The transforming growth factor β (TGF-β) is the key molecule implicated in impaired immune function in human patients with malignant melanoma. TGF-β can promote tumor growth, invasion, and metastasis in advanced stages of melanoma. Blocking these tumor-promoting effects of TGF-β provides a potentially important therapeutic strategy for the treatment of melanoma. In this study, we used an adenovirus-based shRNA expression system and successfully constructed Ad/TGF-β1-RNA interference (RNAi) which mediated the RNAi for TGF-β1 gene silencing. We examined the effects of TGF-β1 protein knockdown by RNAi on the growth and metastasis of melanoma in C57BL/6 mice induced by the B16F0 cell line. The TGF-β1 hairpin oligonucleotide was cloned into adenoviral vector. The resulting recombinant adenoviruses infected murine melanoma cell line, B16F0, and designated as B16F0/TGF-β1-RNAi cells. The blank adenoviral vector also infected B16F0 cells and designed as B16F0/vector-control cells served as a control. TGF-β1 expression was reduced in B16F0/TGF-β1-RNAi cells compared with B16F0 cells and B16F0/vector-control cells. Three million wild-type B16F0 cells, B16F0/vector-control cells, and B16F0/TGF-β1-RNAi cells were injected subcutaneously into the right flanks of adult female syngeneic mice C57BL/6. The tumor sizes were 756.09 (65.35), 798.48 (78.77), and 203.55 (24.56) mm3 at the 14th day in the mice receiving B16F0 cells, B16F0/vector-control cells, and B16F0/TGFβ1-RNAi cells, respectively. The P value was less than 0.01 by 1-way analysis of variance. TGF-β1 knockdown in B16F0 cells enhanced the infiltration of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells in the tumor regions. C57BL/6 mice were evaluated for pulmonary metastasis after tail vein injection of 2 million B16F0 cells, B16F0/vector-control cells, and B16F0/TGF-β1-RNAi cells. The pulmonary metastasis also reduced significantly on days 14 day and 21 in mice injected with B16F0/TGF-β1-RNAi tumors. The blood vessel density of the tumors markedly reduced in B16F0/TGF-β1-RNAi tumors. Our results showed that Ad/TGF-β1-RNAi could induce silencing of the TGF-β1 gene effectively. Silencing of TGF-β1 expression in B16F0 cells by RNAi technology can inhibit the growth and metastasis of this tumor after being transplanted to C57BL/6 mice. This kind of adenoviral vector based on RNAi might be a promising vector for cancer therapy.
From the *General Education Center, Tzu Chi College of Technology; †Division of Plastic Surgery, Department of Surgery, Buddhist Tzu Chi General Hospital; and ‡Department of Surgery, Tzu Chi University, Hualien, Taiwan.
Received October 2, 2013, and accepted for publication, after revision, October 6, 2013.
Conflicts of interest and sources of funding: none declared.
Supported by the Intramural Medical Research Grant from the Buddhist Tzu Chi College of Technology (TCCT 1001A12).
Reprints: Chien-Hsing Wang, MD, Division of Plastic Surgery, Department of Surgery, Buddhist Tzu Chi General Hospital, No. 707, Sec 3, Chung-Yang Rd, Hualien, Taiwan. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.