Phase I trial of cyclophosphamide as an immune modulator for optimizing oncolytic reovirus delivery to solid tumors

Victoria Roulstone, Khurum Khan, Hardev S. Pandha, Sarah Rudman, Matt Coffey, George M. Gill, Alan A. Melcher, Richard Vile, Kevin J. Harrington, Johann De Bono, James Spicer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Purpose: Reovirus is a wild-type oncolytic virus that is ubiquitous in the environment; most patients are therefore preimmune. Therapeutic administration leads to an increase in neutralizing antireovirus antibody (NARA) titer. We hypothesized that if NARA limited reovirus antitumor activity, the effect might be attenuated by coadministration of cyclophosphamide. Experimental design: In a phase I study, patients with advanced cancer received cyclophosphamide 3 days before intravenous reovirus serotype 3 Dearing (RT3D). The primary objective was to reduce the resulting rise in NARA titer. Cyclophosphamide dose was escalated from 25-1,000 mg/m2 through nine cohorts; we aimed to define a well-tolerated immunomodulatory dose. Results: The combination was well tolerated in 36 patients, with grade 3/4 toxicities only seen at or above the maximum tolerated dose of cyclophosphamide, which was 800 mg/m2 combined with reovirus. Immunosuppressive effect, defined as maintaining NARA titer rise below a prede fined threshold, was observed in only one patient. Furthermore, despite expected myelosuppression seen at higher cyclophosphamide doses, no changes in T-cell subsets, including Tregs, occurred with dose escalation. Viable virus was detected in association with peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from 14% of patients 10 days after the last RT3D injection, despite high plasma NARA titer, demonstrating a potential mechanism for prolonged evasion of neutralization by reovirus. Conclusions: Coadministration of cyclophosphamide with reovirus is safe, but does not attenuate host antiviral responses. Alternative immunomodulation approaches should be explored, but association with PBMCs may allow reovirus to persist and evade even high levels of neutralizing antibodies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1305-1312
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 15 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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