Combination immunotherapy including OncoVEXmGMCSF creates a favorable tumor immune micro-environment in transgenic BRAF murine melanoma

Robyn D. Gartrell, Zoë Blake, Emanuelle M. Rizk, Rolando Perez-Lorenzo, Stuart P. Weisberg, Ines Simoes, Camden Esancy, Yichun Fu, Danielle R. Davari, Luke Barker, Grace Finkel, Manas Mondal, Hanna E. Minns, Samuel W. Wang, Benjamin T. Fullerton, Francisco Lozano, Codruta Chiuzan, Basil Horst, Yvonne M. Saenger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Talimogene Laherparepvec (OncoVEXmGMCSF), an oncolytic virus, immune checkpoint inhibitor anti-programmed cell death protein 1 (anti-PD1), and BRAF inhibition (BRAFi), are all clinically approved for treatment of melanoma patients and are effective through diverse mechanisms of action. Individually, these therapies also have an effect on the tumor immune microenvironment (TIME). Evaluating the combination effect of these three therapies on the TIME can help determine when combination therapy is most appropriate for further study. In this study, we use a transgenic murine melanoma model (Tyr::CreER; BRAFCA/+; PTENflox/flox), to evaluate the TIME in response to combinations of BRAFi, anti-PD1, and OncoVEXmGMCSF. We find that mice treated with the triple combination BRAFi + anti-PD1 + OncoVEXmGMCSF have decreased tumor growth compared to BRAFi alone and prolonged survival compared to control. Flow cytometry shows an increase in percent CD8 + /CD3 + cytotoxic T Lymphocytes (CTLs) and a decrease in percent FOXP3 + /CD4 + T regulatory cells (Tregs) in tumors treated with OncoVEXmGMCSF compared to mice not treated with OncoVEXmGMCSF. Immunogenomic analysis at 30d post-treatment shows an increase in Th1 and interferon-related genes in mice receiving OncoVEXmGMCSF + BRAFi. In summary, treatment with combination BRAFi + anti-PD1 + OncoVEXmGMCSF is more effective than any single treatment in controlling tumor growth, and groups receiving OncoVEXmGMCSF had more tumoral infiltration of CTLs and less intratumoral Tregs in the TIME. This study provides rational basis to combine targeted agents, oncolytic viral therapy, and checkpoint inhibitors in the treatment of melanoma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1837-1849
Number of pages13
JournalCancer Immunology, Immunotherapy
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Immunotherapy
  • Melanoma
  • Microenvironment
  • Oncolytic virus
  • Tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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