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Clin Cancer Res. 2012 Sep 1;18(17):4522-5. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-12-1175. Epub 2012 Jul 3.

Optimizing cancer treatments to induce an acute immune response: radiation Abscopal effects, PAMPs, and DAMPs.

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Department of Radiation Oncology, Vancouver Island Centre, BC Cancer Agency, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.


Clinical results indicate improved survival in poorly differentiated prostate cancer patients following a treatment schedule that maximizes hormone therapy prior to radiation. This may be because of a systemic immune response, called an abscopal effect. A literature review showed an association between acute infection and abscopal cancer remission. This led to the theory that, in the presence of endogenous cancer-specific antigens exposed by cancer necrosis, an innate immune response can adapt to respond to those antigens via a cross-talk mechanism. This theory was validated in an animal model. An acute innate immune T-cell response was stimulated using cluster vaccination with Poly(I:C). In the presence of exogenous cancer-specific antigens, this immune response became adaptive, creating an abscopal effect that resulted in cancer resolution. These concepts may be of clinical value, improving outcomes by inducing systemic abscopal effects.

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