Clinical evidence of abscopal effect in cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma treated with diffusing alpha emitters radiation therapy: A case report

Salvatore Roberto Bellia, Giacomo Feliciani*, Massimo Del Duca, Manuela Monti, Valentina Turri, Anna Sarnelli, Antonino Romeo, Itzhak Kelson, Yona Keisari, Aron Popovtzer, Toni Ibrahim, Giovanni Paganelli, Ignazio Stanganelli

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Alpha particle treatments could enhance the probability of an immune response, which can lead to abscopal effects (AE). We report a case of a patient affected by multiple cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cSCC). After the treatment with diffusing alpha emitters radiation therapy (DaRT) of one lesion, an AE was observed on at least two distant ones. Material and methods: We investigated a case of a 65-year-old female patient with multiple synchronous lesions of the skin of lower limbs confirmed by a biopsy. Patient was enrolled in a clinical trial N.CTP-SCC-00 (NCT03015883), with the objective to assess effectiveness of DaRT technique. DaRT is based on the insertion of locally 224Ra-loaded seeds in a clinical target volume (CTV). Treatment plan with positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) was used to entirely cover the CTV. Follow-up and biopsy evaluations were employed to outline the patient outcome. Results: We performed seeds implantation according to the Paris system. At 28th day, an evident lesion shrinkage with a persistent minimal area of hyperkeratosis was noted. 76 days after implantation, a complete remission of the treated lesion was observed and an evident reduction of the area with two more distant lesion, which could be associated to an immune-mediated response. One year after the treatment, a complete remission of treated lesion was observed as well as spontaneous regression of untreated distant ones. Conclusions: In this study, we reported evidences of an AE in cSCC stimulated by radiation and possibly mediated by immune system. In the next DaRT treatments, our intent is to monitor T-lymphocytes variations in peripheral blood in order to demonstrate indirect activation of the immune system mediated by radiation also in patients with solitary lesions, in which, by definition, an AE cannot be observed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)449-457
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Contemporary Brachytherapy
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2019


FundersFunder number
Alpha Tau Medical Ltd.


    • Abscopal effect
    • Alpha particles
    • Brachytherapy
    • Cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma


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