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Open Access Research article

Selective intra-arterial infusion of rAd-p53 with chemotherapy for advanced oral cancer: a randomized clinical trial

Yi Li12, Long-Jiang Li12*, Li-Juan Wang3, Zhuang Zhang1, Ning Gao1, Chen-Yuan Liang1, Yuan-Ding Huang1 and Bo Han2

Author Affiliations

1 State Key Laboratory of Oral Disease, West China Hospital of Stomatology, Sichuan University, Chengdu, PR China

2 Department of Head and Neck Oncology, West China Hospital of Stomatology, Sichuan University, Chengdu, PR China

3 West China Health Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, PR China

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BMC Medicine 2014, 12:16  doi:10.1186/1741-7015-12-16

Published: 30 January 2014

Abstract

Background

In this study, a combination of recombinant adenoviral p53 (rAd-p53) gene therapy and intra-arterial delivery of chemotherapeutic agents for treatment of oral squamous cell carcinoma was evaluated.

Methods

In total, 99 patients with stage III or IV oral carcinoma who had refused or were ineligible for surgery were enrolled in a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, phase III clinical trial. They were randomly assigned to group I (n = 35; intra-arterial infusion of rAd-p53 plus chemotherapy), group II (n = 33; intra-arterial infusion of rAd-p53 plus placebo chemotherapy), or group III (n = 31; intra-arterial infusion of placebo rAd-p53 plus chemotherapy).

Results

The median length of follow-up was 36 months (range, 3 to 86 months). During follow-up, 16 patients in group I, 20 in group II, and 22 in group III died. Group I (48.5%) had a higher complete response rate than groups II (16.7%) and III (17.2%) (P = 0.006). The rate of non-responders in group I was significantly lower than that in groups II and III (P < 0.020). A log-rank test for survival rate indicated that group I had a significantly higher survival rate than group III (P = 0.019). The survival rate of patients with stage III but not stage IV oral cancer was significantly higher in group I than in group III (P = 0.015, P = 0.200, respectively). The survival rate of patients with stage IV did not differ significantly among the three groups. Or the 99 patients, 63 patients experienced adverse events of either transient flu-like symptoms or bone marrow suppression, while 13 patients had both these conditions together. No replication-deficient virus was detected in patient serum, urine, or sputum. rAd-p53 treatment increased Bax expression in the primary tumor of 80% of patients, as shown by immunohistochemical staining.

Conclusions

Intra-arterial infusion of combined rAd-p53 and chemotherapy significantly increased the survival rate of patients with stage III but not stage IV oral cancer, compared with intra-arterial chemotherapy. Intra-arterial infusion of combined rAd-p53 and chemotherapy may represent a promising alternative treatment for oral squamous cell carcinoma.

Trial registration

ChiCTR-TRC-09000392 (Date of registration: 2009-05-18).

Keywords:
Oral carcinoma; Gene therapy; Chemotherapy; Intra-arterial infusion; p53