Enhancing antitumor efficacy of heavily vascularized tumors by rambo virus through decreased tumor endothelial cell activation

Mitra Nair, Maninder Khosla, Yoshihiro Otani, Margaret Yeh, Flora Park, Toshihiko Shimizu, Jin Muk Kang, Chelsea Bolyard, Jun Ge Yu, Yeshavanth Kumar Banasavadi-Siddegowda, Gonzalo Lopez, Balveen Kaur, Raphael E. Pollock, Tae Jin Lee, Matthew Old, Ji Young Yoo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Vascularization is a common pathology for many solid tumors, and therefore anti-angiogenic strategies are being investigated as a therapeutic target for treatment. Numerous studies are also being conducted regarding the effects of oncolytic viruses, including Imlygic™, an FDA approved oncolytic herpes simplex virus-1 (oHSV) for the treatment of highly vascularized tumors such as Kaposi sarcoma (NCT04065152), and brain tumors. To our knowledge, the effects of combining oncolytic HSV with angiogenesis inhibition on endothelial cell activation has not been previously described. Here, we tested the effects of Rapid Antiangiogenesis Mediated By Oncolytic Virus (RAMBO), an oHSV which expresses a potent anti-angiogenic gene Vasculostatin on endothelial cell activation in heavily vascularized solid tumors. oHSV treatment induces endothelial cell activation, which inhibits virus propagation and oncolysis in adjacent tumor cells in vitro. Consistently, this was also observed in intravital imaging of intracranial tumor-bearing mice in vivo where infected tumor endothelial cells could efficiently clear the virus without cell lysis. Quantitative real-time PCR (Q-PCR), leukocyte adhesion assay, and fluorescent microscopy imaging data, however, revealed that RAMBO virus significantly decreased expression of endothelial cell activation markers and leukocyte adhesion, which in turn increased virus replication and cytotoxicity in endothelial cells. In vivo RAMBO treatment of subcutaneously implanted sarcoma tumors significantly reduced tumor growth in mice bearing sarcoma compared to rHSVQ. In addition, histological analysis of RAMBO-treated tumor tissues revealed large areas of necrosis and a statistically significant reduction in microvessel density (MVD). This study provides strong preclinical evidence of the therapeutic benefit for the use of RAMBO virus as a treatment option for highly vascularized tumors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1040
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Angiogenesis
  • Oncolytic herpes simplex virus-1 (oHSV)
  • Rapid antiangiogenesis mediated by oncolytic virus (RAMBO)
  • Soft tissue sarcoma (STS)
  • Tumor microenvironment (TME)
  • Vasculostatin (Vstat120)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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