Research Papers:

Oncolytic reovirus preferentially induces apoptosis in KRAS mutant colorectal cancer cells, and synergizes with irinotecan

Radhashree Maitra, Raviraja Seetharam, Lydia Tesfa, Titto A. Augustine, Lidija Klampfer, Matthew C. Coffey, John M. Mariadason and Sanjay Goel _

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Oncotarget. 2014; 5:2807-2819. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.1921

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Radhashree Maitra1, Raviraja Seetharam1, Lydia Tesfa2, Titto A. Augustine2, Lidija Klampfer1,2,5, Matthew C. Coffey3, John M. Mariadason4, and Sanjay Goel1,2

1 Department of Oncology, Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, NY,

2 Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY,

3 Oncolytics Inc., Calgary, Canada

4 Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, Melbourne, Australia

5 Southern Research Institute, Birmingham, AL


Sanjay Goel, email:

Keywords: Colorectal cancer, reovirus, apoptosis, p21, caspase3

Received: February 26, 2014 Accepted: April 24, 2014 Published: April 24, 2014


Reovirus is a double stranded RNA virus, with an intrinsic preference for replication in KRAS mutant cells. As 45% of human colorectal cancers (CRC) harbor KRAS mutations, we sought to investigate its efficacy in KRAS mutant CRC cells, and examine its impact in combination with the topoisimerase-1 inhibitor, irinotecan. Reovirus efficacy was examined in the KRAS mutant HCT116, and the isogenic KRAS WT Hke3 cell line, and in the non-malignant rat intestinal epithelial cell line. Apoptosis was determined by flow cytometry and TUNEL staining. Combination treatment with reovirus and irintoecan was investigated in 15 CRC cell lines, including the HCT116 p21 isogenic cell lines. Reovirus preferentially induced apoptosis in KRAS mutant HCT116 cells compared to its isogenic KRAS WT derivative, and in KRAS mutant IEC cells. Reovirus showed a greater degree of caspase 3 activation with PARP 1 cleavage, and preferential inhibition of p21 protein expression in KRAS mutant cells. Reovirus synergistically induced growth inhibition when combined with irinotecan. This synergy was lost upon p21 gene knock out. Reovirus preferentially induces apoptosis in KRAS mutant colon cancer cells. Reovirus and irinotecan combination therapy is synergistic, p21 mediated, and represents a novel potential treatment for patients with CRC.

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