Oncolytic Virotherapy: A Contest between Apples and Oranges

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67 Scopus citations


Viruses can be engineered or adapted for selective propagation in neoplastic tissues and further modified for therapeutic transgene expression to enhance their antitumor potency and druggability. Oncolytic viruses (OVs) can be administered locally or intravenously and spread to a variable degree at sites of tumor growth. OV-infected tumor cells die in situ, releasing viral and tumor antigens that are phagocytosed by macrophages, transported to regional lymph nodes, and presented to antigen-reactive T cells, which proliferate before dispersing to kill uninfected tumor cells at distant sites. Several OVs are showing clinical promise, and one of them, talimogene laherparepvec (T-VEC), was recently granted marketing approval for intratumoral therapy of nonresectable metastatic melanoma. T-VEC also appears to substantially enhance clinical responsiveness to checkpoint inhibitor antibody therapy. Here, we examine the T-VEC paradigm and review some of the approaches currently being pursued to develop the next generation of OVs for both local and systemic administration, as well as for use in combination with other immunomodulatory agents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1107-1116
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular Therapy
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 3 2017


  • T-VEC
  • competitive landscape
  • oncolytic virotherapy
  • viro-immuno-oncology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery


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