Neoadjuvant oncolytic virotherapy before surgery sensitizes triple-negative breast cancer to immune checkpoint therapy

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Abstract

Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is an aggressive disease for which treatment options are limited and associated with severe toxicities. Immunotherapeutic approaches like immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) are a potential strategy, but clinical trials have demonstrated limited success in this patient cohort. Clinical studies using ICIs have revealed that patients with preexisting anticancer immunity are the most responsive. Given that oncolytic viruses (OVs) induce antitumor immunity, we investigated their use as an ICI-sensitizing approach. Using a therapeutic model that mimics the course of treatment for women with newly diagnosed TNBC, we demonstrate that early OV treatment coupled with surgical resection provides long-term benefits. OV therapy sensitizes otherwise refractory TNBC to immune checkpoint blockade, preventing relapse in most of the treated animals. We suggest that OV therapy in combination with immune checkpoint blockade warrants testing as a neoadjuvant treatment option in the window of opportunity between TNBC diagnosis and surgical resection.

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