Reovirus is a systemically delivered oncolytic agent with evidence of activity in both pre-clinical models and in early phase clinical trials. Reovirus has direct oncolytic activity against many human/murine tumor cells, as well as activating anti-tumor innate and adaptive immunity. Having previously shown that intravenously delivered reovirus selectively accesses colorectal cancer metastatic to the liver in patients, in this study we explored the potential of systemic reovirus for the treatment of both primary and secondary brain tumors. We first showed that intravenous reovirus can be detected in tumors implanted into the brains of immunocompetent mice. We then tested our current most potent reovirus-based therapy (systemic reovirus plus granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factor [GMCSF] in reovirus pre-immune mice), and showed effective therapy in immunocompetent murine models of primary glioma, and of both directly reovirus sensitive, and insensitive, models of melanoma brain metastases. We also found that addition of reovirus/GMCSF to clinical ‘standard of care’ (radiotherapy and temozolamide chemotherapy) significantly enhances survival. In parallel to these pre-clinical experiments, we have initiated an open-label, non-randomized study of intravenous reovirus administered to patients prior to planned surgery for recurrent high grade glioma or metastatic brain tumors, to test whether the data showing access of the agent to tumors in the brains in mice, also applies to humans. In total, 10 patients will be treated with a single infusion of 1x1010 TCID50 of reovirus, of which 9 have completed the study to date. The primary objective is the presence of reovirus in the resected tumors as assessed by immunohistochemistry, RNA in-situ hybridization and retrieval of infectious virions. Early analysis of the first 3 patients, comprising one glioblastoma multiforme, one grade 3 oligodendroglioma and one colorectal brain metastasis, has shown that all 3 resected tumors contained reovirus RNA and protein. There was also evidence for productive reovirus infection in 2 of the tumors. Within all patients to date, the only grade 3-4 adverse reaction has been neutropaenia in 1 patient. Further tissue analysis is ongoing, as is testing of blood samples from these patients to further charactize how reovirus is carried in the blood and protected from neutralizing antibodies. This clinical study shows, for the first time that an oncolytic virus, reovirus, infects and replicates in brain tumors following intravenous administration. Together with pre-clinical data showing the efficacy of systemic reovirus in combination with GMCSF/radiation/temozolamide, these findings support the future development of trials and combination studies using reovirus in patients with high grade gliomas and brain metastases.
Citation Format: Adel Jebar, Liz Ilett, Tim Kottke, Emma West, Karen Scott, Simon Thomson, Matt Coffey, Gerard Nuovo, Susan Short, Richard Vile, Alan Melcher. Systemic oncolytic reovirus for the treatment of primary and secondary brain tumors. [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the AACR Special Conference: Tumor Immunology and Immunotherapy: A New Chapter; December 1-4, 2014; Orlando, FL. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Immunol Res 2015;3(10 Suppl):Abstract nr A49.