Oncolytic virotherapy represents an attractive option for the treatment of a variety of aggressive or refractory tumors. While this therapy is effective at rapidly debulking directly injected tumor masses, achieving complete eradication of established disease has proven difficult. One method to overcome this challenge is to use oncolytic viruses to induce secondary anti-tumor immune responses. Unfortunately, while the initial induction of these immune responses is typically robust, their subsequent efficacy is often inhibited through a variety of immunoregulatory mechanisms, including the PD1/PDL1 T-cell checkpoint pathway. To overcome this inhibition, we generated a novel recombinant myxoma virus (vPD1) which inhibits the PD1/PDL1 pathway specifically within the tumor microenvironment by secreting a soluble form of PD1 from infected cells. This virus both induced and maintained anti-tumor CD8+ T-cell responses within directly treated tumors and proved safer and more effective than combination therapy using unmodified myxoma and systemic αPD1 antibodies. Localized vPD1 treatment combined with systemic elimination of regulatory T cells had potent synergistic effects against metastatic disease that was already established in secondary solid organs. These results demonstrate that tumor-localized inhibition of the PD1/PDL1 pathway can significantly improve outcomes during oncolytic virotherapy. Furthermore, they establish a feasible path to translate these findings against clinically relevant disease.
- Received June 21, 2016.
- Revision received March 8, 2017.
- Accepted March 8, 2017.
- Copyright ©2017, American Association for Cancer Research.