Oncolytic Herpes Simplex Virus-Based Therapies for Cancer

Cells. 2021 Jun 18;10(6):1541. doi: 10.3390/cells10061541.


With the increased worldwide burden of cancer, including aggressive and resistant cancers, oncolytic virotherapy has emerged as a viable therapeutic option. Oncolytic herpes simplex virus (oHSV) can be genetically engineered to target cancer cells while sparing normal cells. This leads to the direct killing of cancer cells and the activation of the host immunity to recognize and attack the tumor. Different variants of oHSV have been developed to optimize its antitumor effects. In this review, we discuss the development of oHSV, its antitumor mechanism of action and the clinical trials that have employed oHSV variants to treat different types of tumor.

Keywords: cancer; immunotherapy; oncolytic herpes simplex virus (oHSV); virotherapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Neoplasms / virology*
  • Oncolytic Virotherapy / methods*
  • Simplexvirus / genetics*

Grant support