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eISSN: 1643-3750

Immunogenic Chemotherapy Sensitizes Renal Cancer to Immune Checkpoint Blockade Therapy in Preclinical Models

Shujin Cui

Department of Urology, Beijing Luhe Hospital, Capital Medical University, Tongzhouqu, Beijing, China (mainland)

Med Sci Monit 2017; 23:3360-3366

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.902426

Available online:

Published: 2017-07-11

BACKGROUND: Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is among the most common malignant cancers of males worldwide. For advanced RCC patients, there still is no effective therapy. Immune checkpoint blockade therapies have shown benefits for many cancers, but previous clinical trials of immune checkpoint blockade therapies in RCC patients achieved only modest results.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: We explored the effects of combining chemotherapy with immune checkpoint blockade therapy in RCC xenograft mouse models. We also studied the potential mechanisms by which chemotherapy might enhance the efficacy of immune checkpoint blockade therapy, both in vitro and in vivo.
RESULTS: Our results showed that many commonly used chemotherapy agents can induce immunogenic marker release in RCC cell lines. Importantly, the RCC xenograft mouse model mice who received the combination treatment of 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) and anti-programmed cell death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) antibodies (Abs) had longer survival times compared to those who received 5-FU or anti-PD-L1 Abs alone. Also, increased key cytokines that promote tumor immunity, such as IL-2, IFN-γ, and TNF-α, as well as tumor-infiltrating cytotoxic T cells, were also increased after the combination treatment.
CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that 5-FU can sensitize RCC to anti-PD-L1 treatment by releasing the immune suppression in the tumor microenvironment.

Keywords: Antineoplastic Agents, Drug Resistance, Kidney Neoplasms, Tumor Escape