Glioblastoma infiltration of both tumor- and virus-antigen specific cytotoxic T cells correlates with experimental virotherapy responses

Sci Rep. 2020 Mar 20;10(1):5095. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-61736-2.


The mode of action for oncolytic viruses (OVs) in cancer treatment is thought to depend on a direct initial cytotoxic effect against infected tumor cells and subsequent activation of immune cell responses directed against the neoplasm. To study both of these effects in a mouse model of glioblastoma (GBM), we employed murine GBM cells engineered to constitutively express the type I Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV1) HSV-1 receptor, nectin-1, to allow for more efficient infection and replication by oncolytic HSV (oHSV). These cells were further engineered with a surrogate tumor antigen to facilitate assays of T cell activity. We utilized MRI-based volumetrics to measure GBM responses after injection with the oHSV and bioluminescent imaging (BLI) to determine oHSV replicative kinetics in the injected tumor mass. We found increased infiltration of both surrogate tumor antigen- and oHSV antigen-specific CD8+ T cells within 7 days after oHSV injection. There was no increase in tumor infiltrating CD8+ T cells expressing "exhaustion" markers, yet oHSV infection led to a reduction in PD-1+ CD8+ T cells in injected GBMs and an increase in IFNγ+ CD8+ T cells. There was a significant direct correlation between oHSV-mediated reduction in GBM volume and increased infiltration of both viral and tumor antigen-specific CD8+ T cells, as well as oHSV intratumoral gene activity. These findings imply that CD8+ T cell cytotoxicity against both tumor and viral antigens as well as intratumoral oHSV gene expression are important in oHSV-mediated GBM therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / immunology*
  • Antigens, Viral / immunology*
  • Brain Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Brain Neoplasms / pathology
  • Brain Neoplasms / therapy
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Glioblastoma / immunology*
  • Glioblastoma / pathology
  • Glioblastoma / therapy
  • Herpesvirus 1, Human / immunology
  • Humans
  • Interferon-gamma / immunology
  • Lymphocytes, Tumor-Infiltrating / immunology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Oncolytic Virotherapy / methods*
  • Oncolytic Viruses
  • Receptors, Virus / genetics
  • Receptors, Virus / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic / immunology*


  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • Antigens, Viral
  • IFNG protein, mouse
  • Receptors, Virus
  • simplexvirus receptor
  • Interferon-gamma