Adaptive antiviral immunity is a determinant of the therapeutic success of oncolytic virotherapy

Mol Ther. 2011 Feb;19(2):335-44. doi: 10.1038/mt.2010.264. Epub 2010 Nov 30.


Oncolytic virotherapy, the selective killing of tumor cells by oncolytic viruses (OVs), has emerged as a promising avenue of anticancer research. We have previously shown that KM100, a Herpes simplex virus type-1 (HSV) deficient for infected cell protein 0 (ICP0), possesses substantial oncolytic properties in vitro and has antitumor efficacy in vivo, in part by inducing antitumor immunity. Here, we illustrate through T-cell immunodepletion studies in nontolerized tumor-associated antigen models of breast cancer that KM100 treatment promotes antiviral and antitumor CD8(+) cytotoxic T-cell responses necessary for complete tumor regression. In tolerized tumor-associated antigen models of breast cancer, antiviral CD8(+) cytotoxic T-cell responses against infected tumor cells correlated with the induction of significant tumoristasis in the absence of tumor-associated antigen-specific CD8(+) cytotoxic T-cells. To enhance oncolysis, we tested a more cytopathic ICP0-null HSV and a vesicular stomatitis virus M protein mutant and found that despite improved in vitro replication, oncolysis in vivo did not improve. These studies illustrate that the in vitro cytolytic properties of OVs are poor prognostic indicators of in vivo antitumor activity, and underscore the importance of adaptive antiviral CD8(+) cytotoxic T-cells in effective cancer virotherapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptive Immunity / immunology*
  • Animals
  • Breast Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / therapy*
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Oncolytic Virotherapy / methods*
  • Simplexvirus / genetics
  • Simplexvirus / physiology