Current advances in immune checkpoint inhibitor combinations with radiation therapy or cryotherapy for breast cancer

Alice Y. Ho, Shervin Tabrizi, Samantha A. Dunn, Heather L. McArthur

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Purpose: Immune checkpoint inhibition (ICI) has demonstrated clinically significant efficacy when combined with chemotherapy in triple negative breast cancer (TNBC). Although many patients derived benefit, others do not respond to immunotherapy, therefore relying upon innovative combinations to enhance response. Local therapies such as radiation therapy (RT) and cryotherapy are immunogenic and potentially optimize responses to immunotherapy. Strategies combining these therapies and ICI are actively under investigation. This review will describe the rationale for combining ICI with targeted local therapies in breast cancer. Methods: A literature search was performed to identify pre-clinical and clinical studies assessing ICI combined with RT or cryotherapy published as of August 2021 using PubMed and Results: Published studies of ICI with RT and IPI have demonstrated safety and signals of early efficacy. Conclusion: RT and cryotherapy are local therapies that can be integrated safely with ICI and has shown promise in early trials. Randomized phase II studies testing both of these approaches, such as P-RAD (NCT04443348) and ipilimumab/nivolumab/cryoablation for TNBC (NCT03546686) are current enrolling. The results of these studies are paramount as they will provide long term data on the safety and efficacy of these regimens.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)229-241
Number of pages13
JournalBreast Cancer Research and Treatment
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 2022


  • Abscopal effect
  • Breast cancer
  • Checkpoint inhibition
  • Cryoablation
  • Immunotherapy
  • Radiation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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