The Abscopal Effect of Radiation Therapy: What Is It and How Can We Use It in Breast Cancer?
ABSTRACT: The abscopal effect refers to the ability of localized radiation to trigger systemic antitumor effects. Over the past 50 years, reports on the abscopal effect arising from conventional radiation have been relatively rare. However, with the continued development and use of immunotherapy strategies incorporating radiotherapy with targeted immunomodulators and immune checkpoint blockade, the abscopal effect is becoming increasingly relevant in less immunogenic tumors such as breast cancer. Here, we review the mechanism of the abscopal effect, the current preclinical and clinical data, and the application of the abscopal effect in designing clinical trials of immunotherapy combined with radiotherapy in breast cancer.
Project description:In oncology, the "abscopal effect" refers to the therapeutic effect on a distant tumor resulting from the treatment of local tumor (e. g., ablation, injection, or radiation). Typically associated with radiation, the abscopal effect is thought to be mediated by a systemic antitumor immune response that is induced by two concurrent changes at the treated tumor: (1) the release of tumor antigens and (2) the exposure of damage-associated molecular patterns. Therapies that produce these changes are associated with immunogenic cell death (ICD). Some interventions have been shown to cause an abscopal effect without inducing the release of tumor antigens, suggesting that release of tumor antigens at baseline plays a significant role in mediating the abscopal effect. With tumor antigens already present, therapies that target activation of APCs alone may be sufficient to enhance the abscopal effect. Here, we discuss two therapies targeted at APC activation, TLR9 and CD40 agonists, and their use in the clinic to enhance the abscopal effect.
Project description:Background: Retroperitoneal sarcomas (RPS) are rare and primarily managed with surgery, which improves local recurrence-free and overall survival. Radiation can improve local control or provide palliation for inoperable or metastatic RPS by eliciting tumor cell death via irreparable DNA damage. In extraordinary circumstances radiation-induced cell death promotes immune-mediated regression of non-irradiated lesions in a process termed the abscopal effect. Abscopal effects are rare and incompletely understood, involving a balance of radiation's immunogenic and immunosuppressive effects. There are currently no methods to predict abscopal responses following radiotherapy. Case reports documenting post-radiotherapy abscopal effects provide additional information to better characterize these responses and to inform ongoing and future clinical trials attempting to harness radiation-induced immune responses to improve outcomes with systemic therapy, such as SARC-032, a cooperative group trial of pre-operative radiation ± pembrolizumab. We present a case of inoperable metastatic RPS treated with proton radiotherapy with complete responses of un-irradiated metastases. Case Presentation: A 67 year-old female with inoperable metastatic unclassified round cell RPS was treated with palliative proton radiotherapy only to the primary tumor. Following completion of radiotherapy, the patient demonstrated complete regression of all un-irradiated metastases, and near complete response of the primary lesion without additional therapy. Conclusions: Metastatic RPS is typically managed with first-line chemotherapy, with objective response rates <50%. We present a case of inoperable metastatic RPS treated with palliative proton radiotherapy for rapidly progressive disease who had complete regression of non-irradiated metastases consistent with the abscopal effect. To our knowledge this is the first case report describing abscopal effects in inoperable metastatic RPS treated with proton radiation and is among the first case reports of an abscopal effect in a patient treated with proton therapy regardless of disease site. Further investigation is warranted regarding the benefit of proton radiation to primary tumors for inoperable metastatic RPS.
Project description:PURPOSE:Radiotherapy (RT) traditionally has been used for local tumor control in the treatment of cancer. The recent discovery that radiotherapy can have anticancer effects on the immune system has led to recognition of its ability to sensitize the tumor microenvironment to immunotherapy. However, radiation can also prompt adverse immunosuppressive effects that block aspects of systemic response at other tumor sites. Our hypothesis was that inhibition of the MER proto-oncogene tyrosine kinase (MerTK) in combination with anti-programmed cell death-1 (?-PD1) checkpoint blockade will enhance immune-mediated responses to radiotherapy. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN:We tested the efficacy of this triple therapy (Radiation + ?-PD1 + ?-MerTK mAbs) in 129Sv/Ev mice with bilateral lung adenocarcinoma xenografts. Primary tumors were treated with stereotactic radiotherapy (36 Gy in 3 12-Gy fractions), and tumors were monitored for response. RESULTS:The triple therapy significantly delayed abscopal tumor growth, improved survival rates, and reduced numbers of lung metastases. We further found that the triple therapy increased the activated CD8+ and NK cells populations measured by granzyme B expression with upregulation of CD8+CD103+ tissue-resident memory cells (TRM) within the abscopal tumor microenvironment relative to radiation only. CONCLUSIONS:The addition of ?-PD1 + ?-MerTK mAbs to radiotherapy could alter the cell death to be more immunogenic and generate adaptive immune response via increasing the retention of TRM cells in the tumor islets of the abscopal tumors which was proven to play a major role in survival of non-small cell lung cancer patients.
