32-Phosphorus selectively delivered by listeria to pancreatic cancer demonstrates a strong therapeutic effect

Dinesh Chandra, Benson Chellakkan Selvanesan, Ziqiang Yuan, Steven K. Libutti, Wade Koba, Amanda Beck, Kun Zhu, Arturo Casadevall, Ekaterina Dadachova, Claudia Gravekamp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Our laboratory has developed a novel delivery platform using an attenuated non-toxic and non-pathogenic bacterium Listeria monocytogenes that infects tumor cells and selectively survives and multiplies in metastases and primary tumors with help of myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC) and immune suppression in the tumor microenvironment (TME). 32P was efficiently incorporated into the Listeria bacteria by starvation of the bacteria in saline, and then cultured in phosphorus-free medium complemented with 32P as a nutrient. Listeria-32P kills tumor cells through both 32P-induced ionizing radiation and Listeria-induced reactive oxygen species (ROS). The levels of 32P and Listeria were studied in various normal and tumor tissues, at sequential time points after injection of mice with pancreatic cancer (syngeneic model Panc-02). We found that 32P and Listeria predominantly accumulated in tumors and metastases, with their highest accumulation 4 hrs (32P) and 3 days (Listeria) after injection. Listeria also penetrated the transgenic KPC (conditionally express endogenous Kras-G12D and p53-R172H mutant alleles) pancreatic tumors and metastases. This is remarkable since KPC tumors, like human tumors, exhibit a stromal barrier, which prevents most drugs from penetrating the pancreatic tumors. Therapeutic treatment with Listeria -32P resulted in a strong reduction of the growth of pancreatic cancer at early and late stages in Panc-02 and KPC mice. These results highlight the power of Listeria as new delivery platform of anticancer agents to the TME. Not only were therapeutic levels of radioactive Listeria reached in tumors and metastases but the selective delivery also led to minimal side effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)20729-20740
Number of pages12
Issue number13
StatePublished - 2017


  • Delivery platform
  • KPC
  • Listeria monocytogenes
  • P
  • Panc-02
  • Pancreatic cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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