Oncolytic viral therapy has been explored widely as an option for glioma treatment but its effectiveness has remained limited. CCN1 is an extracellular matrix (ECM) protein elevated in cancer cells that modulates their adhesion and migration by binding cell surface receptors. In this study, we examined an hypothesized role for CCN1 in limiting the efficacy of oncolytic viral therapy for glioma, based on evidence of CCN1 induction that occurs in this setting. Strikingly, we found that exogenous CCN1 in glioma ECM orchestrated a cellular antiviral response that reduced viral replication and limited cytolytic efficacy. Gene expression profiling and real time PCR analysis revealed a significant induction of type-I interferon responsive genes in response to CCN1 exposure. This induction was accompanied by activation of the Jak/Stat signaling pathway, consistent with induction of an innate antiviral cellular response. Both effects were mediated by the binding of CCN1 to the cell surface integrin α6β1, activating its signaling and leading to rapid secretion of interferon-α, which was essential for the innate antiviral effect. Together, our findings reveal how an integrin signaling pathway mediates activation of a type-I antiviral interferon response that can limit the efficacy of oncolytic viral therapy. Further, they suggest therapeutic interventions to inhibit CCN1-integrin α6 interactions to sensitize gliomas to viral oncolysis.
CCN1; Cyr61; Glioma; Oncolytic Virus
Tumor virotherapy has been and continues to be used in clinical trials. One barrier to effective viral oncolysis, consisting of the interferon (IFN) response induced by viral infection, is inhibited by valproic acid (VPA) and other histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACi). Innate immune cell recruitment and activation have been shown to be deleterious to the efficacy of oncolytic herpes simplex virus (oHSV) infection, and in this report we demonstrate that VPA limits this deleterious response. VPA, administered prior to oHSV inoculation in an orthotopic glioblastoma mouse model, resulted in a decline in NK and macrophage recruitment into tumor-bearing brains at 6 and 24 h post-oHSV infection. Interestingly, there was a robust rebound of recruitment of these cells at 72 h post-oHSV infection. The observed initial decline in immune cell recruitment was accompanied by a reduction in their activation status. VPA was also found to have a profound immunosuppressive effect on human NK cells in vitro. NK cytotoxicity was abrogated following exposure to VPA, consistent with downmodulation of cytotoxic gene expression of granzyme B and perforin at the mRNA and protein levels. In addition, suppression of gamma IFN (IFN-γ) production by VPA was associated with decreased STAT5 phosphorylation and dampened T-BET expression. Despite VPA-mediated immune suppression, mice were not at significantly increased risk for HSV encephalitis. These findings indicate that one of the avenues by which VPA enhances oHSV efficacy is through initial suppression of immune cell recruitment and inhibition of inflammatory cell pathways within NK cells.
Despite aggressive therapies, median survival for malignant gliomas is less than 15 months. Patients with unmethylated O6-methylguanine–DNA methyltransferase (MGMT) fare worse, presumably because of temozolomide resistance. AdV-tk, an adenoviral vector containing the herpes simplex virus thymidine kinase gene, plus prodrug synergizes with surgery and chemoradiotherapy, kills tumor cells, has not shown MGMT dependency, and elicits an antitumor vaccine effect.
Patients and Methods
Patients with newly diagnosed malignant glioma received AdV-tk at 3 × 1010, 1 × 1011, or 3 × 1011 vector particles (vp) via tumor bed injection at time of surgery followed by 14 days of valacyclovir. Radiation was initiated within 9 days after AdV-tk injection to overlap with AdV-tk activity. Temozolomide was administered after completing valacyclovir treatment.
Accrual began December 2005 and was completed in 13 months. Thirteen patients were enrolled and 12 completed therapy, three at dose levels 1 and 2 and six at dose level 3. There were no dose-limiting or significant added toxicities. One patient withdrew before completing prodrug because of an unrelated surgical complication. Survival at 2 years was 33% and at 3 years was 25%. Patient-reported quality of life assessed with the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Brain (FACT-Br) was stable or improved after treatment. A significant CD3+ T-cell infiltrate was found in four of four tumors analyzed after treatment. Three patients with MGMT unmethylated glioblastoma multiforme survived 6.5, 8.7, and 46.4 months.
