Double trouble for tumours: exploiting the tumour microenvironment to enhance anticancer effect of oncolytic viruses

Cytokine Growth Factor Rev. 2010 Apr-Jun;21(2-3):135-41. doi: 10.1016/j.cytogfr.2010.02.007. Epub 2010 Mar 24.


Oncolytic viruses (OVs) are selected based on their ability to eliminate malignancies by direct infection and lysis of cancer cells. Originally, OVs were designed to target malignancies by taking advantage of the defects of cancer cells observed in vitro. Subsequent analysis of virus delivery and spread in vivo has demonstrated that the tumour microenvironment can impede the ability of OVs to effectively infect and spread. Despite this limitation, it is becoming increasingly evident that OVs are also able to take advantage of certain features of the tumour microenvironment. Currently, a growing body of the literature is delineating the complex interaction between OVs and the tumour microenvironment that results in an additional therapeutic activity; these viruses are able to target malignancies by rapidly altering the tumour microenvironment into a milieu that potentiates anticancer activity. Herein, we discuss strategies that capitalize on the multifaceted relationship between OVs and host-tumour interactions that enhance the toxicity of OVs to the tumour microenvironment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Neoplasms / immunology
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Oncolytic Virotherapy / methods*
  • Oncolytic Viruses / genetics
  • Oncolytic Viruses / physiology*
  • Treatment Outcome