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    How ‘chemoimmunotherapy’ may help destroy advanced PCa

    Use of a novel chemotherapy-immunotherapy combination achieved near complete remission in a study of mice with advanced prostate cancer that a leading expert said is “exciting for multiple reasons.”

    READ: Post-RP radiation therapy on decline in U.S.

    An international team, made up of researchers from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, as well as universities in Austria and Germany, appears to overcome the challenge of treating larger prostate tumors, which typically do not respond to chemotherapy. Larger prostate tumors accumulate cells that suppress immune response, allowing cancer to progress despite treatment, according to a UC San Diego press release.

    Interestingly, prostate cancer doesn’t respond to checkpoint inhibitors, which can unleash the immune system to better fight the cancer. Prostate cancer’s resistance to these immunotherapy drugs could be due, in part, to immunosuppressive B cells, which are more likely to be found in advanced and metastatic cancers in humans and larger prostate tumors in mice.

    To test what is called chemoimmunotherapy, the authors studied three advanced prostate cancer mouse models, all of which were resistant to low doses of oxaliplatin (Eloxatin), an immunogenic chemotherapeutic agent that has been shown to be effective in the treatment of aggressive prostate cancer.

    When the authors blocked immunosuppressive B cells or removed them before oxaliplatin treatment, the prostate tumors were almost completely destroyed by the mice’s immune cells. The researchers obtained similar results when low-dose oxaliplatin was combined with a checkpoint inhibitor, according to the release.

    “The presence of such B cells in human prostate cancer calls for clinical testing of this novel therapeutic approach,” said first author Shabnam Shalapour, PhD, of the University of California, San Diego.

    Findings from the study were published in Nature (2015; 521:94-98).

    NEXT: Dr. Thrasher's take on the study

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    Lisette Hilton
    Lisette Hilton, president of Words Come Alive, has written about health care, the science and business of medicine, fitness and wellness ...

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