AdV-tk plus valacyclovir can be safely delivered with surgery and accelerated radiation in newly diagnosed malignant gliomas. Temozolomide did not prevent immune responses. Although not powered for efficacy, the survival and MGMT independence trends are encouraging. A phase II trial is ongoing.
Extracellular vesicles (microvesicles), such as exosomes and shed microvesicles, contain a variety of molecules including proteins, lipids, and nucleic acids. Microvesicles appear mostly to originate from multivesicular bodies or to bud from the plasma membrane. Here, we review the convergence of microvesicle biogenesis and aspects of viral assembly and release pathways. Herpesviruses and retroviruses, amongst others, recruit several elements from the microvesicle biogenesis pathways for functional virus release. In addition, noninfectious pleiotropic virus-like vesicles can be released, containing viral and cellular components. We highlight the heterogeneity of microvesicle function during viral infection, addressing microvesicles that can either block or enhance infection, or cause immune dysregulation through bystander action in the immune system. Finally, endogenous retrovirus and retrotransposon elements deposited in our genomes millions of years ago can be released from cells within microvesicles, suggestive of a viral origin of the microvesicle system or perhaps of an evolutionary conserved system of virus-vesicle codependence. More research is needed to further elucidate the complex function of the various microvesicles produced during viral infection, possibly revealing new therapeutic intervention strategies.
The inhibitory role of secreted Chondroitin-sulfate-proteoglycans (CSPGs) on Oncolytic viral (OV) therapy was examined. Chondroitinase ABC (Chase-ABC) is a bacterial enzyme that can remove chondroitin sulfate glycoso-amino glycans from proteoglycans without any deleterious effects in vivo. We examined the effect of Chase-ABC on OV spread and efficacy.
Three dimensional glioma spheroids placed on cultured brain slices were utilized to evaluate OV spread. Replication-conditional OV expressing Chase-ABC (OV-Chase) was engineered using HSQuik technology, and tested for spread and efficacy in glioma spheroids. Subcutaneous and intracranial glioma xenograft, were utilized to compare anti-tumor efficacy of OV-Chase, rHsvQ (control) and PBS. Titration of viral particles was performed from OV treated subcutaneous tumors. Glioma invasion was assessed in collagen embedded glioma spheroids in vitro, and in intracranial tumors. All statistical tests were two sided.
Treatment by Chase-ABC in cultured glioma cells significantly enhanced OV spread in glioma spheroids grown on brain slices (P< 0.0001). Inoculation of subcutaneous glioma xenografts with Chase-expressing OV significantly increased viral titer (> 10 times, P=0.0008), inhibited tumor growth and significantly increased overall animal survival (P<0.006) compared to treatment with parental rHsvQ virus. Single OV-Chase administration in intracranial xenografts also resulted in longer median survival of animals compared to rHsvQ (32 versus 21 days, P<0.018). Glioma cell migration and invasion were not increased by OV-Chase treatment.
We conclude that degradation of glioma ECM by OV expressing bacterial Chase-ABC enhanced OV spread and anti-tumor efficacy.
Despite active research in virotherapy, this apparently safe modality has not achieved widespread success. The immune response to viral infection appears to be an essential factor that determines the efficacy of oncolytic viral therapy. The challenge is determining whether the viral-elicited immune response is a hindrance or a tool for viral treatment. NK cells are a key component of innate immunity that mediates antiviral immunity while also coordinating tumor clearance. Various reports have suggested that the NK response to oncolytic viral therapy is a critical factor in premature viral clearance while also mediating downstream antitumor immunity. As a result, particular attention should be given to the NK cell response to various oncolytic viral vectors and how their antiviral properties can be suppressed while maintaining tumor clearance. In this review we discuss the current literature on the NK response to oncolytic viral infection and how future studies clarify this intricate response.