Project description:Case reports and preclinical data suggest radiotherapy and immunotherapy may synergize to generate "abscopal" responses outside the radiation field. This phenomenon remains relatively unexplored, prompting our systematic evaluation of metastatic melanoma patients treated with the CTLA-4 inhibitor ipilimumab and palliative radiation therapy. We evaluated 47 consecutive metastatic melanoma patients treated with ipilimumab and 65 courses of radiation. Responses of index lesions outside the radiation field were compared before and after radiotherapy, and parameters associated with favorable response were assessed. Median survival was 28 months, with an estimated 20% 5-y survival. Index lesions shrank in 7 instances prior to radiation therapy (11%), compared with 16 instances (25%) after radiation therapy; in 11 of the latter instances (69%), the index lesion had been increasing in size prior to radiotherapy (P = 0.03). In 68% of cases, radiotherapy was associated with an improved rate of index lesion response (P = 0.006). Radiation fraction size ? 3 Gy was the only parameter identified associated with favorable index lesion response (P = 0.014). Our systematic review of melanoma patients treated with radiotherapy and ipilimumab suggests that a subset of patients may have more favorable out-of-field responses following treatment with radiation. Interestingly, we found that multiple fraction radiation regimens were associated with a more favorable response. These results are encouraging regarding potential synergies between radiation and immunotherapy, but suggest that attention and even prospective testing of radiation parameters critical to producing abscopal effects in human patients would be of value.
Project description:Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is a highly aggressive disease, with few, if any, curative interventions. While there is growing interest in using immunotherapy and immuno-gene therapy to treat MPM, very limited data currently exist for combining these modalities with radiotherapy. Preclinical data suggest that radiotherapy may be combined with immunotherapy to produce disease regression, with abscopal effects in mice with MPM. We report the first-ever case of abscopal effect in a patient with MPM, following radiotherapy and immuno-gene therapy. The patient was a 67-year-old male with prior asbestos exposure who presented with progressive dyspnea and thoracic pain. He underwent partial right pleurectomy, pleural biopsy, and talc pleurodesis, with pathology revealing epithelioid MPM. A subsequent chest computed tomography (CT) scan and fluoro-deoxyglucose positron-emission tomography (FDG-PET) CT scan showed extensive, right-sided, fluoro-deoxyglucose (FDG) avid mass-like pleural thickening encasing the right lung, with likely mediastinal extension, nodal metastases, and vascular compression. He enrolled in a clinical trial in which he received intrapleural interferon-alpha gene therapy but needed to discontinue therapy due to supraventricular tachycardia and superior vena cava syndrome induced from tumor burden. He was emergently treated with palliative radiotherapy to 30 Gy in 10 fractions. He was then started on pemetrexed and cisplatin chemotherapy. His subsequent chest CT scan two months after radiotherapy completion showed a dramatic treatment response within, as well as outside of, the irradiated field. After completion of radiotherapy, he did experience radiation esophagitis requiring nasogastric tube placement. Herein, we highlight the feasibility and efficacy of combining immuno-gene therapy with palliative radiotherapy to produce a substantial treatment response and an abscopal effect in a patient with unresectable MPM.
Project description:Background The abscopal effect was described as early as the 1950s, when untreated tumors demonstrated a response after radiation therapy was delivered to an untreated, distant site. The mechanisms underlying this global response to otherwise localized therapy remain unknown, though there is increasing evidence that increased antigen expression following ablative radiotherapy may play a role. Case presentation We report a case of a 69-year-old African American woman with a history of metastatic typical pulmonary carcinoid with multiple lung nodules who had a significant decrease in size of an untreated left upper lobe nodule after stereotactic body radiation therapy to an oligoprogressive left lower lobe lesion. Conclusions To our knowledge, this report describes the first case of an abscopal effect in a typical pulmonary carcinoid. Further research is needed regarding the mechanisms responsible for this finding and the role of combining radiation therapy and cancer immunotherapy in patients with pulmonary carcinoid tumors.
