Oncolytic viruses: emerging options for the treatment of breast cancer


Breast cancer (BC) is the most common type of cancer among women and is the second most common cause of cancer-related deaths, following lung cancer. Severe toxicity associated with a long-term use of BC chemo- and radiotherapy makes it essential to look for newer therapeutics. Additionally, molecular heterogeneity at both intratumoral and intertumoral levels among BC subtypes is known to result in a differential response to standard therapeutics. Oncolytic viruses (OVs) have emerged as one of the most promising treatment options for BC. Many preclinical and clinical studies have shown that OVs are effective in treating BC, both as a single therapeutic agent and as a part of combination therapies. Combination therapies involving multimodal therapeutics including OVs are becoming popular as they allow to achieve the synergistic therapeutic effects, while minimizing the associated toxicities. Here, we review the OVs for BC therapy in preclinical studies and in clinical trials, both as a monotherapy and as part of a combination therapy. We also briefly discuss the potential therapeutic targets for BC, as these are likely to be critical for the development of new OVs.

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We are grateful to Rob Eversole, David Jeng, Sandhya Hasure and Farzad Razi for editorial comments. Funding was provided by Western Michigan University Fund 23.

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Correspondence to Karim Essani.

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Suryawanshi, Y.R., Zhang, T. & Essani, K. Oncolytic viruses: emerging options for the treatment of breast cancer. Med Oncol 34, 43 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12032-017-0899-0

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  • Oncolytic virus
  • Breast cancer
  • Targeted therapy
  • Tumor microenvironment
  • Combination therapy