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Oncotarget. 2018 Jan 5;9(5):6320-6335. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.23967. eCollection 2018 Jan 19.

Interleukin 8 activity influences the efficacy of adenoviral oncolytic immunotherapy in cancer patients.

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Cancer Gene Therapy Group, University of Helsinki, Faculty of Medicine, Helsinki, Finland.
Department of Neurosurgery, HUCH, Helsinki, Finland.
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, HUCH, Helsinki, Finland.
Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland (FIMM), University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.
Docrates Cancer Center, Helsinki, Finland.
TILT Biotherapeutics Ltd., Helsinki, Finland.
Helsinki University Hospital Comprehensive Cancer Center, Helsinki, Finland.


After the landmark approval of T-VEC, oncolytic viruses are finding their way to the clinics. However, response rates have still room for improvement, and unfortunately there are currently no available markers to predict responses for oncolytic immunotherapy. Interleukin 8 (IL-8) production is upregulated in many cancers and it also connects to several pathways that have been shown to impair the efficacy of adenoviral immunotherapy. We studied the role of IL-8 in 103 cancer patients treated with oncolytic adenoviruses. We found high baseline serum IL-8 concentration to be independently associated with poor prognosis (p<0.001). Further, normal baseline IL-8 was associated with improved prognostic potential of calculation of the neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (p<0.001). Interestingly, a decrease in IL-8 concentration after treatment with oncolytic adenovirus predicted better overall survival (p<0.001) and higher response rate, although this difference was not significant (p=0.066). We studied the combination of adenovirus and IL-8 neutralizing antibody ex vivo in single cell suspensions and in co-cultures of tumor-associated CD15+ neutrophils and CD3+ tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes derived from fresh patient tumor samples. These results indicate a role for IL-8 as a biomarker in oncolytic virotherapy, but additionally provide a rationale for targeting IL-8 to improve treatment efficacy. In conclusion, curtailing the activity of IL-8 systemically or locally in the tumor microenvironment could improve anti-tumor immune responses resulting in enhanced efficacy of adenoviral immunotherapy of cancer.


anti-tumor immunity; cytokines; immunomodulation; neutrophils; oncolytic adenovirus

Conflict of interest statement

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST A.H. is employee and shareholder in TILT Biotherapeutics Ltd. and shareholder in Targovax ASA.

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