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Cancer Gene Ther. 2005 Feb;12(2):141-61.

Replication-selective oncolytic viruses in the treatment of cancer.

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Department of Biomedical sciences, University of Amsterdam, Kruislaan 318, 1098 SM, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Erratum in

  • Cancer Gene Ther. 2005 Apr;12(4):438.


In the search for novel strategies, oncolytic virotherapy has recently emerged as a viable approach to specifically kill tumor cells. Unlike conventional gene therapy, it uses replication competent viruses that are able to spread through tumor tissue by virtue of viral replication and concomitant cell lysis. Recent advances in molecular biology have allowed the design of several genetically modified viruses, such as adenovirus and herpes simplex virus that specifically replicate in, and kill tumor cells. On the other hand, viruses with intrinsic oncolytic capacity are also being evaluated for therapeutic purposes. In this review, an overview is given of the general mechanisms and genetic modifications by which these viruses achieve tumor cell-specific replication and antitumor efficacy. However, although generally the oncolytic efficacy of these approaches has been demonstrated in preclinical studies the therapeutic efficacy in clinical trails is still not optimal. Therefore, strategies are evaluated that could further enhance the oncolytic potential of conditionally replicating viruses. In this respect, the use of tumor-selective viruses in conjunction with other standard therapies seems most promising. However, still several hurdles regarding clinical limitations and safety issues should be overcome before this mode of therapy can become of clinical relevance.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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