Rationale: Given recent success in delivering interferon-beta (IFNβ) using replication incompetent adenovirus in patients with malignant pleural effusions, we hypothesized that vectors that could replicate (inducing oncolysis) and express IFNβ at high level would be more effective. Both vaccinia virus (VV) and vesicular stomatitis (VSV) expressing mouse IFNβ have been constructed in a manner to improve their safety and efficacy as oncolytic vectors. In this study, we evaluated these two oncolytic vectors in different murine thoracic cancer models for clinical translation.

Experimental procedures: We compared the efficacy of VVIFNβ and VSVIFNβ to kill 3 mouse lung cancer and 4 mouse mesothelioma lines in vitro over a 5 day-period assessing cell viability by MTT assay. The amount of IFNβ produced by these two vectors were measured with ELISA. The viral replication in infected mice was assessed by measuring viral titers in both immunocompetent and immunodeficient mice bearing an IFN-non-responsive AB12 tumor, following intratumoral injection of either vector at 108 pfu/mouse. To assess their anti-tumor activity, the two vectors were also given at 108 pfu/mouse intratumorally in mice bearing two lung cancer tumors on their flanks.

Results: The replication of VSVIFNβ and its killing ability was limited in some of the tumor lines. This appeared to be due to an intact IFN response pathway. In contrast, VVIFNβ was able to kill all of the tumor lines. In culture, VSV replicates faster than VV, which resulted in faster cell killing (in susceptible cell lines), but with less IFNβ production. The amount of IFNβ production by VVIFNβ was comparable with AdIFNβ over a 5 day period. VVIFNβ-infected immunodeficient mice showed minimal or no toxicity when given virus intravenously, while all 5 mice infected with VSVIFNβ developed neurotoxicity within a week. In the TC-1 lung cancer model, VVIFNβ caused tumor regression, while VSVIFNβ and AdIFNβ were completely ineffective. In a second model using LKRM2, all 3 viral vectors were equivalent. The anti-tumor effect of VVIFNβ was shown to be mainly CD8 dependant, as depletion of CD8 with antibody dampened the tumor growth inhibition from 48% to 20%.

Conclusions: Overall, VVIFNβ appears to be a better oncolytic vector than VSVIFNβ for a number of reasons: 1) it is safer, 2) it is able to replicate in vitro and in vivo in almost every cell line tested, 3) it induces longer and larger IFNβ production, and 4) it can potentially be given intravenously.

Citation Format: {Authors}. {Abstract title} [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the 101st Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research; 2010 Apr 17-21; Washington, DC. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2010;70(8 Suppl):Abstract nr 1513.