Oncolytic Viro-Immunotherapy: An Emerging Option in the Treatment of Gliomas

PMID: 34675919
Journal: Frontiers in immunology (volume: 12, issue: , Front Immunol 2021;12:721830)
Published: 2021-10-05

Zeng J, Li X, Sander M, Zhang H, Yan G, Lin Y


The prognosis of malignant gliomas remains poor, with median survival fewer than 20 months and a 5-year survival rate merely 5%. Their primary location in the central nervous system (CNS) and its immunosuppressive environment with little T cell infiltration has rendered cancer therapies mostly ineffective, and breakthrough therapies such as immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) have shown limited benefit. However, tumor immunotherapy is developing rapidly and can help overcome these obstacles. But for now, malignant gliomas remain fatal with short survival and limited therapeutic options. Oncolytic virotherapy (OVT) is a unique antitumor immunotherapy wherein viruses selectively or preferentially kill tumor cells, replicate and spread through tumors while inducing antitumor immune responses. OVTs can also recondition the tumor microenvironment and improve the efficacy of other immunotherapies by escalating the infiltration of immune cells into tumors. Some OVTs can penetrate the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and possess tropism for the CNS, enabling intravenous delivery. Despite the therapeutic potential displayed by oncolytic viruses (OVs), optimizing OVT has proved challenging in clinical development, and marketing approvals for OVTs have been rare. In June 2021 however, as a genetically engineered OV based on herpes simplex virus-1 (G47Δ), teserpaturev got conditional and time-limited approval for the treatment of malignant gliomas in Japan. In this review, we summarize the current state of OVT, the synergistic effect of OVT in combination with other immunotherapies as well as the hurdles to successful clinical use. We also provide some suggestions to overcome the challenges in treating of gliomas.