Gene therapy of uterine leiomyoma: Adenovirus-mediated herpes simplex virus thymidine kinase/ganciclovir treatment inhibits growth of human and rat leiomyoma cells in vitro and in a nude mouse model

S. A. Salama, M. Kamel, G. Christman, H. Q. Wang, H. M. Fouad, Ayman Al-Hendy

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22 Scopus citations


Uterine leiomyomas (LM) affect a high percentage of reproductive-age women. They develop as discrete, well-defined tumors that are easily accessible with imaging techniques - making this disease ideal for localized gene therapy approaches. In this study, we determined the efficacy of adenovirus-mediated herpes simplex virus thymidine kinase gene transfer in combination with ganciclovir (Ad-TK/GCV) as a potential therapy for LM. Rat ELT-3 LM cells and human LM cells were transfected with different multiplicity of infections (10-100 plaque forming units [PFU]/cell) of Ad-TK and treated with GCV (5, 10, or 20 μg/ml) for 5 days. To test the bystander effect, Ad-TK-transfected ELT-3 cells (100 PFU/cell) or LM cells (10 PFU/cell) were cocultured with corresponding nontransfected cells at increasing percentages and treated with GCV followed by cell counting. In ELT-3 cells transfected with Ad-TK/GCV (10, 20, 50, or 100 PFU/cell), the cell count was reduced by 24, 42, 77, and 87%, respectively, compared with the control cells (transfected with Ad-Lac Z/GCV). Similarly, in LM cells transfected with Ad-TK/GCV (10, 50, or 100 PFU/cell), the cell count was reduced by 31, 62, and 82%, respectively, compared with the control. A strong bystander effect was noted in both ELT-3 and LM cells with significant killing (p = 0.001) at a ratio of infected:uninfected cells of only 1:99 and maximal killing at 1:4. This study demonstrates the potential efficacy of the Ad-TK/GCV gene therapy approach as a viable nonsurgical alternative treatment for uterine LM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)61-70
Number of pages10
JournalGynecologic and Obstetric Investigation
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2007



  • Adenovirus-thymidine kinase
  • Gene therapy
  • Leiomyomas

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

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