Oncolytic herpes simplex virus infects myeloma cells in vitro and in vivo

Jayeeta Ghose, Ada Dona, Mariam Murtadha, Emine Gulsen Gunes, Enrico Caserta, Ji Young Yoo, Luke Russell, Alena Cristina Jaime-Ramirez, Benjamin G. Barwick, Vikas A. Gupta, James F. Sanchez, Douglas W. Sborov, Steven T. Rosen, Amrita Krishnan, Lawrence H. Boise, Balveen Kaur, Craig C. Hofmeister, Flavia Pichiorri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Because most patients with multiple myeloma (MM) develop resistance to current regimens, novel approaches are needed. Genetically modified, replication-competent oncolytic viruses exhibit high tropism for tumor cells regardless of cancer stage and prior treatment. Receptors of oncolytic herpes simplex virus 1 (oHSV-1), NECTIN-1, and HVEM are expressed on MM cells, prompting us to investigate the use of oHSV-1 against MM. Using oHSV-1-expressing GFP, we found a dose-dependent increase in the GFP+ signal in MM cell lines and primary MM cells. Whereas NECTIN-1 expression is variable among MM cells, we discovered that HVEM is ubiquitously and highly expressed on all samples tested. Expression of HVEM was consistently higher on CD138+/CD38+ plasma cells than in non-plasma cells. HVEM blocking demonstrated the requirement of this receptor for infection. However, we observed that, although oHSV-1 could efficiently infect and kill all MM cell lines tested, no viral replication occurred. Instead, we identified that oHSV-1 induced MM cell apoptosis via caspase-3 cleavage. We further noted that oHSV-1 yielded a significant decrease in tumor volume in two mouse xenograft models. Therefore, oHSV-1 warrants exploration as a novel potentially effective treatment option in MM, and HVEM should be investigated as a possible therapeutic target.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)519-531
Number of pages13
JournalMolecular Therapy Oncolytics
StatePublished - Mar 26 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • HVEM
  • NECTIN-1
  • apoptosis
  • bone marrow
  • malignant plasma cells
  • multiple myeloma
  • oncolytic herpes simplex virus type 1 (oHSV-1)
  • oncolytic virus
  • oncolytic virus (OV) therapy
  • recombinant virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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