Oncolytic virotherapy for malignant glioma: Translating laboratory insights into clinical practice

Brenda Auffinger, Atique U. Ahmed, Maciej S. Lesniak*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Glioblastoma multiforme, one of the most common and aggressive brain tumors in adults, is highly resistant to currently available therapies and often recurs. Due to its poor prognosis and difficult management, there is an urgent need for the development and translation of new anti-glioma therapeutic approaches into the clinic. In this context, oncolytic virotherapy arises as an exciting treatment option for glioma patients. These natural or genetically engineered viruses are able to effectively infect cancer cells, inducing a specific anti-tumor cytotoxic effect. In addition, some viruses have been redesigned to modulate glioma microenvironment, to express cytokines to boost a systemic anti-glioma immune response and to incorporate angiostatic genes to decrease glioma vasculature. Although recent clinical trials have confirmed the safety of oncolytic virotherapies in the brain, their moderate clinical efficacy has not yet matched the encouraging preclinical laboratory results. In this review, we will discuss the leading anti-glioma virotherapy approaches that are presently under preclinical and clinical evaluation. We will also review different delivery methods, in vivo virus behavior, fate, replication, intratumoral spread, activation of anti-tumor immune response, and targeting of glioma stem cells. We will focus on the advantages and limitations of each therapeutic approach and how to overcome these hurdles to effectively translate exciting laboratory results into promising clinical trials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberArticle 00032
JournalFrontiers in Oncology
Volume3 FEB
StatePublished - 2013


  • Cancer stem cells
  • Challenges
  • Immunomodulation
  • Malignant glioma
  • Oncolytic virotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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