Background: Cervical cancer is the third-most common malignant tumor among women worldwide,
which seriously endangers the life and health of Chinese women. The primary etiological factor of cervical
cancer is persistent infection with High-Risk Human Papillomavirus (HR-HPV), particularly HPV16 and
HPV18. HR-HPV express oncoproteins E6 and E7, both of which play key roles in the progression of cervical
carcinogenesis. Zinc Finger Nucleases (ZFNs) targeting HPVE7 induce specific shear of the E7 gene, weakening
the malignant biological effects, hence showing great potential for clinical transformation. In order to better
application in the clinical setting, it is necessary to explore an integrative strategy.
Methods: We hypothesize that some chemotherapy drugs somehow make DNA more sensible to editing by
enhancing ZFN’s gene editing effectiveness. Here, we tested the combined effects of ZFNs with two chemotherapy
drugs in vitro and in vitro.
Result: Results showed that the combined treatment induced the rate of apoptosis by about two times more than
that of ZFNs used alone in SiHa and HeLa cells. The co-treatment suppressed colony formation ability by more
than 80%, and both chemotherapy drugs coordinated with ZFNs to down regulate HPV16/18E7 and elevate
RB1 expression. Additionally, subcutaneous tumor inhibition experiment demonstrated strong synergistic effects
in the chemotherapy drugs and ZFNs.
Conclusion: Our results demonstrate that some chemotherapy drugs can augment the biological effects of ZFNs
and the combined treatment may be an effective therapy for cervical malignancy lesions.