Radiation therapy is one of the primary treatment modalities for cancer along with chemotherapy and surgical therapy. The main mechanism of the tumor reduction after irradiation has been considered to be damage to the tumor DNA. However, we found that tumor-specific CTL, which were induced in the draining lymph nodes (DLN) and tumor tissue of tumor-bearing mice, play a crucial role in the inhibition of tumor growth by radiation. Indeed, the therapeutic effect of irradiation was almost completely abolished in tumor-bearing mice by depleting CD8+ T cells through anti-CD8 monoclonal antibody administration. In mice whose DLN were surgically ablated or genetically defective (Aly/Aly mice), the generation of tetramer+ tumor-specific CTL at the tumor site was greatly reduced in parallel with the attenuation of the radiation-induced therapeutic effect against the tumor. This indicates that DLN are essential for the activation and accumulation of radiationinduced CTL, which are essential for inhibition of the tumor. A combined therapy of local radiation with ThI cell therapy augmented the generation of tumor-specific CTL at the tumor site and induced a complete regression of the tumor, although radiation therapy alone did not exhibit such a pronounced therapeutic effect. Thus, we conclude that the combination treatment of local radiation therapy and Th1 cell therapy is a rational strategy to augment antitumor activity mediated by tumor-specific CTL.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research