Optimisation of a synthetic β-catenin-dependent promoter for tumour-specific cancer gene therapy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


  • KS Lipinski
  • HA Djeha
  • J Gawn
  • S Cliffe
  • NJ Maitland
  • Andrew Mountain
  • AS Irvine
  • CJ Wrighton

Colleges, School and Institutes


We recently published the construction and evaluation of a beta-catenin-dependent, highly active promoter, CTP1, and its possible application for the treatment of colorectal cancer using gene-directed enzyme prodrug therapy with adenoviral (Ad) vectors. Alternative Ad-based approaches such as tumor-specific, replication-competent vectors and/or exploiting therapeutic gene products with intrinsic toxic activity, such as gibbon ape leukemia virus fusogenic membrane glycoprotein, diphtheria toxin A (DTA), and ricin, would demand a very tightly regulated promoter to avoid breakthrough replication and toxicity in nontumor tissue and Ad producer cell lines. In this study we optimized the activity/specificity profile of the synthetic beta-catenin-dependent promoter by varying its basal promoter, the number of Tcf binding sites, and the distance between these and the basal promoter. The optimal promoter, CTP4, showed virtually undetectable expression in cells with normal beta-catenin regulation but high level expression in cells deregulated for beta-catenin. Using CTP4 we were able to generate, for the first time to our knowledge, an Ad vector expressing fully active wild-type DTA without the need for time-consuming and cumbersome production systems. CTP4 should be the promoter of choice for Ad-based gene therapies of tumors deregulated for beta-catenin. We provide preliminary evidence that these may include prostate and ovarian as well as colorectal cancer.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)150-161
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular Therapy
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2004

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