Combining alpha radiation-based brachytherapy with immunomodulators promotes complete tumor regression in mice via tumor-specific long-term immune response

Vered Domankevich, Adi Cohen, Margalit Efrati, Michael Schmidt, Hans Georg Rammensee, Sujit S. Nair, Ashutosh Tewari, Itzhak Kelson, Yona Keisari*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Diffusing alpha-emitters radiation therapy (DaRT) is the only known method for treating solid tumors with highly destructive alpha radiation. More importantly, as a monotherapy, DaRT has been shown to induce a systemic antitumor immune response following tumor ablation. Here, immunomodulatory strategies to boost the antitumor immune response induced by DaRT, and the response specificity, were investigated in the colon cancer CT26 mouse model. Local treatment prior to DaRT, with the TLR3 agonist poly I:C, was sufficient to inhibit tumor growth relative to poly I:C or DaRT alone. DaRT used in combination with the TLR9 agonist CpG, or with the TLR1/2 agonist XS15 retarded tumor growth and increased tumor-rejection rates, compared to DaRT alone, curing 41% and 20% of the mice, respectively. DaRT in combination with CpG, the Treg inhibitor cyclophosphamide, and the MDSC inhibitor sildenafil, cured 51% of the animals, compared to only 6% and 0% cure when immunomodulation or DaRT was used alone, respectively. Challenge and Winn assays revealed that these high cure rates involved a specific immunological memory against CT26 antigens. We suggest that DaRT acts in synergy with immunomodulation to induce a specific and systemic antitumor immune response. This strategy may serve as a safe and efficient method not only for tumor ablation, but also for in situ vaccination of cancer patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1949-1958
Number of pages10
JournalCancer Immunology, Immunotherapy
Volume68
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2019

Keywords

  • CpG
  • MDSC
  • Poly I:C
  • Treg
  • Tumor ablation
  • XS15

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