Subtraction hybridization applied to a ‘differentiation therapy’ model of cancer employing human melanoma cells resulted in the cloning of melanoma differentiation associated gene-7/interleukin-24 (mda-7/IL-24). Initial studies confirm an inverse correlation between mda-7 expression and melanoma development and progression. Forced expression of mda-7 by means of a plasmid or via a replication incompetent adenovirus (Ad.mda-7) promotes growth suppression and induces apoptosis in a broad array of human cancers. In contrast, mda-7 does not induce growth suppressive or toxic effects in normal cells. Based on structure (containing an IL-10 signature motif), secretion by cells (including subsets of T-cells) and location on chromosome 1q (in an area containing IL-10- family genes), mda-7 has now been renamed mda-7/IL-24. Studies by several laboratories have uncovered many of mda-7/ IL-24's unique properties, including cancer-specific apoptosisinduction, cell cycle regulation, an ability to inhibit angiogenesis, potent ‘bystander antitumor activity’ and a capacity to enhance the sensitivity of tumor cells to radiation, chemo-
therapy and monoclonal antibody therapy. Moreover, based on its profound cancer tropism, substantiated by in vivo human xenograft studies in nude mice, mda-7/IL-24 (administered as Ad.mda-7) was evaluated in a phase I clinical trial in patients with melanomas and solid cancers. These studies document that mda-7/IL-24 is well tolerated and demonstrates evidence of significant clinical activity. In these contexts, mda-7/IL-24 represents a unique cytokine gene with potential for therapy of human cancers. The present review focuses on three unique properties of mda-7/IL-24, namely its potent ‘bystander antitumor activity’, ability to sensitize tumor cells to radiation, and its antiangiogenesis properties. Additionally, an overview of the phase I clinical trial is provided. These studies affirm that mda-7/IL-24 has promise for the management of diverse cancers.
Lebedeva, I.V., Emdad, L., Su, Z., Gupta, P., Sauane, M., Sarkar, D., Staudt, M.R., Liu, Z.J., Taher, M.M., Xiao, R., Barral, P., Lee, S.G, Wang, D., Vozhilla, N., Park, E.S., Chatman, L., Boukerche,. Ramesh, H.R, Inoue, S., Chada, S., Li, R., DePass, A.L., Mahareshti, P.J., Dmitriev, I.P., Curiel, D.T., Yacoub, A., Grant, S., Dent, P., Senzer, N., Nemunaitis, J.J., and Fisher, P.B. “mda-7/IL-24, novel anticancer cytokine: focus on bystander antitumor, radiosensitization and antiangiogenic properties and overview of the phase I clinical experience”. International Journal of Oncology 31(5):985-1007 (2007).