Effect of Serial Systemic and Intratumoral Injections of Oncolytic ZIKV BR in Mice Bearing Embryonal CNS Tumors

Viruses. 2021 Oct 19;13(10):2103. doi: 10.3390/v13102103.


The Zika virus (ZIKV) has shown a promising oncolytic effect against embryonal CNS tumors. However, studies on the effect of different administration routes and the ideal viral load in preclinical models are highly relevant aiming for treatment safety and efficiency. Here, we investigated the effect and effectiveness of different routes of administration, and the number of ZIKVBR injections on tumor tropism, destruction, and side effects. Furthermore, we designed an early-stage human brain organoid co-cultured with embryonal CNS tumors to analyze the ZIKVBR oncolytic effect. We showed that in the mice bearing subcutaneous tumors, the ZIKVBR systemically presented a tropism to the brain. When the tumor was located in the mice's brain, serial systemic injections presented efficient tumor destruction, with no neurological or other organ injury and increased mice survival. In the human cerebral organoid model co-cultured with embryonal CNS tumor cells, ZIKVBR impaired tumor progression. The gene expression of cytokines and chemokines in both models suggested an enhancement of immune cells recruitment and tumor inflammation after the treatment. These results open new perspectives for virotherapy using the ZIKVBR systemic administration route and multiple doses of low virus load for safe and effective treatment of embryonal CNS tumors, an orphan disease that urges new effective therapies.

Keywords: CNS tumors; ZIKA virus; immune cytokine profile; murine pre-clinical study; virotherapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / virology
  • Brain Neoplasms / pathology
  • Brain Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Cell Line
  • Central Nervous System / drug effects
  • Coculture Techniques
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy / methods
  • Injections, Intralesional / methods
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Models, Biological
  • Oncolytic Virotherapy / methods*
  • Oncolytic Viruses / metabolism
  • Organoids
  • Zika Virus / immunology
  • Zika Virus / metabolism*
  • Zika Virus Infection / virology