Oncolytic herpes simplex virus 1 encoding 15-prostaglandin dehydrogenase mitigates immune suppression and reduces ectopic primary and metastatic breast cancer in mice

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Oncolytic herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) viruses armed with immunomodulatory transgenes have shown potential for enhanced antitumor therapy by overcoming tumor-based immune suppression and promoting antitumor effector cell development. Previously, we reported that the new oncolytic HSV-1 virus, OncSyn (OS), engineered to fuse tumor cells, prevented tumor growth and metastasis to distal organs in the 4T1/BALB/c immunocompetent breast cancer mouse model, suggesting the elicitation of antitumor immune responses (Israyelyan et al., Hum. Gen. Ther. 18:5, 2007, and Israyelyan et al., Virol. J. 5:68, 2008). The OSV virus was constructed by deleting the OS viral host shutoff gene (vhs; UL41) to further attenuate the virus and permit dendritic cell activation and antigen presentation. Subsequently, the OSVP virus was constructed by inserting into the OSV viral genome a murine 15-prostaglandin dehydrogenase (15-PGDH) expression cassette, designed to constitutively express 15-PGDH upon infection. 15-PGDH is a tumor suppressor protein and the primary enzyme responsible for the degradation of prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), which is known to promote tumor development. OSVP, OSV, and OS treatment of 4T1 tumors in BALB/c mice effectively reduced primary tumor growth and inhibited metastatic development of secondary tumors. OSVP was able to significantly inhibit the development and accumulation of 4T1 metastatic tumor cells in the lungs of treated mice. Ex vivo analysis of immune cells following treatment showed increased inflammatory cytokine production and the presence of mature dendritic cells for the OSVP, OSV, and OS viruses. A statistically significant decrease in splenic myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC) was observed only for OSVP-treated mice. These results show that intratumoral oncolytic herpes is highly immunogenic and suggest that 15-PGDH expression by OSVP enhanced the antitumor immune response initiated by viral infection of primary tumor cells, leading to reduced development of pulmonary metastases. The availability of the OSVP genome as a bacterial artificial chromosome allows for the rapid insertion of additional immunomodulatory genes that could further assist in the induction of potent antitumor immune responses against primary and metastatic tumors.

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Journal of virology

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