Pemra Nesil1, Züleyha Pestil2, Oytun Erbaş1

1ERBAS Institute of Experimental Medicine, Illinois, USA & Gebze, Turkey
2Pendik Veterinary Control Institute, İstanbul, Turkey

Keywords: Cancer immunotherapy, engineered viruses, oncolytic virus, tumor receptors, virotherapy


Oncolytic viruses (OVs) are effective in curing cancer as they selectively infect and kill malignant tissues while causing no harm to healthy tissues. Every virus has a unique cellular tropism that dictates which tissues are preferentially infected and what disease is caused. Numerous naturally occurring viruses have a preferred, but not exclusive, affinity for tumors and tumor cells. This likely has more to do with tumor biology than virus biology since most tumors have evolved to resist apoptosis and translational suppression, which are essential responses used by normal cells to limit a virus infection. This means that tumor biology rather than virus biology is more likely to be at play here. Infected cancer cells can be eliminated by OVs in a variety of ways, from direct virus-mediated cytotoxicity to diverse cytotoxic immune effector pathways. Viruses typically infect a small number of host species, and productive infection beyond the native host range only rarely occurs. A novel host species' infection may present as a unique disease. In this context, using nonhuman viruses in clinical treatment can raise some red flags. It may give the viruses a chance to adapt to the new host and spread to the recipient's family members, healthcare providers, or even the typical host species. Clearly, such environmental damage is not desired, particularly in light of the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic. This review primarily attempts to evaluate the impact of the most prevalent OVs and their action mechanism and explore potential future consequences of non-human viruses on human cancer therapy.

Cite this article as: Nesil P, Pestil Z, Erbaş O. How Can a Virus Infection Treat Cancer? Relevance to Non-Human Viruses and the Use of Oncolytic Viruses. JEB Med Sci 2022;3(2):158-172.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declared no conflicts of interest with respect to the authorship and/or publication of this article.

Financial Disclosure

The authors received no financial support for the research and/or authorship of this article.