Project description:Radiotherapy is employed in the treatment of over 50% of cancer patients. However, this therapy approach is limited to mainly treating localized disease. In 1953, Mole described the remarkable abscopal effect, whereby, localized radiotherapy of a patient's primary tumor might engender regression of cancer at distant sites, which were not irradiated. Current consensus is that if the abscopal effect can be efficaciously leveraged, it would transform the field of radiation oncology, extending the use of radiotherapy to treatment of both localized and metastatic disease. A close examination of the literature on the abscopal effect proffers a disruptive new hypothesis for consideration in future clinical trials. This hypothesis is that generating a subcutaneous human tumor autograft as the primary tumor may be a more efficacious approach to prime the abscopal effect. Following the preclinical data, the merits and demerits of such an approach are examined in this article.
Project description:We investigated the influence of PD-1 expression on the systemic antitumor response (abscopal effect) induced by stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR) in preclinical melanoma and renal cell carcinoma models. We compared the SABR-induced antitumor response in PD-1-expressing wild-type (WT) and PD-1-deficient knockout (KO) mice and found that PD-1 expression compromises the survival of tumor-bearing mice treated with SABR. None of the PD-1 WT mice survived beyond 25 days, whereas 20% of the PD-1 KO mice survived beyond 40 days. Similarly, PD-1-blocking antibody in WT mice was able to recapitulate SABR-induced antitumor responses observed in PD-1 KO mice and led to increased survival. The combination of SABR plus PD-1 blockade induced near complete regression of the irradiated primary tumor (synergistic effect), as opposed to SABR alone or SABR plus control antibody. The combination of SABR plus PD-1 blockade therapy elicited a 66% reduction in size of nonirradiated, secondary tumors outside the SABR radiation field (abscopal effect). The observed abscopal effect was tumor specific and was not dependent on tumor histology or host genetic background. The CD11a(high) CD8(+) T-cell phenotype identifies a tumor-reactive population, which was associated in frequency and function with a SABR-induced antitumor immune response in PD-1 KO mice. We conclude that SABR induces an abscopal tumor-specific immune response in both the irradiated and nonirradiated tumors, which is potentiated by PD-1 blockade. The combination of SABR and PD-1 blockade has the potential to translate into a potent immunotherapy strategy in the management of patients with metastatic cancer.
Project description:The Abscopal effect is a rare phenomenon observed in the treatment of metastatic cancer, where localized irradiation causes a response in non-irradiated tumor sites. Due to the recent success of immunotherapies, the Abscopal effect of radiation therapy has received renewed clinical interest. However, there is limited knowledge regarding the Abscopal effect and radiotherapy treatment of patients with esophageal carcinoma. The present study reports the case of a 65-year-old male patient, who presented with esophageal carcinoma and lymph node metastasis. A transthoracic esophagectomy with left cervical, mediastinal and abdominal lymphadenectomies was performed. A total of 4 cycles of chemotherapy and maintenance therapy with Pembrolizumab was performed until September 2016. Metastases in the left retroperitoneal lymph node in addition to extensive metastases to the pelvic lymph node were observed. The patient received Cyberknife radiotherapy with a dose of 42 Gy in 6 daily fractions targeted at the left retroperitoneal lymph node. Two months after radiation therapy, a positron emission tomography-computed tomography scan revealed complete regression of all lymph node metastases. There is increasing clinical evidence supporting the efficacy of the Abscopal effect, which may be initiated by high-dose radiation. Further research is required to make the Abscopal effect clinically relevant, however it may have potential as a treatment option.
Project description:In the last years, limited studies have described that radiotherapy could produce important distant responses in unirradiated sites, the so-called "abscopal effect". Recent evidence suggests that radiotherapy induces antigen release from tumor, in this way activating the immune system. However, radiotherapy alone is rarely enough to induce the systemic response requested for control of the metastases. With the advent of immunotherapy, the immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICI) have demonstrated impressive efficacy in various metastatic cancers. Currently, preclinical and clinical studies have reported a significant increase of abscopal responses in patients treated with the combination of radiotherapy and ICI. The purpose of this review was summarizing the clinical studies combining radiotherapy and ipilimumab (ipi), particularly focusing on abscopal responses.Databases of Medline (via Pubmed) from 2009 to June 2, 2017 were reviewed to obtain English language studies reporting clinical abscopal effect in the combination of radiotherapy with exclusive ipi in metastatic melanoma cancers. Included studies reported the abscopal effect as a primary endpoint, and as secondary endpoint included overall survival and toxicity.A total of 16 studies met the inclusion criteria. These studies included a total of 451 patients, and in 5/16 studies the patients were treated on research protocols and followed-up prospectively. The median reported abscopal effect and OS were 26.5% and 19 months, respectively. The median toxicity ? Grade 3 was 18.3% ranged from 10% to 20%.Early clinical outcomes reports suggest that the combination of ipilimumab and RT may improve survival in metastatic melanoma patients. The abscopal responses become a clinically relevant effect of such combination and should be studied in controlled randomized trials.