Selective delivery of a therapeutic gene for treatment of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma using human neural stem cells

Seong Keun Kwon, Seung U. Kim, Jae Jun Song, Chang Gun Cho, Seok Won Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives. Based on studies of the extensive tropism of neural stem cells (NSCs) toward malignant brain tumor, we hypothesized that NSCs could also target head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) and could be used as a cellular therapeutic delivery system. Methods. To apply this strategy to the treatment of HNSCC, we used a human NSC line expressing cytosine deaminase (HB1.F3-CD), an enzyme that converts 5-fluorocytosine (5-FC) into 5-fluorouracil (5-FU), an anticancer agent. HB1. F3-CD in combination with 5-FC were cocultured with the HNSCC (SNU-1041) to examine the cytotoxicity on target tumor cells in vitro. For in vivo studies, an HNSCC mouse model was created by subcutaneous implantation of human HNSCC cells into athymic nude mice. HB1.F3-CD cells were injected into mice using tumoral, peritumoral, or intravenous injections, followed by systemic 5-FC administration. Results. In vitro, the HB1.F3-CD cells significantly inhibited the growth of an HNSCC cell line in the presence of the 5-FC. Independent of the method of injection, the HB1.F3-CD cells migrated to the HNSCC tumor, causing a significant reduction in tumor volume. In comparison to 5-FU administration, HB1.F3-CD cell injection followed by 5-FC administration reduced systemic toxicity, but achieved the same level of therapeutic efficacy. Conclusion. Transplantation of human NSCs that express the suicide enzyme cytosine deaminase combined with systemic administration of the prodrug 5-FC may be an effective regimen for the treatment of HNSCC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)176-183
Number of pages8
JournalClinical and Experimental Otorhinolaryngology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Sept
Externally publishedYes


  • Cytosine deaminase
  • Head and neck neoplasms
  • Molecular targeted therapy
  • Neural stem cells
  • Tropism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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