Clinical testing of engineered oncolytic measles virus strains in the treatment of cancer: an overview

Curr Opin Mol Ther. 2009 Feb;11(1):43-53.


Viruses have adapted through millennia of evolution to effectively invade and lyse cells through diverse mechanisms. Strains of the attenuated measles virus Edmonston (MV-Edm) vaccine lineage can preferentially infect and destroy cancerous cells while sparing the surrounding tissues. This specificity is predominantly due to overexpression of the measles virus receptor CD46 in tumor cells. To facilitate in vivo monitoring of viral gene expression and replication, these oncolytic strains have been engineered to either express soluble marker peptides, such as the human carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA; MV-CEA virus), or genes that facilitate imaging and therapy, such as the human thyroidal sodium iodide symporter (NIS) gene (MV-NIS). Preclinical efficacy and safety data for engineered oncolytic MV-Edm derivatives that led to their clinical translation are discussed in this review, and an overview of the early experience in three ongoing clinical trials of patients with ovarian cancer, glioblastoma multiforme and multiple myeloma is provided. The information obtained from these ongoing trials will guide the future clinical application and further development of MV strains as anticancer agents.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Neoplasms / therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Measles virus*
  • Multiple Myeloma / therapy
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Oncolytic Virotherapy / methods*
  • Oncolytic Viruses*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / therapy