Interactions between tumor cells and their microenvironment have been shown to play a very significant role in the initiation, progression, and invasiveness of cancer. These tumor-stromal interactions are capable of altering the delivery and effectiveness of therapeutics into the tumor and are also known to influence future resistance and re-growth after treatment. Here we review recent advances in the understanding of the tumor microenvironment and its response to oncolytic viral therapy. The multifaceted environmental response to viral therapy can influence viral infection, replication, and propagation within the tumor. Recent studies have unveiled the complicated temporal changes in the tumor vasculature post OV treatment, and their impact on tumor biology. Similarly, the secreted extracellular matrix in solid tumors can affect both infection and spread of the therapeutic virus. Together, these complex changes in the tumor microenvironment also modulate the activation of the innate antiviral host immune response, leading to quick and efficient viral clearance. In order to combat these detrimental responses, viruses have been combined with pharmacological adjuvants and “armed” with therapeutic genes in order to suppress the pernicious environmental conditions following therapy. In this review we will discuss the impact of the tumor environment on viral therapy and examine some of the recent literature investigating methods of modulating this environment to enhance oncolysis.
Oncolytic viral therapy is a promising therapeutic modality for brain tumors. Vasculostatin (Vstat120), is the cleaved and secreted extracellular fragment of BAI1, a brain specific receptor. However, the therapeutic efficacy of Vstat120 delivery into established tumors has not been investigated. Here we tested therapeutic efficacy of combining Vstat120 gene delivery in conjunction with oncolytic viral therapy. We constructed a novel oncolytic virus RAMBO: Rapid Anti-angiogensis Mediated By Oncolytic virus, which expresses Vsta120 under the control of an immediate early viral promotor. Secreted Vstat120 was detectable in infected cells as soon as four hours post infection. Vstat120 produced by RAMBO efficiently inhibited endothelial cell migration and tube formation in vitro (P=0.0005 and P=0.0184 respectively) and inhibited angiogeneisis (P=0.007) in vivo. There was a significant suppression of tumors growth in mice bearing intracranial and subcutaneous gliomas treated with RAMBO compared to the control HSVQ treated mice (P=0.0021, and P<0.05 respectively). Statistically significant reduction in tumor vascular volume fraction and microvessel density was observed in tumors treated with RAMBO. This study is the first report of antitumor effects of Vstat120 in established tumors and supports the further development of RAMBO as a possible treatment for cancer.
Glioma; Vasculostatin; Oncolytic virus; HSV-1; angiogenesis
Oncolytic viral therapy is a promising biological therapy for the treatment of cancer. Recent advances in genetic engineering have facilitated the construction of custom-built oncolytic viruses that can be exquisitely targeted to tumors by exploiting each cancer’s unique biology and their efficacy can be further enhanced by “arming” them with additional therapeutic genes. Such an approach allows the virus to unload its “therapeutic cargo” at the tumor site, thereby enhancing its anti-neoplastic properties. While several clever strategies have been recently described using genes that can induce cellular apoptosis/suicide and/or facilitate tumor/virus imaging, viruses armed with genes that also affect the tumor microenvironment present an exciting and promising approach to therapy. In this review we discuss recently developed oncolytic viruses armed with genes encoding for angiostatic factors, inflammatory cytokines, or proteases that modulate the extracellular matrix to regulate tumor vascularization, anti-tumor immune responses and viral spread throughout the solid tumor.
Oncolytic viruses; Tumor microenvironment; angiogenesis; extracellular matrix; cytokines
Clinical trials have proven oncolytic virotherapy to be safe but not effective. We have shown that oncolytic viruses (OV) injected into intracranial gliomas established in rodents are rapidly cleared, and this is associated with up-regulation of markers (CD68 and CD163) of cells of monocytic lineage (monocytes/microglia/macrophages). However, it is unclear whether these cells directly impede intratumoral persistence of OV through phagocytosis and whether they infiltrate the tumor from the blood or the brain parenchyma. To investigate this, we depleted phagocytes with clodronate liposomes (CL) in vivo through systemic delivery and ex vivo in brain slice models with gliomas. Interestingly, systemic CL depleted over 80% of peripheral CD163+ macrophages in animal spleen and peripheral blood, thereby decreasing intratumoral infiltration of these cells, but CD68+ cells were unchanged. Intratumoral viral titers increased 5-fold. In contrast, ex vivo CL depleted only CD68+ cells from brain slices, and intratumoral viral titers increased 10-fold. These data indicate that phagocytosis by both peripheral CD163+ and brain-resident CD68+ cells infiltrating tumor directly affects viral clearance from tumor. Thus, improved therapeutic efficacy may require modulation of these innate immune cells. In support of this new therapeutic paradigm, we observed intratumoral up-regulation of CD68+ and CD163+ cells following treatment with OV in a patient with glioblastoma.
