Oncolytic Viruses: Newest Frontier for Cancer Immunotherapy

Cancers (Basel). 2021 Oct 29;13(21):5452. doi: 10.3390/cancers13215452.


Cancer remains a leading cause of death worldwide. Despite many signs of progress, currently available cancer treatments often do not provide desired outcomes for too many cancers. Therefore, newer and more effective therapeutic approaches are needed. Oncolytic viruses (OVs) have emerged as a novel cancer treatment modality, which selectively targets and kills cancer cells while sparing normal ones. In the past several decades, many different OV candidates have been developed and tested in both laboratory settings as well as in cancer patient clinical trials. Many approaches have been taken to overcome the limitations of OVs, including engineering OVs to selectively activate anti-tumor immune responses. However, newer approaches like the combination of OVs with current immunotherapies to convert "immune-cold" tumors to "immune-hot" will almost certainly improve the potency of OVs. Here, we discuss strategies that are explored to further improve oncolytic virotherapy.

Keywords: cancer therapy; combination therapy; immunotherapy; oncolytic; oncolytic virus; virotherapy.

Publication types

  • Review