Intrathecal Gene Therapy for Malignant Leptomeningeal Neoplasia

Zvi Ram, Stuart Walbridge, Eric M. Oshiro, John J. Viola, Yawen Chiang, Stephan N. Mueller, R. Michael Blaese, Edward H. Oldfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In meningeal carcinomatosis, retroviral vector-producer cells can be introduced into the thecal sac and circulate in the cerebrospinal fluid to reach malignant tumor cells in the leptomeninges, release vector particles, and selectively infect and transfer a gene of interest to these cells. Gene transfer experiments with the lacZ gene and in vitro retroviral titer measurements showed that retroviral vectors can survive in the cerebrospinal fluid, retain their infectivity, and successfully transduce tumor cells. To examine the potential of intrathecal gene therapy, we evaluated the antitumor efficacy of in situ transduction with the herpes simplex-thymi-dine kinase gene followed by ganciclovir therapy in a rat model of leptomeningeal neoplasia. Fischer rats were inoculated via a subarachnoid catheter implanted at the upper thoracic level, and thymidine kinase vector-producer cells were injected into the subarachnoid space the day of tumor inoculation. Seven days later, rats received ganciclovir for 14 days by daily Lp. injections (30 mg/kg/ml) or intrathecal injections (25 jug/kg or 600 /μg/kg) for 14 days. To evaluate possible enhancement of tumor eradication by the ability of helper virus to package the vector in the cells and further extend gene transfer, additional rats received thymidine kinase vector-producer cells that had been previously coinfected with a replication-competent retrovirus (4070A). In all groups, control rats received Lp. or intrathecal saline injections. Ganciclovir administration Lp. resulted in significant prolongation of survival in rats given injections of thymidine kinase vector-producer cells. Injection of producer cells coinfected with the 4070A retrovirus did not improve antitumor efficacy. Intrathecal administration of ganciclovir (low and high doses) did not extend survival; histological examination of the spinal cords showed elimination of the infiltrative tumor in the leptomeninges, but residual tumor mass was present at the inoculation site, consistent with limited penetration of topical ganciclovir into the tumor. These results support the potential application of gene therapy using the thymidine kinase/ganciclovir approach for treatment of meningeal carcinomatosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2141-2145
Number of pages5
JournalCancer Research
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 1994
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Intrathecal Gene Therapy for Malignant Leptomeningeal Neoplasia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this