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Targeting different types of human meningioma and glioma cells using a novel adenoviral vector expressing GFP-TRAIL fusion protein from hTERT promoter

Jessica T Li13, Ka Bian5, Alan L Zhang2, Dong H Kim1, William W Ashley1, Rahul Nath4, Ian McCutcheon2, Bingliang Fang2* and Ferid Murad5*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Neurosurgery, The University of Texas Medical School at Houston, 6400 Fannin Street, Houston, TX 77030, USA

2 Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas 77030, USA

3 Department of Neurosurgery, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas 77030, USA

4 Texas Nerve and Paralysis Institute, 6400. Fannin St., Houston, Texas 77030, USA

5 Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, The George Washington University Medical Center, 2300 I Street, NW, Washington, DC 20037, USA

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Cancer Cell International 2011, 11:35  doi:10.1186/1475-2867-11-35

Published: 28 October 2011



The objective of this study was to evaluate the anti-tumor effects of Ad/gTRAIL (an adenoviral vector in which expression of GFP and TRAIL is driven by a human telomerase reverse transcriptase promoter, hTERT) on malignant meningiomas and gliomas.


Gliomas and meningiomas are the two most common types of human brain tumors. Currently there is no effective cure for recurrent malignant meningiomas or for gliomas. Ad/gTRAIL has been shown to be effective in killing selected lung, colon and breast cancer cells, but there have been no studies reporting its antitumor effects on malignant meningiomas. Therefore, we tested the antitumor effect of Ad/gTRAIL for the first time in human malignant meningioma and glioma cell lines, and in intracranial M6 and U87 xenografts.


Materials and Methods: Human malignant meningioma and glioma cells were infected with adenoviruses, Ad/gTRAIL and Ad/CMV-GFP. Cell viability was determined by proliferation assay. FACS analysis and quantification of TRAIL were used to measure apoptosis in these cells. We injected Ad/gTRAIL viruses in intracranial M6 and U87 xenografts, and measured the brain tumor volume, quantified apoptosis by TUNEL assay in the brain tumor tissue.


Our studies demonstrate that in vitro/in vivo treatment with Ad/gTRAIL virus resulted in significant increase of TRAIL activity, and elicited a greater tumor cell apoptosis in malignant brain tumor cells as compared to treatment with the control, Ad/CMV-GFP virus without TRAIL activity.


We showed for the first time that adenovirus Ad/gTRAIL had significant antitumor effects against high grade malignant meningiomas as well as gliomas. Although more work needs to be done, our data suggests that Ad/gTRAIL has the potential to be useful as a tool against malignant brain tumors.