Research ArticleIMMUNOLOGY

Detection of response to tumor microenvironment–targeted cellular immunotherapy using nano-radiomics

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Science Advances  10 Jul 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 28, eaba6156
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aba6156

Abstract

Immunotherapies, including cell-based therapies, targeting the tumor microenvironment (TME) result in variable and delayed responses. Thus, it has been difficult to gauge the efficacy of TME-directed therapies early after administration. We investigated a nano-radiomics approach (quantitative analysis of nanoparticle contrast–enhanced three-dimensional images) for detection of tumor response to cellular immunotherapy directed against myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs), a key component of TME. Animals bearing human MDSC-containing solid tumor xenografts received treatment with MDSC-targeting human natural killer (NK) cells and underwent nanoparticle contrast–enhanced computed tomography (CT) imaging. Whereas conventional CT-derived tumor metrics were unable to differentiate NK cell immunotherapy tumors from untreated tumors, nano-radiomics revealed texture-based features capable of differentiating treatment groups. Our study shows that TME-directed cellular immunotherapy causes subtle changes not effectively gauged by conventional imaging metrics but revealed by nano-radiomics. Our work provides a method for noninvasive assessment of TME-directed immunotherapy potentially applicable to numerous solid tumors.

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