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Irradiated tumor cell–derived microparticles mediate tumor eradication via cell killing and immune reprogramming

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Science Advances  25 Mar 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 13, eaay9789
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aay9789


Radiotherapy (RT) is routinely used in cancer treatment, but expansion of its clinical indications remains challenging. The mechanism underlying the radiation-induced bystander effect (RIBE) is not understood and not therapeutically exploited. We suggest that the RIBE is predominantly mediated by irradiated tumor cell–released microparticles (RT-MPs), which induce broad antitumor effects and cause immunogenic death mainly through ferroptosis. Using a mouse model of malignant pleural effusion (MPE), we demonstrated that RT-MPs polarized microenvironmental M2 tumor-associated macrophages (M2-TAMs) to M1-TAMs and modulated antitumor interactions between TAMs and tumor cells. Following internalization of RT-MPs, TAMs displayed increased programmed cell death ligand 1 (PD-L1) expression, enhancing follow-up combined anti–PD-1 therapy that confers an ablative effect against MPE and cisplatin-resistant MPE mouse models. Immunological memory effects were induced.

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