Combination viroimmunotherapy with checkpoint inhibition to treat glioma, based on location-specific tumor profiling

Julia V. Cockle, Karishma Rajani, Shane Zaidi, Timothy Kottke, Jill Thompson, Rosa Maria Diaz, Kevin Shim, Tim Peterson, Ian F. Parney, Susan Short, Peter Selby, Elizabeth Ilett, Alan Melcher, Richard Vile

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Background. Systemic delivery of a complementary cDNA library expressed from the vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) treats tumors by vaccinating against a wide range of tumor associated antigens (TAAs). For subcutaneous B16 melanomas, therapy was achieved using a specific combination of self-TAAs (neuroblastoma-Ras, cytochrome c, and tyrosinase-related protein 1) expressed from VSV. However, for intracranial B16 tumors, a different combination was therapeutic (consisting of VSV-expressed hypoxia-inducible factor [HIF]-2α, Sox-10, c-Myc, and tyrosinase-related protein 1). Therefore, we tested the hypothesis that tumors of different histological types growing in the brain share a common immunogenic signature which can be exploited for immunotherapy. Methods. Syngeneic tumors, including GL261 gliomas, in the brains of immune competent mice were analyzed for their antigenic profiles or were treated with systemic viroimmunotherapy. Results. Several different histological types of tumors growing intracranially, as well as freshly resected human brain tumor explants, expressed a HIF-2αHi phenotype imposed by brain-derived CD11b+ cells. This location-specific antigen expression was exploited therapeutically against intracranial GL261 gliomas using systemically delivered VSV expressing HIF-2α, Sox-10, and c-Myc. Viroimmunotherapy was enhanced by immune checkpoint inhibitors, associated with the de-repression of antitumor T-helper cell type 1 (Th1) interferon-γ and Th17 T cell responses. Conclusions. Since different tumor types growing in the same location in the brain share a location-specific phenotype, we suggest that antigen-specific immunotherapies should be based upon expression of both histological type-specific tumor antigens and location-specific antigens. Our findings support clinical application of VSV-TAA therapy with checkpoint inhibition for aggressive brain tumors and highlight the importance of the intracranial microenvironment in sculpting a location-specific profile of tumor antigen expression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)518-527
Number of pages10
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016


  • cancer immunotherapy
  • checkpoint inhibitor
  • glioma
  • oncolytic virus
  • vesicular stomatitis virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cancer Research


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