Frequent Homozygous Deletions of Type I Interferon Genes in Pleural Mesothelioma Confer Sensitivity to Oncolytic Measles Virus

J Thorac Oncol. 2020 May;15(5):827-842. doi: 10.1016/j.jtho.2019.12.128. Epub 2020 Jan 13.


Introduction: Oncolytic immunotherapy is based on the use of nonpathogenic replicative oncolytic viruses that infect and kill tumor cells exclusively. Recently, we found that the spontaneous oncolytic activity of the Schwarz strain of measles virus (MV) against human malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) depends on defects in the antiviral type I interferon (IFN-I) response in tumor cells.

Methods: In this study, we studied three independent human MPM bio-collections to identify the defects in the IFN-I responses in tumor cells.

Results: We show that the most frequent defect is the homozygous deletions (HDs) of all the 14 IFN-I genes (IFN-α and IFN-β) that we found in more than half of MV-sensitive MPM cell lines. These HDs occur together with the HDs of the tumor suppressor gene CDKN2A also located in the 9p21.3 chromosome region. Therefore, the IFN-I-/- MPM cell lines develop a partial and weak IFN-I response when they are exposed to the virus compared with that of normal cells and MV-resistant MPM cell lines. This response consists of the expression of a restricted number of IFN-stimulated genes that do not depend on the presence of IFN-I. In addition, the IFN-I-/- MPM cell lines infected by MV also develop a pro-inflammatory response associated with stress of the endoplasmic reticulum.

Conclusion: Our study emphasizes the link between HDs of IFN-I encoding genes and the CDKN2A gene in MPM and sensitivity to MV oncolytic immunotherapy.

Keywords: Gene homozygous deletion; Measles virus; Mesothelioma; Oncolytic immunotherapy; Type I interferon.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Homozygote
  • Humans
  • Interferon Type I* / genetics
  • Lung Neoplasms*
  • Measles virus / genetics
  • Mesothelioma* / genetics
  • Mesothelioma* / therapy
  • Oncolytic Virotherapy*
  • Oncolytic Viruses* / genetics
  • Sequence Deletion


  • Interferon Type I