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Oncolytic Virother. 2018 Jun 14;7:53-63. doi: 10.2147/OV.S143808. eCollection 2018.

Current understanding of reovirus oncolysis mechanisms.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Atlanta, GA, USA.
Department of Pediatrics, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA.


Mammalian orthoreovirus (reovirus) is under development as a cancer virotherapy. Clinical trials demonstrate that reovirus-based therapies are safe and tolerated in patients with a wide variety of cancers. Although reovirus monotherapy has proven largely ineffective, reovirus sensitizes cancer cells to existing chemotherapeutic agents and radiation. Clinical trials are underway to test the efficacy of reovirus in combination with chemotherapeutic and radiation regimens and to evaluate the effectiveness of reovirus in conjunction with immunotherapies. Central to the use of reovirus to treat cancer is its capacity to directly kill cancer cells and alter the cellular environment to augment other therapies. Apoptotic cell death is a prominent mechanism of reovirus cancer cell killing. However, reoviruses can also kill cancer cells through nonapoptotic mechanisms. Here, we describe mechanisms of reovirus cancer cell killing, highlight how reovirus is used in combination with existing cancer treatments, and discuss what is known as to how reovirus modulates cancer immunotherapy.


cancer; cell death; immunotherapy; interferon; virotherapy

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