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Tseng A.W.-S.,Childrens Hospital | Akerstrom V.,Childrens Hospital | Akerstrom V.,Laboratory of Diana Helis Henry Medical Research Foundation | Chen C.,Childrens Hospital | And 6 more authors.
International Journal of Oncology | Year: 2016

Accurate detection of neuroendocrine (NE) tumors is critically important for better prognosis and treatment outcomes in patients. To demonstrate the efficacy of using an adenoviral vector for the detection of NE tumors, we have constructed a pair of adenoviral vectors which, in combination, can conditionally replicate and release Gaussia luciferase into the circulation after infecting the NE tumors. The expression of these two vectors is regulated upstream by an INSM1-promoter (insulinoma-associated-1) that is specifically active in NE tumors and developing NE tissues, but silenced in normal adult tissues. In order to retain the tumorspecificity of the INSM1 promoter, we have modified the promoter using the core insulator sequence from the chicken globin HS4 insulator and the neuronal restrictive silencing element (NRSE). This modified INSM1-promoter can retain NE tumor specificity in an adenoviral construct while driving a mutated adenovirus E1A gene (24E1A), the Metridia, or Gaussia luciferase gene. The in vitro cell line and mouse xenograft human tumor studies revealed the NE specificity of the INSM1-promoter in NE lung cancer, neuroblastoma, medulloblastoma, retinoblastoma, and insulinoma. When we combined the INSM1-promoter driven Gaussia luciferase with 24E1A, the co-infected NE tumor secreted higher levels of Gaussia luciferase as compared to the INSM1p-Gaussia virus alone. In a mouse subcutaneous xenograft tumor model, the combination viruses secreted detectable level of Gaussia luciferase after infecting an INSM1-positive NE lung tumor for 12 days. Therefore, the INSM1-promoter specific conditional replicating adenovirus represents a sensitive diagnostic tool to aid clinicians in the detection of NE tumors.

Chen C.,Childrens Hospital | Chen C.,Laboratory of Diana Helis Henry Medical Research Foundation | Breslin M.B.,Childrens Hospital | Breslin M.B.,Laboratory of Diana Helis Henry Medical Research Foundation | And 4 more authors.
Oncotarget | Year: 2015

Insulinoma associated-1 (IA-1/INSM1) gene is exclusively expressed during early embryonic development, but has been found to be re-expressed at high levels in neuroendocrine tumors including neuroblastoma. Using over-expression and knockdown experiments in neuroblastoma cells, we showed that INSM1 is critical for cell proliferation, BME-coated invasion, and soft agar colony formation. Here, we identified INSM1 as a novel target gene activated by N-myc in N-myc amplified neuroblastoma cells. The Sonic hedgehog signaling pathway induced INSM1 by increasing N-myc expression. INSM1 activated PI3K/AKT/GSK3β pathways to suppress N-myc phosphorylation (Thr-58) and inhibited degradation of N-myc. Inversely, N-myc protein bound to the E2-box region of the INSM1 promoter and activated INSM1 expression. The invasion assay and the xenograft nude mouse tumor model revealed that the INSM1 factor facilitated growth and oncogenesis of neuroblastoma. The current data supports our hypothesis that a positive-feedback loop of sonic hedgehog signaling induced INSM1 through N-myc and INSM1 enhanced N-myc stability contributing to the transformation of human neuroblastoma.

Tseng A.W.-S.,Childrens Hospital | Tseng A.W.-S.,Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center | Chen C.,Childrens Hospital | Chen C.,Laboratory of Diana Helis Henry Medical Research Foundation | And 6 more authors.
Cellular Oncology | Year: 2016

Background: Insulinomas are the most common type of neuroendocrine (NE) pancreatic islet tumors. Patients with insulinomas may develop complications associated with hyperinsulinemia. To increase the treatment options for insulinoma patients, we have tested a conditionally replicating adenovirus that has been engineered in such a way that it can specifically express therapeutic genes in NE tumors. Methods: We used a promoter-specific adenoviral vector delivery system that is regulated by an INSM1 (insulinoma-associated-1) promoter, which is silent in normal adult tissues but active in developing NE cells and tumors. Through a series of modifications, using an insulator (HS4) and neuron-restrictive silencer elements (NRSEs), an oncolytic adenoviral vector was generated that retains tumor specificity and drives the expression of a mutated adenovirus E1A gene (Δ24E1A) and the herpes simplex virus thymidine kinase (HSV-tk) gene. The efficacy of this vector was tested in insulinoma-derived MIN, RIN, βTC-1 and pancreatic (Panc-1) cells using in vitro cell survival and in vivo tumor growth assays. Results: Using in vitro insulinoma-derived cell lines and an in vivo subcutaneous mouse tumor model we found that the INSM1 promoter-driven viruses were able to replicate specifically in INSM1-positive cells. INSM1-specific HSV-tk expression in combination with ganciclovir treatment resulted in dose-dependent tumor cell killing, leaving INSM1-negative cells unharmed. When we combined the INSM1-promoter driven HSV-tk with Δ24E1A and INSM1p-HSV-tk (K5) viruses, we found that the co-infected insulinoma-derived cells expressed higher levels of HSV-tk and exhibited more efficient tumor suppression than cells infected with INSM1p-HSV-tk virus alone. Conclusions: INSM1 promoter-driven conditionally replicating adenoviruses may serve as a new tool for the treatment of insulinoma and may provide clinicians with additional options to combat this disease. © 2016 International Society for Cellular Oncology

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