Lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer-related death in developed countries; therefore, the generation of effective targeted therapeutic regimens is essential. Recently, gene therapy approaches toward malignant cells have emerged as attractive molecular therapeutics. Previous studies have indicated that stanniocalcin-1 (STC-1), a hormone involved in calcium and phosphate homeostasis, positively regulates proliferation, apoptosis resistance, and glucose metabolism in lung cancer cell lines. In this study, we investigated if targeting STC-1 in tumor cells could be a promising strategy for lung cancer gene therapy. We confirmed that STC-1 levels in peripheral blood were higher in lung cancer patients than in healthy donors and that STC-1 expression was observed in five out of eight lung cancer cell lines. A vector expressing a suicide gene, uracil phosphoribosyltransferase (UPRT), under the control of the STC-1 promoter, was constructed (pPSTC-1-UPRT) and transfected into three STC-1-positive cell lines, PC-9, A549, and H1299. When stably transfected, we observed significant cell growth inhibition using 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) treatment. Furthermore, growth of the STC-1-negative lung cancer cell line, LK-2 was significantly arrested when combined with STC-1-positive cells transfected with pPSTC-1-UPRT. We believe that conferring cytotoxicity in STC-1-positive lung cancer cells using a suicide gene may be a useful therapeutic strategy for lung cancer.
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