Questions About Cancer? 1-800-4-CANCER

Newcastle Disease Virus (PDQ®)

Health Professional Version

Adverse Effects

The side effects associated with exposure to Newcastle disease virus (NDV) have generally been described as mild to moderate in severity. As noted previously (refer to the General Information section of this summary for more information), NDV has been reported to cause mild flu-like symptoms, conjunctivitis, and laryngitis in humans. [1-10]

The most commonly reported side effect after treatment of cancer patients with the virus alone is fever, which usually subsides within 24 hours.[2,11,12] In one study of infectious virus, localized adverse effects, such as inflammation and edema, were observed in the vicinity of some tumors.[12] These adverse effects may have contributed to the death of one patient.[12] Other adverse effects reported in this study included fatigue, low blood pressure, shortness of breath, and hypoxia. Some of these adverse effects were serious enough to require hospitalization.

Mild headache, mild fever on the day of vaccination, and itching, swelling, and erythema at injection sites are the most commonly reported side effects following injection of NDV-infected whole cell vaccines.[13-17]

The only adverse effect associated with administration of NDV oncolysate vaccines is inflammation at injection sites.[18-20]

Most of the flu-like symptoms, fever, and edema observed in studies in which cytokines were combined with NDV oncolysates or whole cell vaccines have been attributed to treatment with interleukin-2.[18-22]


  1. Csatary LK, Moss RW, Beuth J, et al.: Beneficial treatment of patients with advanced cancer using a Newcastle disease virus vaccine (MTH-68/H). Anticancer Res 19 (1B): 635-8, 1999 Jan-Feb. [PUBMED Abstract]
  2. Csatary LK, Eckhardt S, Bukosza I, et al.: Attenuated veterinary virus vaccine for the treatment of cancer. Cancer Detect Prev 17 (6): 619-27, 1993. [PUBMED Abstract]
  3. Kenney S, Pagano JS: Viruses as oncolytic agents: a new age for "therapeutic" viruses? J Natl Cancer Inst 86 (16): 1185-6, 1994. [PUBMED Abstract]
  4. Kirn DH, McCormick F: Replicating viruses as selective cancer therapeutics. Mol Med Today 2 (12): 519-27, 1996. [PUBMED Abstract]
  5. Lorence RM, Reichard KW, Katubig BB, et al.: Complete regression of human neuroblastoma xenografts in athymic mice after local Newcastle disease virus therapy. J Natl Cancer Inst 86 (16): 1228-33, 1994. [PUBMED Abstract]
  6. Lorence RM, Katubig BB, Reichard KW, et al.: Complete regression of human fibrosarcoma xenografts after local Newcastle disease virus therapy. Cancer Res 54 (23): 6017-21, 1994. [PUBMED Abstract]
  7. Batliwalla FM, Bateman BA, Serrano D, et al.: A 15-year follow-up of AJCC stage III malignant melanoma patients treated postsurgically with Newcastle disease virus (NDV) oncolysate and determination of alterations in the CD8 T cell repertoire. Mol Med 4 (12): 783-94, 1998. [PUBMED Abstract]
  8. Reichard KW, Lorence RM, Cascino CJ, et al.: Newcastle disease virus selectively kills human tumor cells. J Surg Res 52 (5): 448-53, 1992. [PUBMED Abstract]
  9. Schirrmacher V, Ahlert T, Pröbstle T, et al.: Immunization with virus-modified tumor cells. Semin Oncol 25 (6): 677-96, 1998. [PUBMED Abstract]
  10. Moss RW: Alternative pharmacological and biological treatments for cancer: ten promising approaches. J Naturopathic Med 6 (1): 23-32, 1996.
  11. Wheelock EF, Dingle JH: Observations on the repeated administration of viruses to a patient with acute leukemia. A preliminary report. N Engl J Med 271(13): 645-51, 1964.
  12. Pecora AL, Rizvi N, Cohen GI, et al.: Phase I trial of intravenous administration of PV701, an oncolytic virus, in patients with advanced solid cancers. J Clin Oncol 20 (9): 2251-66, 2002. [PUBMED Abstract]
  13. Liebrich W, Schlag P, Manasterski M, et al.: In vitro and clinical characterisation of a Newcastle disease virus-modified autologous tumour cell vaccine for treatment of colorectal cancer patients. Eur J Cancer 27 (6): 703-10, 1991. [PUBMED Abstract]
  14. Ockert D, Schirrmacher V, Beck N, et al.: Newcastle disease virus-infected intact autologous tumor cell vaccine for adjuvant active specific immunotherapy of resected colorectal carcinoma. Clin Cancer Res 2 (1): 21-8, 1996. [PUBMED Abstract]
  15. Bohle W, Schlag P, Liebrich W, et al.: Postoperative active specific immunization in colorectal cancer patients with virus-modified autologous tumor-cell vaccine. First clinical results with tumor-cell vaccines modified with live but avirulent Newcastle disease virus. Cancer 66 (7): 1517-23, 1990. [PUBMED Abstract]
  16. Lehner B, Schlag P, Liebrich W, et al.: Postoperative active specific immunization in curatively resected colorectal cancer patients with a virus-modified autologous tumor cell vaccine. Cancer Immunol Immunother 32 (3): 173-8, 1990. [PUBMED Abstract]
  17. Schlag P, Manasterski M, Gerneth T, et al.: Active specific immunotherapy with Newcastle-disease-virus-modified autologous tumor cells following resection of liver metastases in colorectal cancer. First evaluation of clinical response of a phase II-trial. Cancer Immunol Immunother 35 (5): 325-30, 1992. [PUBMED Abstract]
  18. Mallmann P, Eis-Hubinger AM, Krebs D: Lymphokine-activated tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes and autologous tumor vaccine in breast and ovarian cancer. Onkologie 15 (6): 490-6, 1992.
  19. Anton P, Kirchner H, Jonas U, et al.: Cytokines and tumor vaccination. Cancer Biother Radiopharm 11 (5): 315-8, 1996. [PUBMED Abstract]
  20. Kirchner HH, Anton P, Atzpodien J: Adjuvant treatment of locally advanced renal cancer with autologous virus-modified tumor vaccines. World J Urol 13 (3): 171-3, 1995. [PUBMED Abstract]
  21. Pomer S, Schirrmacher V, Thiele R, et al.: Tumor response and 4 year survival-data of patients with advanced renal-cell carcinoma treated with autologous tumor vaccine and subcutaneous R-IL-2 and IFN-alpha(2b). Int J Oncol 6 (5): 947-54, 1995. [PUBMED Abstract]
  22. Mallmann P: Autologous tumor-cell vaccination and lymphokine-activated tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (LAK-TIL). Hybridoma 12 (5): 559-66, 1993. [PUBMED Abstract]
  • Updated: April 23, 2014