Chemo-immunotherapy of colorectal carcinoma: preclinical rationale and clinical experience.
ABSTRACT Advanced colorectal cancer is a common disease with an high mortality rate. For four decades, pharmacological treatment of the advanced disease was based on the use of 5-fluorouracil alone or in combination with biomodulators such as folinic acid and intereferon alpha. In the last 5 years, response to therapy has been considerably ameliorated thanks to the discovery of new drugs such as oxaliplatin and CPT-11. These agents, in combination with 5-fluorouracil, according to various schedules of treatment, have reached a significant improvement of palliation, response rate and survival. Immunotherapy is an uprising modality of treatment for human cancer including colorectal carcinoma. Its rationale is based on the knowledge that tumour cells are genetically unstable and produce molecular structures which allow their recognition and destruction by the immune-surveillance system. Therefore, humoral as well as cellular compartments of the immune system can be utilized according to a "passive" strategy (e.g. monoclonal antibody administration and adoptive immunotherapy) or an "active" approach, by using different modalities of vaccine therapy. In this context, monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) and cancer vaccines are being tested for the treatment of advanced colorectal cancer. Due to their genetic instability and extraordinary adaptative potential, tumour cells may acquire resistance to the immune effectors and mAbs exactly as they do for cytotoxic drugs. To improve the results of both immunological and chemical modality of cancer treatment, an increasing number of authors is starting to combine chemo and immunotherapy in the attempt to circumvent the limitations of both strategies. This report tries to review the possible rationale of the chemo-immunotherapy combination, illustrating preliminary results of preclinical and clinical studies.
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ABSTRACT: New options are needed for the management and prevention of colorectal cancer liver metastases. Interleukin 12 (IL-12) is an immunostimulatory cytokine with proven antitumour effect in animal models. Despite evidence indicating its biological effect in humans, neither the recombinant protein nor gene therapy vectors expressing IL-12 have shown a relevant benefit in patients with cancer. To develop a new approach to overcome the difficulties in obtaining a suitable expression pattern and the immunosuppressive milieu in the tumours which contribute to this poor performance. A high-capacity ('gutless') adenoviral vector carrying a liver-specific, mifepristone (Mif)-inducible system for the expression of IL-12 (HC-Ad/RUmIL-12) was used in combination with chemotherapy. Tumours were established in the liver of C57BL/6 mice by inoculation of MC38 colon cancer cells. Intrahepatic injection of HC-Ad/RUmIL-12 and tailored induction regimens allowed the maintenance of safe and efficient levels of IL-12 in vivo. An individualised, stepwise increase in the dose of Mif (125-4000 μg/kg) was needed to compensate for the progressive but transient downregulation of the inducible system. Repeated cycles of Mif induction (every 24 h for 10 days) were needed for optimal tumour eradication. However, complete protection against tumour rechallenge was seen in < 25% of the animals. The administration of oxaliplatin (5 mg/kg intraperitoneally) 3 days before starting the induction regimen achieved efficient elimination of liver metastases with a single cycle of IL-12 induction, and improved protection against tumour rechallenge. This was associated with a shift in the tumour microenvironment towards a more pro-immunogenic phenotype, with an increase in the CD8+/T regulatory cell ratio and a reduction in myeloid-derived suppressor cells. These effects were not seen with 5-fluorouracil, irinotecan or gemcitabine. Long-term controlled expression of IL-12 using an HC-Ad vector in combination with oxaliplatin is effective and clinically applicable against hepatic colon cancer metastases.Gut 03/2011; 60(3):341-9. · 10.73 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: We investigated the effects of anticancer agents on peripheral blood mononuclear cells for the purpose of providing data to support new translational chemoimmunotherapy regimens. Peripheral-blood mononuclear cells were treated with one of four anticancer agents (5-fluorouracil, irinotecan, cisplatin, and gemcitabine) for 2 h, after which cell viability was determined. For assessment of effects of each drug on proliferation and cytokine production, cells were stimulated with phytohemagglutinin for 48 h. As a result, the anticancer agents did not affect cell viability. Cell proliferation was unaffected by 5-fluorouracil and irinotecan but inhibited by cisplatin and gemcitabine. Treatment with gemcitabine enhanced the production of IFN-γ and decreased the number of regulatory T cells. gemcitabine treatment increased IFN-γ production among CD4 T cells but not among CD8 T cells. The results indicated that GEM had immunoregulatory properties that might support immune response against cancer. This finding has implications for designing chemoimmunotherapy strategies.Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition 01/2013; 52(1):64-71. · 2.25 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: There is growing evidence that both local and systemic inflammatory responses play an important role in the progression of a variety of solid tumors. Colorectal cancer (CRC) results from the cumulative effect of sequential genetic alterations, leading to the expression of tumor-associated antigens possibly inducing a cellular anti-tumor immune response. It is well recognized that cytotoxic lymphocytes (CTLs) constitute one of the most important effector mechanisms of anti-tumor-immunity. However, their potential prognostic influence in CRC remains controversial. In addition, other key players like natural killer cells, tumor associated macrophages and regulatory T cells play an important role in the immune attack against CRC and need further investigation. This review will mainly focus on the role of the adaptive immune system in CRC and particularly in regard to microsatellite instability.Cancer Microenvironment 05/2011; 4(3):377-92.