The safety of oncolytic viruses for treatment of cancer has been shown in clinical trials while antitumor efficacy has often remained modest. As expression of the coxsackie-adenovirus receptor may be variable in advanced tumors, we developed Ad5-D24-RGD, a p16/Rb pathway selective oncolytic adenovirus featuring RGD-4C modification of the fiber. This allows viral entry through alpha-v-beta integrins frequently highly expressed in advanced tumors. Advanced tumors are often immunosuppressive which results in lack of tumor eradication despite abnormal epitopes being present. Granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factor (GMCSF) is a potent activator of immune system with established antitumor properties. To stimulate antitumor immunity and break tumor associated immunotolerance, we constructed Ad5-RGD-D24-GMCSF, featuring GMCSF controlled by the adenoviral E3 promoter. Preliminary safety of Ad5-D24-RGD and Ad5-RGD-D24-GMCSF for treatment of human cancer was established. Treatments with Ad5-D24-RGD (N = 9) and Ad5-RGD-D24-GMCSF (N = 7) were well tolerated. Typical side effects were grade 1-2 fatigue, fever and injection site pain. 77% (10/13) of evaluable patients showed virus in circulation for at least 2 weeks. In 3 out of 6 evaluable patients, disease previously progressing stabilized after a single treatment with Ad5-RGD-D24-GMCSF. In addition, 2/3 patients had stabilization or reduction in tumor marker levels. All patients treated with Ad5-D24-RGD showed disease progression in radiological analysis, although 3/6 had temporary reduction or stabilization of marker levels. Induction of tumor and adenovirus specific immunity was demonstrated with ELISPOT in Ad5-RGD-D24-GMCSF treated patients. RGD modified oncolytic adenoviruses with or without GMCSF seem safe for further clinical development.
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