Eradication of solid human breast tumors in nude mice with an intravenously injected light-emitting oncolytic vaccinia virus

Qian Zhang, Yong A. Yu, Ena Wang, Nanhai Chen, Robert L. Danner, Peter J. Munson, Francesco M. Marincola, Aladar A. Szalay

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Previously, we reported that a recombinant vaccinia virus (VACV) carrying a light-emitting fusion gene enters, replicates in, and reveals the locations of tumors in mice. A new recombinant VACV, GLV-1h68, as a simultaneous diagnostic and therapeutic agent, was constructed by inserting three expression cassettes (encoding Renilla luciferase-Aequorea green fluorescent protein fusion, β-galactosidase, and β-glucuronidase) into the F14.5L, J2R (encoding thymidine kinase) and A56R (encoding hemagglutinin) loci of the viral genome, respectively. I.v. injections of GLV-1h68 (1 × 10 7 plaque-forming unit per mouse) into nude mice with established (∼300-500 mm 3) s.c. GI-101A human breast tumors were used to evaluate its toxicity, tumor targeting specificity, and oncolytic efficacy. GLV-1h68 showed an enhanced tumor targeting specificity and much reduced toxicity compared with its parental LIVP strains. The tumors colonized by GLV-1h68 exhibited growth, inhibition, and regression phases followed by tumor eradication within 130 days in 95% of the mice tested. Tumor regression in live animals was monitored in real time based on decreasing light emission, hence demonstrating the concept of a combined oncolytic virus-mediated tumor diagnosis and therapy system. Transcriptional profiling of regressing tumors based on a mouse-specific platform revealed gene expression signatures consistent with immune defense activation, inclusive of IFN-stimulated genes (STAT-1 and IRF-7), cytokines, chemokines, and innate immune effector function. These findings suggest that immune activation may combine with viral oncolysis to induce tumor eradication in this model, providing a novel perspective for the design of oncolytic viral therapies for human cancers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10038-10046
Number of pages9
JournalCancer Research
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2007
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology

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