Open Access Open Badges Research

Cytolytic replication of echoviruses in colon cancer cell lines

Stina Israelsson1, Nina Jonsson1, Maria Gullberg12 and A Michael Lindberg1*

Author Affiliations

1 School of Natural Sciences, Linnaeus University, SE-391 82 Kalmar, Sweden

2 Current address: National Veterinary Institute, Division of Virology, Technical University of Denmark, Lindholm, 4771 Kalvehave, Denmark

For all author emails, please log on.

Virology Journal 2011, 8:473  doi:10.1186/1743-422X-8-473

Published: 14 October 2011



Colorectal cancer is one of the most common cancers in the world, killing nearly 50% of patients afflicted. Though progress is being made within surgery and other complementary treatments, there is still need for new and more effective treatments. Oncolytic virotherapy, meaning that a cancer is cured by viral infection, is a promising field for finding new and improved treatments. We have investigated the oncolytic potential of several low-pathogenic echoviruses with rare clinical occurrence. Echoviruses are members of the enterovirus genus within the family Picornaviridae.


Six colon cancer cell lines (CaCo-2, HT29, LoVo, SW480, SW620 and T84) were infected by the human enterovirus B species echovirus 12, 15, 17, 26 and 29, and cytopathic effects as well as viral replication efficacy were investigated. Infectivity was also tested in spheroids grown from HT29 cells.


Echovirus 12, 17, 26 and 29 replicated efficiently in almost all cell lines and were considered highly cytolytic. The infectivity of these four viruses was further evaluated in artificial tumors (spheroids), where it was found that echovirus 12, 17 and 26 easily infected the spheroids.


We have found that echovirus 12, 17 and 26 have potential as oncolytic agents against colon cancer, by comparing the cytolytic capacity of five low-pathogenic echoviruses in six colon cancer cell lines and in artificial tumors.

enterovirus; echovirus; colon cancer; oncolytic virus; virotherapy