Replication-selective viruses for cancer therapy

J Mol Med (Berl). 2002 Mar;80(3):163-75. doi: 10.1007/s00109-001-0295-1. Epub 2001 Dec 20.


Advances in our understanding of the molecular basis of cancer and the availability of technology to genetically engineer viruses have led to the development of replication-competent viruses to treat cancer. In theory, replication-selective viruses offer several appealing properties as biological agents for cancer therapy: they kill tumor cells selectively, and their replication leads to amplification of their oncolytic potential. Most preclinical experiments in tissue culture and in animal models support this notion. Clinical data on the first generation of replication-selective viruses are now rapidly accruing. The therapeutic index, and ultimately the clinical outcome, will depend on a complex balance between host and viral factors. This review discusses strategies to kill cancer cells based on our understanding of their molecular defects and the progress being made using replication-competent viruses for tumor therapy. We focus our discussion on a replication-selective adenovirus called ONYX-015 that has recently demonstrated encouraging results in clinical trials

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenoviridae / genetics
  • Adenoviridae / immunology
  • Animals
  • Cell Cycle
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Genetic Vectors / genetics*
  • Genetic Vectors / immunology
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / immunology
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Neoplasms / virology*
  • Reoviridae / genetics
  • Reoviridae / immunology
  • Simplexvirus / genetics
  • Simplexvirus / immunology
  • Virus Replication*