Reprogramming antitumor immunity against chemoresistant ovarian cancer by a CXCR4 antagonist-armed viral oncotherapy

Marcin P. Komorowski, Aj Robert McGray, Agnieszka Kolakowska, Kevin Eng, Margaret Gil, Mateusz Opyrchal, Bogumila Litwinska, Michael J. Nemeth, Kunle O. Odunsi, Danuta Kozbor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Ovarian cancer remains the most lethal gynecologic malignancy owing to late detection, intrinsic and acquired chemoresistance, and remarkable heterogeneity. Here, we explored approaches to inhibit metastatic growth of murine and human ovarian tumor variants resistant to paclitaxel and carboplatin by oncolytic vaccinia virus expressing a CXCR4 antagonist to target the CXCL12 chemokine/CXCR4 receptor signaling axis alone or in combination with doxorubicin. The resistant variants exhibited augmented expression of the hyaluronan receptor CD44 and CXCR4 along with elevated Akt and ERK1/2 activation and displayed an increased susceptibility to viral infection compared with the parental counterparts. The infected cultures were more sensitive to doxorubicin-mediated killing both in vitro and in tumor-challenged mice. Mechanistically, the combination treatment increased apoptosis and phagocytosis of tumor material by dendritic cells associated with induction of antitumor immunity. Targeting syngeneic tumors with this regimen increased intratumoral infiltration of antitumor CD8 + T cells. This was further enhanced by reducing the immunosuppressive network by the virally-delivered CXCR4 antagonist, which augmented antitumor immune responses and led to tumor-free survival. Our results define novel strategies for treatment of drug-resistant ovarian cancer that increase immunogenic cell death and reverse the immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment, culminating in antitumor immune responses that control metastatic tumor growth.

Original languageEnglish
Article number16034
Pages (from-to)16034
Number of pages1
JournalMolecular Therapy - Oncolytics
StatePublished - Dec 14 2016


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