Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Publication Title

Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys


Purpose/Objective(s): Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) is the most aggressive breast cancer (BC) form, with a high metastases rate and a very low survival. The aggressiveness of TNBC coupled with a significant toxicity and suboptimal chemotherapy outcomes underscores the urgency for new TNBC treatments. In recent years, immunotherapy has emerged as a promising option. In particular, immune checkpoint blockers (ICB) targeting PD-L1/PD1 inhibitory T cell check point pathway showed clinical responses and have been explored for TNBC. Unfortunately, the response rates to standalone ICB therapy are low (15-20%), indicating the presence of inhibitory immune mechanisms. Radiation therapy (RT) has been widely used in BC therapies. In addition to antitumor (antiproliferative) effects, RT has been evidenced to stimulate immune tumor rejection through immunomodulation of the tumor microenvironment (TME) that has been shown to enhance the response to immunotherapy in mouse BC models. Antitumor RT effects, including TME immunomodulation, can be improved by using radiosensitizers, such as gold nanoparticles (AuNPs). We hypothesize that AuNP potentiates RT-induced immunomodulatory effects, leading to a more efficient response to ICB in TNBC. To test this hypothesis, we used AuNP as an enhancer of RT-induced immunological TME changes, to improve ICB therapy response in murine orthotopic syngeneic 4T1Luc TNBC model.

Materials/Methods: Female Balb/c mice bearing 4T1Luc tumors received intratumoral injections of 14 nm AuNPs. After 24h mice were irradiated with fractionated regimen of 3 × 6 Gy dose using 225 kV photons. After the 3rd RT dose, mice received 3 doses of anti-PD-L1 antibody that were 4 days apart. Therapeutic efficiency was determined by assessing the tumor growth and animal survival. Tumor tissue immunohistochemistry determined the expression of TME immunological markers and immune cell tumor infiltration.

Results: AuNPs improved response to anti PD-L1 treatment in mice receiving RT, shown by significant delay in tumor growth and increase in survival compared to the animals receiving RT+ AuNP (p<0.01) and to the animals receiving RT+ anti PD-L1 or RT alone (p<0.05). These results were accompanied with changes in the expression of TME immunological markers and T cell and macrophage infiltration.

Conclusion: In TNBC patients, induction of antitumor immune response may play a critical role in improving clinical outcomes. Here we show that AuNP enhanced the effect of a fractionated RT regimen that has significantly improved the response to anti PD-L1 treatment in 4T1Luc TNBC mouse model. This effect was measured by a delay in tumor growth and an increase in animal survival. These findings support the role of immunological mechanisms in TNBC and provide a platform for designing multimodal TNBC RT formulations with novel radiosensitizers or immunotherapy.





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