Reovirus: A targeted therapeutic - Progress and potential

Radhashree Maitra, Mohammad H. Ghalib, Sanjay Goel

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Medical therapy of patients with malignancy requires a paradigm shift through development of new drugs with a good safety record and novel mechanisms of activity. While there is no dearth of such molecules, one particular agent, "reovirus" is promising by its ability to target cancer cells with aberrant signaling pathways. This double-stranded RNA virus has been therapeutically formulated and has rapidly progressed from preclinical validation of anticancer activity to a phase III registration study in platinum refractory metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck. During this process, reovirus has shown safety both as a single agent when administered intratumorally and intravenously, as well as in combination therapy, with multiple chemotherapeutics such as gemcitabine, carboplatin/paclitaxel, and docetaxel; and similarly with radiation. The scientific rationale for its development as an anticancer agent stems from the fact that it preferentially replicates in and induces lyses of cells with an activated Kras pathway. As documented in many previous studies, the initial observation of greater tropism in Kras-compromised situation might certainly not be the sole and possibly not even the predominant reason for enhanced virulence. All the same, scientists have emphasized on Kras optimistically due to its high prevalence in various types of cancers. Incidence of Kras mutation has been found to be highest in pancreatic cancer (85%-90%) followed by colorectal (35-45%) and lung (25-30%). Reovirus, in fact has the potential not only as a therapy but also as a tool to unravel the aberrant cellular pathway leading to carcinogenicity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1514-1525
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular Cancer Research
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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