Malignant glioma is the most common primary brain tumor and carries a grim prognosis, with a median survival of just over 14 months. Given the poor outcomes with standard-of-care treatments, novel treatment strategies are needed. The concept of virotherapy for the treatment of malignant tumors dates back more than a century and can be divided into replication-competent oncolytic viruses and replication-deficient viral vectors. Oncolytic viruses are designed to selectively target, infect, and replicate in tumor cells, while sparing surrounding normal brain. A host of oncolytic viruses has been evaluated in early phase human trials with promising safety results, but none has progressed to phase III trials. Despite the 25 years that has passed since the initial publication of genetically engineered oncolytic viruses for the treatment of glioma, much remains to be learned about the use of this therapy, including its mechanism of action, optimal treatment paradigm, appropriate targets, and integration with adjuvant agents. Oncolytic viral therapy for glioma remains promising and will undoubtedly impact the future of patient care.
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