Cancer associated endogenous retroviruses: Ideal immune targets for adenovirus-based immunotherapy

Research output: Contribution to journalReviewResearchpeer-review

Cancer is a major challenge in our societies, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) about 1/6 deaths were cancer related in 2018 and it is considered the second leading cause of death globally. Immunotherapies have changed the paradigm of oncologic treatment for several cancers where the field had fallen short in providing competent therapies. Despite the improvement, broadly acting and highly effective therapies capable of eliminating or preventing human cancers with insufficient mutated antigens are still missing. Adenoviral vector-based vaccines are a successful tool in the treatment of various diseases including cancer; however, their success has been limited. In this review we discuss the potential of adenovirus as therapeutic tools and the current developments to use them against cancer. More specifically, we examine how to use them to target endogenous retroviruses (ERVs). ERVs, comprising 8% of the human genome, have been detected in several cancers, while they remain silent in healthy tissues. Their low immunogenicity together with their immunosuppressive capacity aid cancer to escape immunosurveillance. In that regard, virus-like-vaccine (VLV) technology, combining adenoviral vectors and virus-like-particles (VLPs), can be ideal to target ERVs and elicit B-cell responses, as well as CD8+ and CD4+ T-cells responses.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4843
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number14
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - 2020

    Research areas

  • Adenoviral vector, Adenovirus, Cancer, Endogenous retrovirus, Envelope, Immunology, Immunotherapy, Virus-like-particles, Virus-like-vaccines

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