The hypothesis that cytomegalovirus (CMV) modulates cancer is evolving. Originally discovered in glioblastoma in 2002, the number of cancers, where intratumoral CMV antigen is detected, has increased in recent years suggesting that CMV actively affects the pathobiology of certain tumors. These findings are controversial as several groups have also reported inability to replicate these results. Regardless, several clinical trials for glioblastoma are underway or have been completed that target intratumoral CMV with anti-viral drugs or immunotherapy. Therefore, a better understanding of the possible pathobiology of CMV in cancer needs to be ascertained. We have developed genetic, syngeneic, and orthotopic malignant glioma mouse models to study the role of CMV in cancer development and progression. These models recapitulate for the most part intratumoral CMV expression as seen in human tumors. Additionally, we discovered that CMV infection in Trp53(-/+) mice promotes pleomorphic rhabdomyosarcomas. These mouse models are not only a vehicle for studying pathobiology of the viral-tumor interaction but also a platform for developing and testing cancer therapeutics.
Price, R. L., & Chiocca, E. A. (2015). Modeling Cytomegalovirus Infection in Mouse Tumor Models. Frontiers in Oncology, 5. https://doi.org/10.3389/fonc.2015.00061