Approaches to improve the oncolytic potency of replication-competent adenoviruses include the insertion of therapeutic transgenes into the viral genome. Little is known about the levels and duration of in vivo transgene expression by cells infected with such “armed” viruses. Using a tumor-selective adenovirus encoding firefly luciferase (AdΔ24CMV-Luc) we investigated these questions in an intracranial mouse model for malignant glioma. Luciferase expression was detected by bioluminescence imaging, and the effect of the immunosuppressive agent cyclophosphamide (CPA) on transgene expression was assessed. Intratumoral AdΔ24CMV-Luc injection led to a localized dose-dependent expression of luciferase. Surprisingly, this expression decreased rapidly during the course of 14 days. In contrast, mice injected with nonreplicating Ad.CMV-Luc demonstrated stable transgene expression. Treatment of mice with CPA in combination with AdΔ24CMV-Luc retarded the loss of transgene expression. Staining of mouse brains for inflammatory cells demonstrated decreased tumor infiltration by immune cells in CPA-treated mice. Moreover, in immunodeficient NOD/SCID mice loss of transgene expression was less rapid and not prevented by CPA treatment. Together, our data demonstrate that transgene expression and viral replication decrease rapidly after intratumoral injection of oncolytic adenovirus in mouse brains and that treatment with the immunomodulator CPA prolongs viral-mediated gene expression.
glioma; oncolytic adenovirus; transgene expression; bioluminescence imaging; immune suppression
Angiogenesis is a critical physiological process that is appropriated during tumorigenesis. Little is known about how this process is specifically regulated in the brain. Brain Angiogenesis Inhibitor-1 (BAI1) is a primarily brain specific seven-transmembrane protein that contains five anti-angiogenic thrombospondin type-1 repeats (TSR). We recently showed that BAI1 is cleaved at a conserved proteolytic cleavage site releasing a soluble, 120 kDa anti-angiogenic factor called Vasculostatin (Vstat120). Vstat120 has been shown to inhibit in vitro angiogenesis and suppress subcutaneous tumor growth. Here, we examine its effect on intracranial growth of malignant gliomas and further study the mechanism of its anti-tumor effects. First, we show that expression of Vstat120 strongly suppresses the intracranial growth of malignant gliomas, even in the presence of the strong pro-angiogenic stimulus mediated by the oncoprotein Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor variant III (EGFRvIII). This tumor suppressive effect is accompanied by a decrease in vascular density in the tumors, suggesting a potent anti-angiogenic effect in the brain. Second, and consistent with this interpretation, we find that treatment with Vstat120 reduces the migration of cultured microvascular endothelial cells in vitro and inhibits corneal angiogenesis in vivo. Third, we demonstrate that these anti-vascular effects are critically dependent on the presence of the cell surface receptor CD36 on endothelial cells in vitro and in vivo, supporting a role of the Vstat120 TSRs in mediating these effects. These results advance the understanding of brain-specific angiogenic regulation, and suggest that Vstat120 has therapeutic potential in the treatment of brain tumors and other intra-cerebral vasculopathies.
Brain Angiogenesis Inhibitor 1 (BAI1); Vasculostatin; brain tumor; glioma
The World Health Organization grossly classifies the various types of astrocytomas using a grade system with grade IV gliomas having the worst prognosis. Oncolytic virus therapy is a novel treatment option for GBM patients. Several patents describe various oncolytic viruses used in preclinical and clinical trials to evaluate safety and efficacy. These viruses are natural or genetically engineered from different viruses such as HSV-1, Adenovirus, Reovirus, and New Castle Disease Virus. While several anecdotal studies have indicated therapeutic advantage, recent clinical trials have revealed the safety of their usage, but demonstration of significant efficacy remains to be established. Oncolytic viruses are being redesigned with an interest in combating the tumor microenvironment in addition to defeating the cancerous cells. Several patents describe the inclusion of tumor microenvironment modulating genes within the viral backbone and in particular those which attack the tumor angiotome. The very innovative approaches being used to improve therapeutic efficacy include: design of viruses which can express cytokines to activate a systemic antitumor immune response, inclusion of angiostatic genes to combat tumor vasculature, and also enzymes capable of digesting tumor extra cellular matrix (ECM) to enhance viral spread through solid tumors. As increasingly more novel viruses are being tested and patented, the future battle against glioma looks promising.
