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This article is part of the supplement: São Paulo Advanced School of Comparative Oncology: Abstracts

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Tumor RNA-transfected dendritic cells and combined therapy with low dose 5-FU induce regression of murine colon cancer

Marcela R de Camargo12, Carolina M Gorgulho1, Cecília P Rodrigues1, Juliana CL Frederico12, Fabiana A Zambuzi1, Victoria E Galvão1, Marcimara Penitenti3 and Ramon Kaneno12*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Institute of Biosciences, UNESP, Botucatu, SP, Brazil

2 Department of Pathology, School of Medicine, UNESP, Botucatu, SP, Brazil

3 Fundação Amaral Carvalho, Jaú - SP, Brazil

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BMC Proceedings 2013, 7(Suppl 2):P45  doi:10.1186/1753-6561-7-S2-P45

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Published:4 April 2013

© 2013 de Camargo et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


We have recently observed that treatment of colon tumor cells with low concentration of paclitaxel increased the expression of several genes associated with antigen-presenting machinery. Since 5-fluoruracil (5-FU) is the main antineoplastic agent for colon cancer, in this study we aimed to evaluate: a) whether transfection of dendritic cells (DC) with drug-treated tumor cells RNA, enhances the effectiveness of DC-based vaccine; b) if the modulatory effects of vaccine can be observed in vivo, and c) if the combination of DC with low dose chemotherapy schedule improves the antitumor responsiveness.

Materials and methods

Murine colon cancer cells (MC-38) were treated with the minimum effective concentration (MEC) of 5-FU and their RNA was used to transfect DC. Then, C57/Bl-6 tumor-bearing mice were treated with DC vaccine. Another group of animals received low doses of chemotherapy schedule and DC vaccine.


Results of 2 independent assays have shown that vaccination with RNA-transfected DC delayed the tumor growth, increased the percentage of CD86+ (35%) CD40+ (63%) and MHC class II+ (47%) and significantly increased the in vitro production of IFN-γ and decreased IL-10 by spleen cells co-culture. In addition we observed that the combination of DC vaccine with low dose 5-FU chemotherapy induced complete tumor regression in 75% of the treated animals.


Taken together our results indicate that low dose 5-FU plus DC vaccine can enhance the antitumor response and lead to complete tumor regression.

Finacial support

FAPESP 2009/18331-8; 2010/06013-9.