxz4