An oncolytic vaccinia virus encoding hyaluronidase reshapes the extracellular matrix to enhance cancer chemotherapy and immunotherapy

March, 03, 2024 | Select Oncology Journal Articles


The redundant extracellular matrix (ECM) within tumor microenvironment (TME) such as hyaluronic acid (HA) often impairs intratumoral dissemination of antitumor drugs. Oncolytic viruses (OVs) are being studied extensively for cancer therapy either alone or in conjunction with chemotherapy and immunotherapy. Here, we designed a novel recombinant vaccinia virus encoding a soluble version of hyaluronidase Hyal1 (OVV-Hyal1) to degrade the HA and investigated its antitumor effects in combination with chemo drugs, polypeptide, immune cells, and antibodies.


We constructed a recombinant oncolytic vaccinia virus encoding the hyaluronidase, and investigated its function in remodeling the ECM of the TME, the antitumor efficacy both in vitro and in several murine solid tumors either alone, or in combination with chemo drugs including doxorubicin and gemcitabine, with polypeptide liraglutide, with immune therapeutics such as PD-L1/PD-1 blockade, CD47 antibody, and with CAR-T cells.


Compared with control OVV, intratumoral injection of OVV-Hyal1 showed superior antitumor efficacies in a series of mouse subcutaneous tumor models. Moreover, HA degradation by OVV-Hyal1 resulted in increased intratumoral dissemination of chemo drugs, infiltration of T cells, NK cells, macrophages, and activation of CD8+ T cells. When OVV-Hyal1 was combined with some antitumor therapeutics, for example, doxorubicin, gemcitabine, liraglutide, anti-PD-1, anti-CD47 blockade, or CAR-T cells, more profound therapeutic outcomes were obtained.


OVV-Hyal1 effectively degrades HA to reshape the TME, therefore overcoming some major hurdles in current cancer therapy, such as limited OVs spread, unfavored dissemination of chemo drugs, polypeptides, antibodies, and insufficient infiltration of effector immune cells. OVV-Hyal1 holds the promise to improve the antitumor outcomes of current cancer therapeutics.

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