Targeting pediatric cancer stem cells with oncolytic virotherapy.

Academic Article


  • Cancer stem cells (CSCs), also termed "cancer-initiating cells" or "cancer progenitor cells," which have the ability to self-renew, proliferate, and maintain the neoplastic clone, have recently been discovered in a wide variety of pediatric tumors. These CSCs are thought to be responsible for tumorigenesis and tumor maintenance, aggressiveness, and recurrence due to inherent resistance to current treatment modalities such as chemotherapy and radiation. Oncolytic virotherapy offers a novel, targeted approach for eradicating pediatric CSCs using mechanisms of cell killing that differ from conventional therapies. Moreover, oncolytic viruses have the ability to target specific features of CSCs such as cell-surface proteins, transcription factors, and the CSC microenvironment. Through genetic engineering, a wide variety of foreign genes may be expressed by oncolytic viruses to augment the oncolytic effect. We review the current data regarding the ability of several types of oncolytic viruses (herpes simplex virus-1, adenovirus, reovirus, Seneca Valley virus, vaccinia virus, Newcastle disease virus, myxoma virus, vesicular stomatitis virus) to target and kill both CSCs and tumor cells in pediatric tumors. We highlight advantages and limitations of each virus and potential ways in which next-generation engineered viruses may target resilient CSCs.
  • Published In

  • Pediatric Research  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Friedman GK; Cassady KA; Beierle EA; Markert JM; Gillespie GY
  • Start Page

  • 500
  • End Page

  • 510
  • Volume

  • 71
  • Issue

  • 4 Pt 2