Despite intensive research efforts and therapeutic advances over the last few decades, the pediatric neural crest tumor, neuroblastoma, continues to be responsible for over 15% of pediatric cancer deaths. Novel therapeutic options are needed for this tumor. Recently, investigators have shown that mice with syngeneic murine gliomas treated with an engineered, neuroattenuated oncolytic herpes simplex virus-1 (oHSV), M002, had a significant increase in survival. M002 has deletions in both copies of the γ134.5 gene, enabling replication in tumor cells but precluding infection of normal neural cells. We hypothesized that M002 would also be effective in the neural crest tumor, neuroblastoma. We showed that M002 infected, replicated, and decreased survival in neuroblastoma cell lines. In addition, we showed that in murine xenografts, treatment with M002 significantly decreased tumor growth, and that this effect was augmented with the addition of ionizing radiation. Importantly, survival could be increased by subsequent doses of radiation without re-dosing of the virus. Finally, these studies showed that the primary entry protein for oHSV, CD111 was expressed by numerous neuroblastoma cell lines and was also present in human neuroblastoma specimens. We concluded that M002 effectively targeted neuroblastoma and that this oHSV may have potential for use in children with unresponsive or relapsed neuroblastoma.
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