Background. Nearly 20% of human cancers worldwide have an infectious etiology with the most prominent examples being hepatitis B and C virus-associated hepatocellular carcinoma and human papilloma virus-associated cervical cancer. There is an urgent need to find new approaches to treatment and prevention of virus-associated cancers. Metholdology/principal Findings. Viral antigens have not been previously considered as targets for treatment or prevention of virus-associated cancers. We hypothesized that it was possible to treat experimental HPV16-associated cervical cance. (CC) and Hipatitis B-associated hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) by targeting viral antigens expressed on cancer cells with radiolabeled antibodies to viral antigens. Treatment of experimental CC and HCC tumors with 188Re-labeled mAbs to E6 and HBx viral proteins, respectively resulted in significant and dose-dependent retardation of tumor growth in comparison with untreated mice or mice treated with unlabeled antibodies. Conclusions/Significance. This strategy is fundamentally different from the prior uses of radioimmunotherapy in ontology, which targeted tumor-associated human antigens and promises increased specificity and minimal toxicity of treatment. It also raises an exciting possibility to prevent virus-associated cancers in chronically infected patients by eliminating cells infected with oncogenic viruses before they transform into cancer.
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