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Immunogenicity of oncolytic vaccinia viruses JX-GFP and TG6002 in a human melanoma in vitro model: studying immunogenic cell death, dendritic cell maturation and interaction with cytotoxic T lymphocytes

Authors Heinrich B, Klein J, Delic M, Goepfert K, Engel V, Geberzahn L, Lusky M, Erbs P, Preville X, Moehler M

Received 1 November 2016

Accepted for publication 10 February 2017

Published 2 May 2017 Volume 2017:10 Pages 2389—2401


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Ingrid Espinoza

B Heinrich,1 J Klein,1 M Delic,1 K Goepfert,1 V Engel,1 L Geberzahn,1 M Lusky,2 P Erbs,2 X Preville,3 M Moehler1

1First Department of Internal Medicine, University Medical Center Mainz, Mainz, Germany; 2Transgene SA, Illkirch-Graffenstaden, 3Amoneta Diagnostics, Huningue, France

Abstract: Oncolytic virotherapy is an emerging immunotherapeutic modality for cancer treatment. Oncolytic viruses with genetic modifications can further enhance the oncolytic effects on tumor cells and stimulate antitumor immunity. The oncolytic vaccinia viruses JX-594-GFP+/hGM-CSF (JX-GFP) and TG6002 are genetically modified by secreting granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) or transforming 5-fluorocytosine (5-FC) into 5-fluorouracil (5-FU). We compared their properties to kill tumor cells and induce an immunogenic type of cell death in a human melanoma cell model using SK29-MEL melanoma cells. Their influence on human immune cells, specifically regarding the activation of dendritic cells (DCs) and the interaction with the autologous cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) clone, was investigated. Melanoma cells were infected with either JX-GFP or TG6002 alone or in combination with 5-FC and 5-FU. The influence of viral infection on cell viability followed a time- and multiplicity of infection dependent manner. Combination of virus treatment with 5-FU resulted in stronger reduction of cell viability. TG6002 in combination with 5-FC did not significantly strengthen the reduction of cell viability in this setting. Expression of calreticulin and high mobility group 1 protein (HMGB1), markers of immunogenic cell death (ICD), could be detected after viral infection. Accordingly, DC maturation was noted after viral oncolysis. DCs presented stronger expression of activation and maturation markers. The autologous CTL clone IVSB expressed the activation marker CD69, but viral treatment failed to enhance cytotoxicity marker. In summary, vaccinia viruses JX-GFP and TG6002 lyse melanoma cells and induce additional immunostimulatory effects to promote antitumor immune response. Further investigation in vivo is needed to consolidate the data.

Keywords: oncolytic virus, vaccinia virus, immunogenic cell death, dendritic cells, cytotoxic T lymphocytes, immunotherapy

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