Oncolytic herpes simplex virus treatment of metastatic breast cancer

Jiani Wang, Pan Hu, Musheng Zeng, Samuel D Rabkin, Renbin Liu
International Journal of Oncology 2012, 40 (3): 757-63
The high prevalence and poor prognosis of breast cancer provides a strong rationale for developing new treatment strategies and preventive and therapeutic agents. Oncolytic replication-competent herpes simplex virus (HSV) can infect tumor cells, replicating and killing the cells by direct cytopathic effect and then spreading within the tumor. Replication of oncolytic HSV leads to the destruction of the infected tumor cell and release of new virions, which are able to infect adjacent cells until potentially all tumor cells are destroyed. In this study, the cytotoxicity of a third-generation oncolytic HSV vector, designated G47Δ, was examined in human breast cancer cell lines, as well as in immortalized and normal breast cells. A pulmonary metastatic model of breast cancer established in Balb/c nude mice was used to evaluate the efficacy of G47Δ treatment. Systemic treatment by intravenous administration of G47Δ for metastatic lung tumors was initiated 14 days after injection of tumor cells. On Day 56, the mice were sacrificed and tumor nodules on the surface of the lung were counted. G47Δ was highly cytotoxic to breast cancer and immortalized breast cells in vitro at low multiplicities of infection (MOI), while normal breast cells remained viable 5 days after infection. In the pulmonary metastatic model, the average number of surface lung tumor nodules in the G47Δ-treated group was approximately 9‑fold less than in the control-treated group. X-gal staining illustrated viral replication and spread in the tumor cells in vitro and in vivo. In conclusion, G47Δ effectively killed human breast cancer cells and immortalized breast cells but not normal breast cells. Systemic administration of G47Δ by tail vein injection was effective in inhibiting the growth of established breast cancer lung metastases.

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