Delayed progression of lung metastases following delivery of a prodrug-activating enzyme

Louis Dore-Savard, Zhihang Chen, Paul T. Winnard, Balaji Krishnamachary, Venu Raman, Margaret E. Black, Zaver M. Bhujwalla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Chemotherapy is an effective option to treat recurrent or metastatic cancer but its debilitating sideeffects limit the dose and time of exposure. Prodrugs that can be activated locally by an activating enzyme can minimize collateral damage from chemotherapy. We previously demonstrated the efficacy of a poly-L-lysine-based theranostic nanoplex containing bacterial cytosine deaminase (bCD) that locally converted 5-fluorocytosine (5-FC) to the chemotherapeutic agent 5-fluorouracil in MDA-MB-231 primary tumor xenografts. Materials and Methods: Here we used a more effective variant of bCD to target metastatic red fluorescence protein expressing MDA-MB-435 cells in the lungs. We used an intravenous injection of tumor cells and monitored tumor growth in the lungs for 5 weeks by which time metastatic nodules were detected with optical imaging. The animals were then treated with the bCD-nanoplex and 5-FC. Results: We observed a significant decrease in metastatic burden with a single dose of the enzyme-nanoplex and two consecutive prodrug injections. Conclusion: These results are a first step towards the longitudinal evaluation of such a strategy with multiple doses. Additionally, the enzyme can be directly coupled to imaging reporters to time prodrug administration for the detection and treatment of aggressive metastatic cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2195-2200
Number of pages6
JournalAnticancer research
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2017


  • Cytosine deaminase
  • Imaging
  • Lung cancer
  • Metastasis
  • Prodrug enzyme therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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