J Korean Surg Soc.  2004 Apr;66(4):271-280.

The Transfection of Cytosine Deaminase Gene and the Cell Killing Effects of Administration of 5-Fluorocytosine in Colon Cancer Cell Lines

  • 1Department of Surgery, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Korea. skchang@cmc.cuk.ac.kr


Among cancer gene therapies, the aims to eliminate malignant cells using genes as drugs as substitutes for conventional therapy, the use of bacterial cytosine deaminase (CD) which can convert the nontoxic 5-fluorocytosine (5-FC) to toxic 5-fluorouracil (5-FU), has been reported to provide a useful system for the selective killing of gene- modified mammalian tumor cells. Recently the transfection and expression of the CD gene, and the toxicity of 5-FC in eukaryotic cells, have been reported in colon, prostate and breast cancers, as well as in glioblastomas. To evaluate the growth inhibition effects in WiDr and LoVo colorectal cancer cells, after CD gene transfection and 5-FC administration, for the selective killing of cancer cells. METHODS: WiDr and LoVo colon cancer cell lines were cultured and the absorbencies for the percentage survival, on days 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10 of the culture, estimated by the 3-(4, 5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2, 5-diphenyltetra-zolium bromide (MTT) test. The experimental subjects were divided as follows; Group 1: administration of 5-FC only, Group 2: administration of 5-FU only, Group 3: administration of 5-FC after CD gene transfection using pCMV/CD-1 plasmid vector. Each experiment, on days 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 of the culture after the administration of 5-FC or 5-FU concentration of 10, 100 and 1000 uM, was triplicated and calculated the mean with standard deviation. The bacterial CD gene was transfected into each cell lines, using the lipofectin method, and the transfection and expression of the CD protein identified with beta-galactosidase immunohistochemical staining and western blotting. The growth inhibition effects in group 3 were compared with those in group 1 and 2, and the bystander effects and cell recoveries, after finishing the 5-FC treatment, evaluated until day 20 of the culture. RESULTS: The calculated survival percentages by from the MTT tests in the WiDr and LoVo cells revealed 110~150% enhancing effects after the administration of 5-FC concentration of 10, 100 and 1000micro M (group 1), and 30~90% after the administration of 5-FU at the same concentrations (group 2), which were shown to be statistically significantly (P<0.001). After transfection of pCMV/CD-1 plasmid vector into the WiDr and LoVo cells using the lipofectin method, the transfection rate of the WiDr and LoVo cells were 4.2 +/- 0.6% and 13.8 +/- 0.8%, respectively. Also the CD protein, with the polyclonal anti-CD antibody, by western blot, revealed weak expression on day 2, followed by strong expression on day 4, which progressively decreased by days 6 and 8 in the WiDr cells. Conversely, the LoVo cells showed weak expression on day 2, which progressively increased by days 4 and 6, was followed by the strongest expression on day 8 in LoVo cells. About 60~85% significant growth inhibition effects (P<0.001) were revealed in group 3, with proportionally different effects, corresponding to the CD gene transfection rate, concentration of 5-FC and duration of the culture. The 60~85% growth inhibition effects were complex of the response to the transfection rate and the bystander effects of CD expressed cells to the CD non-expressed cells. CONCLUSION: From our results, the administration of 5-FC after CD gene transfection revealed statistically significant growth inhibition effects of 60~85%, which were complex of the effects of CD expressed cells and the bystander effects to the CD non-expressed cells, and proportionally corresponding to the transfection rate, the duration of the CD protein expression and the concentration of 5-FC.


Cytosine deaminase; Plasmid vector; 5-FC; 5-FU; MTT; Bystander effect

MeSH Terms

Blotting, Western
Bystander Effect
Cell Line*
Colonic Neoplasms*
Colorectal Neoplasms
Cytosine Deaminase*
Eukaryotic Cells
Genes, Neoplasm
Cytosine Deaminase
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