The Effect of Herpes Simplex Virus-Type-1 (HSV-1) Oncolytic Immunotherapy on the Tumor Microenvironment

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The development of cancer causes disruption of anti-tumor immunity required for surveillance and elimination of tumor cells. Immunotherapeutic strategies aim for the restoration or establishment of these anti-tumor immune responses. Cancer immunotherapies include immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs), adoptive cellular therapy (ACT), cancer vaccines, and oncolytic virotherapy (OVT). The clinical success of some of these immunotherapeutic modalities, including herpes simplex virus type-1 derived OVT, resulted in Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for use in treatment of human cancers. However, a significant proportion of patients do not respond or benefit equally from these immunotherapies. The creation of an immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment (TME) represents an important barrier preventing success of many immunotherapeutic approaches. Mechanisms of immunosuppression in the TME are a major area of current research. In this review, we discuss how oncolytic HSV affects the tumor microenvironment to promote anti-tumor immune responses. Where possible we focus on oncolytic HSV strains for which clinical data is available, and discuss how these viruses alter the vasculature, extracellular matrix and immune responses in the tumor microenvironment.

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