BACKGROUND: In recent years, oncolytic viruses (OVs) have drawn attention as a novel therapy to various types of cancers, both in clinical and preclinical cancer studies all around the world. Consequently, researchers have been actively working on enhancing cancer therapy since the early twentieth century. This study presents a systematic review of the literature on OVs, discusses underlying research clusters and, presents future directions of OVs research.
METHODS: A total of 1626 published articles related to OVs as cancer therapy were obtained from the Web of Science (WoS) database published between January 2000 and March 2020. Various aspects of OVs research, including the countries/territories, institutions, journals, authors, citations, research areas, and content analysis to find trending and emerging topics, were analysed using the bibliometrix package in the R-software.
RESULTS: In terms of the number of publications, the USA based researchers were the most productive (n = 611) followed by Chinese (n = 197), and Canadian (n = 153) researchers. The Molecular Therapy journal ranked first both in terms of the number of publications (n = 133) and local citations (n = 1384). The most prominent institution was Mayo Clinic from the USA (n = 117) followed by the University of Ottawa from Canada (n = 72), and the University of Helsinki from Finland (n = 63). The most impactful author was Bell J.C with the highest number of articles (n = 67) and total local citations (n = 885). The most impactful article was published in the Cell journal. In addition, the latest OVs research mainly builds on four research clusters.
CONCLUSION: The domain of OVs research has increased at a rapid rate from 2000 to 2020. Based on the synthesis of reviewed studies, adenovirus, herpes simplex virus, reovirus, and Newcastle disease virus have shown potent anti-cancer activity. Developed countries such as the USA, Canada, the UK, and Finland were the most productive, hence, contributed most to this field. Further collaboration will help improve the clinical research translation of this therapy and bring benefits to cancer patients worldwide.