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Gene Ther. 2015 Dec;22(12):947-59. doi: 10.1038/gt.2015.72. Epub 2015 Jul 21.

In vitro screening of clinical drugs identifies sensitizers of oncolytic viral therapy in glioblastoma stem-like cells.

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Department of Neurosurgery, Brain Tumor Center Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
Harvey Cushing Neuro-oncology Laboratories, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.
Department of Immunology, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
Department of Bioinformatics, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
Department of Neurosurgery, Massachussets General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.
Department of Viroscience Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
Department of Neurosurgery, Elisabeth Hospital, Tilburg, The Netherlands.


Oncolytic viruses (OV) have broad potential as an adjuvant for the treatment of solid tumors. The present study addresses the feasibility of clinically applicable drugs to enhance the oncolytic potential of the OV Delta24-RGD in glioblastoma. In total, 446 drugs were screened for their viral sensitizing properties in glioblastoma stem-like cells (GSCs) in vitro. Validation was done for 10 drugs to determine synergy based on the Chou Talalay assay. Mechanistic studies were undertaken to assess viability, replication efficacy, viral infection enhancement and cell death pathway induction in a selected panel of drugs. Four viral sensitizers (fluphenazine, indirubin, lofepramine and ranolazine) were demonstrated to reproducibly synergize with Delta24-RGD in multiple assays. After validation, we underscored general applicability by testing candidate drugs in a broader context of a panel of different GSCs, various solid tumor models and multiple OVs. Overall, this study identified four viral sensitizers, which synergize with Delta24-RGD and two other strains of OVs. The viral sensitizers interact with infection, replication and cell death pathways to enhance efficacy of the OV.

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