Combination oncolytic virus, radiation therapy, and immune checkpoint inhibitor treatment in anti-PD-1-refractory cancer

Sachin R. Jhawar, Shang Jui Wang, Aditya Thandoni, Praveen K. Bommareddy, Jenna H. Newman, Amanda L. Marzo, Timothy M. Kuzel, Vineet Gupta, Jochen Reiser, Preston Daniels, Devora Schiff, Darrion Mitchell, Nicole R. Leboeuf, Christopher Simmons, Sharad Goyal, Ahmed Lasfar, Jose A. Guevara-Patino, Bruce G. Haffty, Howard L. Kaufman, Ann W. SilkAndrew Zloza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background Immunotherapies are becoming front-line treatments for many advanced cancers, and combinations of two or more therapies are beginning to be investigated. Based on their individual antitumor capabilities, we sought to determine whether combination oncolytic virus (OV) and radiation therapy (RT) may improve cancer outcomes. Methods To investigate the activity of this combination therapy, we used in vitro mouse and human cancer cell lines as well as a mouse model of skin cancer. After initial results, we further included immune checkpoint blockade, whose addition constituted a triple combination immunotherapy. Results Our findings demonstrate that OV and RT reduce tumor growth via conversion of immunologically 'cold' tumors to 'hot', via a CD8+ T cell-dependent and IL-1α-dependent mechanism that is associated with increased PD-1/PD-L1 expression, and the triple combination of OV, RT, and PD-1 checkpoint inhibition impedes tumor growth and prolongs survival. Further, we describe the response of a PD-1-refractory patient with cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma who received the triple combination of OV, RT, and immune checkpoint inhibitor (ICI), and went on to experience unexpected, prolonged control and survival. He remains off-treatment and is without evidence of progression for >44 months since study entry. Conclusions Effective systemic antitumor immune response is rarely elicited by a single therapy. In a skin cancer mouse model, we demonstrate improved outcomes with combination OV, RT, and ICI treatment, which is associated with mechanisms involving augmented CD8+ T cell infiltration and IL-1α expression. We report tumor reduction and prolonged survival of a patient with skin cancer treated with combination OV, RT, and ICI. Overall, our data provide strong rationale for combining OV, RT, and ICI for treatment of patients with ICI-refractory skin and potentially other cancers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere006780
JournalJournal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 11 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors
  • Oncolytic Viruses
  • Radioimmunotherapy
  • Skin Neoplasms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Oncology
  • Pharmacology
  • Cancer Research


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