The role of cyclophosphamide in enhancing antitumor efficacy of an adenovirus oncolytic vector in subcutaneous Syrian hamster tumors

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We have previously reported that intratumoral injection of VRX-007—an Ad5 (a species C adenovirus)-based vector overexpressing adenovirus death protein—can suppress the growth of subcutaneous HaK (hamster renal cancer) tumors. VRX-007 replication and tumor growth inhibition are enhanced when the hamsters are immunosuppressed by a high dose of cyclophosphamide (CP), an immunosuppressive and chemotherapeutic agent. Here, we report that continuous immunosuppression with CP was not required for increased oncolytic activity of VRX-007 because short-term dosing or continuous dosing with the drug yielded similar antitumor results. Prolonged viral replication was found only in animals on continuous CP treatment. We used 007-Luc, a replication-competent, luciferase-expressing vector similar to VRX-007, to investigate the replication of the vector over time. Tumor growth inhibition was similar in hamsters given CP treatment either 1 week before or 1 week after 007-Luc injection, which suggests that CP exerts its antitumor efficacy independently of vector therapy. 007-Luc did not spread far from the inoculation site, even in immunosuppressed, CP-treated animals. Our results indicate that the enhanced effectiveness that is produced by the combination of VRX-007 and CP therapies is due to their two independent mechanisms and that they do not have to be given simultaneously for the improved outcome.

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