Enhanced antitumor efficacy of a herpes simplex virus mutant isolated by genetic selection in cancer cells

Samir Taneja, Jennifer MacGregor, Steven Markus, Susan Ha, Ian Mohr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Replication-competent, attenuated herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV-1) derivatives that contain engineered mutations into the viral γ34.5 virulence gene have been used as oncolytic agents. However, as attenuated mutants often grow poorly, they may not completely destroy some tumors and surviving cancer cells simply regrow. Thus, although HSV-1 γ34.5 mutants can reduce the growth of human tumor xenografts in mice and have passed phase 1 safety studies, their efficacy is limited because they replicate poorly in many human tumor cells. Previously, we selected for a γ34.5 deletion mutant variant that regained the ability to replicate efficiently in tumor cells. Although this virus contains an extragenic suppressor mutation that confers enhanced growth in tumor cells, it remains attenuated. Here, we demonstrate that the suppressor virus replicates to greater levels in prostate carcinoma cells and, importantly, is a more potent inhibitor of tumor growth in an animal model of human prostate cancer than the γ34.5 parent virus. Thus, genetic selection in cancer cells can be used as a tool to enhance the antitumor activity of a replication-competent virus. The increased therapeutic potency of this oncolytic virus may be useful in the treatment of a wide variety of cancers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8804-8808
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number15
StatePublished - Jul 17 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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