Oncolytic bovine herpesvirus type 1 infects and kills breast tumor cells and breast cancer-initiating cells irrespective of tumor subtype
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Oncolytic viruses are attractive cancer therapeutics because of their unique mechanisms of tumor cell targeting and the absence of toxic side effects associated with current treatments. Bovine herpesvirus type 1 (BHV-1) is a species-specific herpesvirus that fails to induce cytopathic effects in normal human cells, but is capable of infecting and killing a variety of immortalized and transformed human cell types, including human breast tumor cell lines from luminal, basal A and basal B subtypes, representing a variety of receptor expression profiles. BHV-1 is capable of initiating replication in and killing both bulk and side population cells, the latter of which have enhanced tumor-initiating capacity. Despite the lack of a productive infection or secretion of cytotoxic factors, BHV-1 infection decreases cellular viability in long-term culture following low multiplicity of infection. Moreover, BHV-1-infected MCF7 cells are significantly diminished in their capacity to form tumors in vivo. Overall, these studies suggest that oncolytic BHV-1 targets bulk breast cancer cells and cancer-initiating cells from luminal and basal subtypes by a novel mechanism that is not contingent upon cellular receptor expression status.
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