The authors sought to study the combined potential of wild-type p53 gene transfer and Gamma Knife surgery (GKS) for the treatment of glioblastomas multiforme. Modification of the radiation response in C6 glioma cells in vitro and in vivo by the wild-type p53 gene was investigated.
Stable expression of wild-type p53 in C6 cells was achieved by transduction of the cells with adenoviral p53. Two days later, some cells were treated with GKS. Forty-eight hours after irradiation, the comparative survival rate was assessed by monotetrazolium (MTT) assays. Treated and control C6 glioma cells (4 × 103 per well) were plated into a 96-well plate in octuplicate and tested every 24 hours. Meanwhile, immunohistopathological examination of proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) and terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase—mediated deoxyuridine triphosphate (TUNEL) assays were performed. The MTT assays indicated the p53, GKS, and combined treated cells proliferated at a significantly lower rate than those of the control group (p < 0.01, Days 2–6) and the positive fraction of PCNA in p53-treated group and GKS-treated group was 70.18 ± 3.61 and 50.71 ± 2.61, respectively, whereas the percentage in the combined group was 30.68 ± 1.49 (p < 0.01).
Fifty-six male Sprague–Dawley rats were anesthetized and inoculated with 106 cultured C6 glioma cells into the cerebrum. Forty-eight hours after transduction with adenoviral p53, some rats underwent GKS. A margin dose of 15 Gy was delivered to the 50% isodose line. Two days later, six rats in each group were killed. Their brains were removed and paraffin-embedded section were prepared for immunohistopathological examination and TUNEL assays. The remaining rats were observed for the duration of the survival period. The survival curve indicated that a modest but significant enhancement of survival duration was seen in the p53-treated or GKS alone groups, whereas a more marked and highly significant enhancement of survival duration was achieved when these two treatment modalities were combined. When PCNA expression was downregulated, apoptotic cells become obvious after TUNEL staining.
The findings of this study suggest that p53-based gene therapy in combination with GKS may be superior to single-modality treatment of C6 glioma.