Inhibition of Pyruvate Dehydrogenase Kinase Enhances the Antitumor Efficacy of Oncolytic Reovirus.


Department of Pathology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. [Email]


Oncolytic viruses (OV) such as reovirus preferentially infect and kill cancer cells. Thus, the mechanisms that dictate the susceptibility of cancer cells to OV-induced cytotoxicity hold the key to their success in clinics. Here, we investigated whether cancer cell metabolism defines its susceptibility to OV and if OV-induced metabolic perturbations can be therapeutically targeted. Using mass spectrometry-based metabolomics and extracellular flux analysis on a panel of cancer cell lines with varying degrees of susceptibility to reovirus, we found that OV-induced changes in central energy metabolism, pyruvate metabolism, and oxidative stress correlate with their susceptibility to reovirus. In particular, reovirus infection accentuated Warburg-like metabolic perturbations in cell lines relatively resistant to oncolysis. These metabolic changes were facilitated by oxidative stress-induced inhibitory phosphorylation of pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH) that impaired the routing of pyruvate into the tricarboxylic acid cycle and established a metabolic state unsupportive of OV replication. From the therapeutic perspective, reactivation of PDH in cancer cells that were weakly sensitive for reovirus, either through PDH kinase (PDK) inhibitors dichloroacetate and AZD7545 or short hairpin RNA-specific depletion of PDK1, enhanced the efficacy of reovirus-induced oncolysis in vitro and in vivo. These findings identify targeted metabolic reprogramming as a possible combination strategy to enhance the antitumor effects of OV in clinics. SIGNIFICANCE: This study proposes targeted metabolic reprogramming as a valid combinatorial strategy to enhance the translational efficacy of oncolytic virus-based cancer therapies.Graphical Abstract: