Histone modifiers at the crossroads of oncolytic and oncogenic viruses

Sara A. Murphy, Norman John Mapes, Devika Dua, Balveen Kaur

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Cancer is a disease caused by loss of regulatory processes that control the cell cycle, resulting in increased proliferation. The loss of control can deregulate both tumor suppressors and oncogenes. Apart from cell intrinsic gene mutations and environmental factors, infection by cancer-causing viruses also induces changes that lead to malignant transformation. This can be caused by both expression of oncogenic viral proteins and also by changes in cellular genes and proteins that affect the epigenome. Thus, these epigenetic modifiers are good therapeutic targets, and several epigenetic inhibitors are approved for the treatment of different cancers. In addition to small molecule drugs, biological therapies, such as antibodies and viral therapies, are also increasingly being used to treat cancer. An HSV-1-derived oncolytic virus is currently approved by the US FDA and the European Medicines Agency. Similarly, an adenovirus-based therapeutic is approved for use in China for some cancer types. Because viruses can affect cellular epigenetics, the interaction of epigenome-targeting drugs with oncogenic and oncolytic viruses is a highly significant area of investigation. Here, we will review the current knowledge about the impact of using epigenetic drugs in tumors positive for oncogenic viruses or as therapeutic combinations with oncolytic viruses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2153-2162
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular Therapy
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • DNA
  • acetylation
  • cancer
  • epigenetic modifiers
  • gene therapy
  • histone
  • methylation
  • oncolytic virus
  • viruses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery


Dive into the research topics of 'Histone modifiers at the crossroads of oncolytic and oncogenic viruses'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this