A major problem in high-dose chemotherapy with autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation is insufficient function of reconstituted bone marrow that limits the efficacy of post-transplantation chemotherapy. Because transduction of hematopoietic stem cells with the multidrug resistance 1 (MDR1) gene might circumvent this problem, we conducted a pilot study of MDR1 gene therapy against metastatic breast cancer. Peripheral blood stem cells were harvested, and one-third of the cells were transduced with MDR1 retrovirus. After the reconstitution of bone marrow function, the patients received high-dose chemotherapy with transplantation of both MDR1-transduced and unprocessed peripheral blood stem cells. The patients then received docetaxel chemotherapy. Two patients received transplantation of the MDR1-transduced cells in 2001. Peripheral blood MDR1-transduced leukocytes were 3-5% of the total cells after transplantation, but decreased gradually. During docetaxel chemotherapy, an increase in the rate of MDR1-transduced leukocytes (up to 10%) was observed. Comparison of docetaxel-induced granulocytopenia in the two patients suggested a bone marrow-protective effect of the MDR1-transduced cells. No serious side-effect was observed, and the patients were in complete remission for more than 3 years. The MDR1-transduced cells gradually decreased and disappeared almost entirely by the end of 2004. Results of linear amplification-mediated polymerase chain reaction of the MDR1-transduced leukocytes suggested no sign of abnormal amplification of the transduced cells. A third patient received transplantation of the MDR1 -transduced cells in 2004. These results suggest the feasibility of our MDR1 gene therapy against metastatic breast cancer, and follow-up is ongoing.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research