Introduction: Oncolytic viruses (OVs) have been engineered to selectively replicate in cancer cells. While initially thought to exert its anti-cancer effects through direct cytolysis, it is increasingly appreciated that OVs interact with a multitude of cellular processes during its life cycle; FDA approved pharmacologic agents that modulate these cellular processes have been shown to augment the anti-neoplastic effects of OVs. Moreover, because of the release of tumor antigens as well as the innate immuno-stimulatory nature of viruses, OVs induce potent immune responses that augment the anti-tumor effects of FDA approved immunotherapies. There is mounting interest in OV as a platform for combinational anti-cancer therapy in this context. Areas covered: We will review pre-clinical and clinical data that demonstrate proof-of-principle and potential efficacy for OV-based combination therapies with FDA approved anti-cancer agents. Expert opinion: While the cytolytic activity of OV remains a key driver for its anti-neoplastic effects, understanding the virus–host interactions may afford opportunities for potential synergism with FDA approved therapeutics that target these interactions. Most intriguingly, the immune stimulatory effects of OVs renders combination with FDA approved immunotherapies more potent. While there are growing clinical trials employing such combination therapy, meaningful advances in this paradigm will require improved understanding of virus–host interactions.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the foundation Humor to Fight the Tumor.
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- Oncolytic virus
- approved agents
- combination therapy