TAMPA, Fla. (March 1, 2012) A team of 18 researchers at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Fla., have found that treating high-risk, soft tissue sarcoma patients with a combination of implanted dendritic cells (immune system cells) and fractionated external beam radiation (EBRT) provided more than 50 percent of their trial patients with tumor-specific immune responses lasting from 11 to 42 weeks.
Their study was published in a recent issue of the International Journal of Radiation Oncology * Biology * Physics (Vol. 82, No. 2), the journal of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO).
"Sarcomas are relatively rare forms of cancer with about 10,000 new cases in the U.S. annually," said study co-author Dmitry Gabrilovich, M.D., Ph.D., senior member of the Moffitt Department of Immunology.
The authors note that because 50 percent of patients with large, high-grade soft tissue sarcomas develop distant metastasis, new, effective treatments are needed.
"Unfortunately, conventional therapy for large, high-grade tumors is frequently systematically ineffective, making this a very deadly problem," Gabrilovich said.
According to the researchers, administration of dendritic cells has been found to be a promising method for producing an immune response because dendritic cells process antigen material and present it to other immune cells. Dendritic cells act as immune system messengers.
"Many studies have shown that preoperative radiotherapy and surgery is effective in treating many soft tissue sarcomas with high-risk features," said Gabrilovich. "We designed our study to investigate the effect of combining the administration of dendritic cells and EBRT for patients with soft tissue, high-risk sarcomas."
The researchers hypothesized that if dendritic cell implants were combined with EBRT (the most common kind of radiotherapy treatment that not only can kill tumor cells but release tumor antigens)
|Contact: Ferdie De Vega|
H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute