Intravesical immunotherapy with a GM-CSF armed oncolytic vesicular stomatitis virus improves outcome in bladder cancer

Coby Rangsitratkul, Christine Lawson, Francis Bernier-Godon, Seyedeh Raheleh Niavarani, Marie Boudaud, Samuel Rouleau, Antoine Olivier Gladu-Corbin, Abera Surendran, Nadia Ekindi-Ndongo, Madhuri Koti, Carolina S. Ilkow, Patrick O. Richard, Lee Hwa Tai*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


A significant proportion of non-muscle invasive bladder cancer cases will progress to muscle invasive disease. Transurethral resection followed by Bacillus Calmette Guerin immunotherapy can reduce this risk, while cystectomy prior to muscle invasion provides the best option for survival. Currently, there are no effective treatments for Bacillus Calmette Guerin refractory disease. A novel oncolytic vesicular stomatitis virus containing the human GM-CSF transgene (VSVd51-hGM-CSF) was rescued and tested as a potential bladder-sparing therapy for aggressive bladder cancer. The existing variant expressing mouse GM-CSF was also used. Measurement of gene expression and protein level alterations of canonical immunogenic cell death associated events on mouse and human bladder cancer cell lines and spheroids showed enhanced release of danger signals and immunogenic factors following infection with VSVd51-m/hGM-CSF. Intravesical instillation of VSVd51-mGM-CSF into MB49 bladder cancer bearing C57Bl/6 mice demonstrated enhanced activation of peripheral and bladder infiltrating effector immune cells, along with improved survival and reduced tumor volume. Importantly, virus-mediated anti-tumor immunity was recapitulated in bladder cancer patient-derived organoids. These results suggest that VSVd51-hGM-CSF is a promising viro/immunotherapy that could benefit bladder cancer patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)507-521
Number of pages15
JournalMolecular Therapy - Oncolytics
Publication statusPublished - 17 Mar 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • BCG failure
  • bladder cancer
  • bladder-sparing therapy
  • GM-CSF
  • immunogenic cell death
  • immunotherapy
  • oncolytic virus
  • organoids
  • tumor microenvironment
  • vesicular stomatitis virus


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