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Oncolytic Virotherapy for Melanoma Brain Metastases, a Potential New Treatment Paradigm?

Brain Sciences 2021 September 24
INTRODUCTION: Melanoma brain metastases remain a devastating disease process with poor prognosis. Recently, there has been a surge in studies demonstrating the efficacy of oncolytic virotherapy for brain tumor treatment. Given their specificity and amenability to genetic modification, the authors explore the possible role of oncolytic virotherapy as a potential treatment option for patients with melanoma brain metastases.

METHODS: A comprehensive literature review including both preclinical and clinical evidence of oncolytic virotherapy for the treatment of melanoma brain metastasis was performed.

RESULTS: Oncolytic virotherapy, specifically T-VEC (Imlygic™), was approved for the treatment of melanoma in 2015. Recent clinical trials demonstrate promising anti-tumor changes in patients who have received T-VEC; however, there is little evidence for its use in metastatic brain disease based on the existing literature. To date, only two single cases utilizing virotherapy in patients with metastatic brain melanoma have been reported, specifically in patients with treatment refractory disease. Currently, there is not sufficient data to support the use of T-VEC or other viruses for intracranial metastatic melanoma. In developing a virotherapy treatment paradigm for melanoma brain metastases, several factors must be considered, including route of administration, need to bypass the blood-brain barrier, viral tumor infectivity, and risk of adverse events.

CONCLUSIONS: Evidence for oncolytic virotherapy treatment of melanoma is limited primarily to T-VEC, with a noticeable paucity of data in the literature with respect to brain tumor metastasis. Given the promising findings of virotherapy for other brain tumor types, oncolytic virotherapy has great potential to offer benefits to patients afflicted with melanoma brain metastases and warrants further investigation.

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