Purpose: Oncolytic adenoviruses (Ad) represent an innovative approach to cancer therapy. Its efficacy depends on multiple actions, including direct tumor lysis and stimulation of antiviral and antitumor immune responses. In this study, we investigated the roles of T-cell responses in oncolytic adenoviral therapy.
Experimental Design: An immunocompetent and viral replication–permissive Syrian hamster tumor model was used. The therapeutic mechanisms of oncolytic Ad were investigated by T-cell deletion, immunohistochemical staining, and CTL assay.
Results: Deletion of T cells with an anti-CD3 antibody completely demolished the antitumor efficacy of oncolytic Ad. Intratumoral injection of Ad induced strong virus- and tumor-specific T-cell responses, as well as antiviral antibody response. Both antiviral and antitumor T-cell responses contributed to the efficacy of oncolytic Ad. Deletion of T cells increased viral replication and extended the persistence of infectious virus within tumors but almost abrogated the antitumor efficacy. Preexisting antiviral immunity promoted the clearance of injected oncolytic Ad from tumors but had no effect on antitumor efficacy. Strikingly, the repeated treatment with oncolytic Ad has strong therapeutic effect on relapsed tumors or tumors insensitive to the primary viral therapy.
Conclusions: These results demonstrate that T cell–mediated immune responses outweigh the direct oncolysis in mediating antitumor efficacy of oncolytic Ad. Our data have a high impact on redesigning the regimen of oncolytic Ad for cancer treatment. Clin Cancer Res; 23(1); 239–49. ©2016 AACR.