Integrating oncolytic viruses in combination cancer immunotherapy

  • A Correction to this article was published on 21 June 2018


Oncolytic viruses can be usefully integrated into tumour immunotherapies, as they target multiple steps within the cancer–immunity cycle. Oncolytic viruses directly lyse tumour cells, leading to the release of soluble antigens, danger signals and type I interferons, which drive antitumour immunity. In addition, some oncolytic viruses can be engineered to express therapeutic genes or can functionally alter tumour-associated endothelial cells, further enhancing T cell recruitment into immune-excluded or immune-deserted tumour microenvironments. Oncolytic viruses can also utilize established tumours as an in situ source of neoantigen vaccination through cross-presentation, resulting in regression of distant, uninfected tumours. These features make oncolytic viruses attractive agents for combination strategies to optimize cancer immunotherapy.

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Fig. 1: Mechanisms that mediate the antitumour activity of oncolytic viruses.
Fig. 2: Antiviral and antitumour immunity during oncolytic virus treatment of cancer.
Fig. 3: Oncolytic viruses as the foundation of combination therapy in cancer.

Change history

  • 21 June 2018

    In the initially published version of this article online in advance of print, a reference (Ajina, A. & Maher, J. Prospects for combined use of oncolytic viruses and CAR T-cells. J. Immunother. Cancer 5, 90 (2017)) was omitted in error from the following sentence: “The ability of oncolytic viruses to increase the expression of MHC class I molecules by cancer cells is also predicted to enhance ACT with TILs or TCR-engineered and chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells that target tumour-specific antigens”. This has been corrected in the HTML and PDF versions of the manuscript.


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The authors thank R. Coffin for review of the manuscript and helpful comments and suggestions.

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P.K.B. and H.L.K. researched data for the article; P.K.B., M.S. and H.L.K. contributed to discussion of content and to writing the article; and P.K.B. and H.L.K. reviewed and edited the article before submission.

Correspondence to Howard L. Kaufman.

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H.L.K. is an employee of Replimune, Inc. The remaining authors declare no competing interests.

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Bommareddy, P.K., Shettigar, M. & Kaufman, H.L. Integrating oncolytic viruses in combination cancer immunotherapy. Nat Rev Immunol 18, 498–513 (2018).

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