Purpose: Pancreatic cancer is a devastating disease that is almost universally fatal because of the lack of effective treatments. We recently constructed a novel oncolytic virus (FusOn-H2) from the type 2 herpes simplex virus. Because the replication potential of FusOn-H2 depends on the activation of the Ras signaling pathway, we evaluated its antitumor effect against pancreatic cancer, which often harbors K-ras gene mutations.
Experimental design: Human pancreatic cancer xenografts were established in nude mice either s.c. or orthotopically (n = 8/group). FusOn-H2 was injected either directly (s.c. tumors) or by the i.v. or i.p. route (orthotopic tumors). Tumor volume, weight, and survival time were recorded for each animal. Statistical analyses were done by Student's t test.
Results: A single intratumor injection of FusOn-H2 completely eradicated s.c. pancreatic cancers in all animals. Systemic injection of the oncolytic virus produced clear antitumor effects but did not abolish tumors in any animal. The most striking antitumor effect was seen when the virus was given i.p. Delivery of FusOn-H2 by this route completely eradicated established orthotopic tumors in 75% of the animals and completely prevented local metastases.
Conclusions: FusOn-H2 has potent activity against human pancreatic cancer xenografts and may be a promising candidate for investigative virotherapy of this malignancy.