Antiviral immune responses present a major hurdle to the efficacious use of oncolytic adenoviruses as cancer treatments. Despite the existence of a highly immunosuppressive tumor environment, adenovirus-infected cells can nonetheless be efficiently cleared by infiltrating cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) without compromising tumor burden. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that tumor-infiltrating T cells could be more effectively activated and redirected by oncolytic adenoviruses that were armed with bispecific T-cell–engager (BiTE) antibodies. The oncolytic adenovirus ICOVIR-15K was engineered to express an EGFR-targeting BiTE (cBiTE) antibody under the control of the major late promoter, leading to generation of ICOVIR-15K-cBiTE, which retained its oncolytic properties in vitro. cBiTE expression and secretion was detected in supernatants from ICOVIR-15K-cBiTE–infected cells, and the secreted BiTEs bound specifically to both CD3+ and EGFR+ cells. In cell coculture assays, ICOVIR-15K-cBiTE–mediated oncolysis resulted in robust T-cell activation, proliferation, and bystander cell-mediated cytotoxicity. Notably, intratumoral injection of this cBiTE-expressing adenovirus increased the persistence and accumulation of tumor-infiltrating T cells in vivo, compared with the parental virus lacking such effects. Moreover, in two distinct tumor xenograft models, combined delivery of ICOVIR-15K-cBiTE with peripheral blood mononuclear cells or T cells enhanced the antitumor efficacy achieved by the parental counterpart. Overall, our results show how arming oncolytic adenoviruses with BiTE can overcome key limitations in oncolytic virotherapy. Cancer Res; 77(8); 2052–63. ©2017 AACR.
Note: Supplementary data for this article are available at Cancer Research Online (http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/).
- Received June 28, 2016.
- Revision received January 11, 2017.
- Accepted January 24, 2017.
- ©2017 American Association for Cancer Research.