Patent; glioma; astrocytoma; oncolytic virus; HSV-1; adenovirus; reovirus; new castle disease virus; angiogenesis; immune system; extra cellular matrix
Oncolytic viral therapy is under evaluation for toxicity and efficacy in clinical trials relating to several different tumors. We report a significant increase in the angiogenic index of oncolytic virus (OV)-treated glioma-matrigel implants (2.83-fold, P < 0.02). In a rat intracranial glioma model, large tumors from OV-treated animals were significantly more angiogenic than the phosphate-buffered saline (PBS)-treated control tumors (OV: 101 ± 21.6; PBS: 19.8 ± 10; P = 0.0037). Transcript profiling of OV-treated tumors revealed dysregulation of several transcripts involved in glioma angiogenesis. OV-mediated induction of CYR61 gene expression (8.94-fold, P = 0.001) correlated significantly with the presence of OV in tumor tissue in vivo (R = 0.7, P < 0.001). Further, induction of CYR61 mRNA and protein were confirmed in multiple human cancer cell lines and primary human tumor-derived cells in vitro, and in tumor lysate and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in vivo. Finally, we show that treatment of glioma cells with Cilengitide, known to counter CYR61-induced integrin activation, significantly suppressed the proangiogenic effect of OV treatment of gliomas (P < 0.05).
Glioblastomas, like other solid tumors, have extensive areas of hypoxia and necrosis. The importance of hypoxia in driving tumor growth is receiving increased attention. Hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (HIF-1) is one of the master regulators that orchestrate the cellular responses to hypoxia. It is a heterodimeric transcription factor composed of α and β subunits. The α subunit is stable in hypoxic conditions but is rapidly degraded in normoxia. The function of HIF-1 is also modulated by several molecular mechanisms that regulate its synthesis, degradation, and transcriptional activity. Upon stabilization or activation, HIF-1 translocates to the nucleus and induces transcription of its downstream target genes. Most important to gliomagenesis, HIF-1 is a potent activator of angiogenesis and invasion through its upregulation of target genes critical for these functions. Activation of the HIF-1 pathway is a common feature of gliomas and may explain the intense vascular hyperplasia often seen in glioblastoma multiforme. Activation of HIF results in the activation of vascular endothelial growth factors, vascular endothelial growth factor receptors, matrix metalloproteinases, plasminogen activator inhibitor, transforming growth factors α and β, angiopoietin and Tie receptors, endothelin-1, inducible nitric oxide synthase, adrenomedullin, and erythropoietin, which all affect glioma angiogenesis. In conclusion, HIF is a critical regulatory factor in the tumor microenvironment because of its central role in promoting proangiogenic and invasive properties. While HIF activation strongly promotes angiogenesis, the emerging vasculature is often abnormal, leading to a vicious cycle that causes further hypoxia and HIF upregulation.
UV damage endonuclease (Uve1p) from Schizosaccharomyces pombe was initially described as a DNA repair enzyme specific for the repair of UV light-induced photoproducts and proposed as the initial step in an alternative excision repair pathway. Here we present biochemical and genetic evidence demonstrating that Uve1p is also a mismatch repair endonuclease which recognizes and cleaves DNA 5′ to the mispaired base in a strand-specific manner. The biochemical properties of the Uve1p-mediated mismatch endonuclease activity are similar to those of the Uve1p-mediated UV photoproduct endonuclease. Mutants lacking Uve1p display a spontaneous mutator phenotype, further confirming the notion that Uve1p plays a role in mismatch repair. These results suggest that Uve1p has a surprisingly broad substrate specificity and may function as a general type of DNA repair protein with the capacity to initiate mismatch repair in certain organisms.