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Immunological aspects of radiotherapy

Radiotherapy is a key treatment modality for the management of various types of cancer. Its potent capacity to kill tumor cells and to abrogate clonogenic survival has historically been considered to be an essential determinant of its therapeutic success. However, there is growing experimental evidence suggesting that innate as well as adaptive immune responses contribute to the radiotherapeutic outcome. This applies to both the intentional effects, including the induction of a specific anti-tumor immune response, as well as the unintentional side effects, such as inflammatory reactions, which might even develop to dose-limiting complications.

The aim of this article series is to introduce our readers to different immunological aspects of radiotherapy and to show which new avenues of research are currently opening up.

Prof Kirsten Lauber

  1. Research

    mRNA-based vaccines synergize with radiation therapy to eradicate established tumors

    The eradication of large, established tumors by active immunotherapy is a major challenge because of the numerous cancer evasion mechanisms that exist. This study aimed to establish a novel combination therapy...

    Mariola Fotin-Mleczek, Kai Zanzinger, Regina Heidenreich, Christina Lorenz, Aleksandra Kowalczyk, Karl-Josef Kallen and Stephan M Huber

    Radiation Oncology 2014 9:180

    Published on: 15 August 2014

  2. Research

    Hsp70 - a biomarker for tumor detection and monitoring of outcome of radiation therapy in patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck

    Tumor but not normal cells frequently overexpress heat shock protein 70 (Hsp70) and present it on their cell surface (mHsp70) from where it can be actively released. Therefore, membrane (mHsp70) and soluble Hs...

    Mathias Gehrmann, Hanno M Specht, Christine Bayer, Markus Brandstetter, Barbara Chizzali, Marciana Duma, Stephanie Breuninger, Kathrin Hube, Sophie Lehnerer, Valerie van Phi, Eva Sage, Thomas E Schmid, Michael Sedelmayr, Daniela Schilling, Wolfgang Sievert, Stefan Stangl…

    Radiation Oncology 2014 9:131

    Published on: 9 June 2014

  3. Research

    Thorax irradiation triggers a local and systemic accumulation of immunosuppressive CD4+ FoxP3+ regulatory T cells

    Lymphocyte infiltration is a common feature of radiation-induced pneumonitis and fibrosis, but their contribution to the pathogenic processes is still unclear. Here, we addressed the impact of thorax irradiati...

    Florian Wirsdörfer, Federica Cappuccini, Muska Niazman, Simone de Leve, Astrid M Westendorf, Lutz Lüdemann, Martin Stuschke and Verena Jendrossek

    Radiation Oncology 2014 9:98

    Published on: 25 April 2014

  4. Research

    Fractionated radiotherapy is the main stimulus for the induction of cell death and of Hsp70 release of p53 mutated glioblastoma cell lines

    Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most common primary brain tumor in adults. Despite a multimodal therapy consisting of resection followed by fractionated radiotherapy (RT) combined with the chemotherapeuti...

    Yvonne Rubner, Carolin Muth, Annedore Strnad, Anja Derer, Renate Sieber, Rolf Buslei, Benjamin Frey, Rainer Fietkau and Udo S Gaipl

    Radiation Oncology 2014 9:89

    Published on: 30 March 2014

  5. Research

    Release of monocyte migration signals by breast cancer cell lines after ablative and fractionated γ-irradiation

    Radiotherapy, administered in fractionated as well as ablative settings, is an essential treatment component for breast cancer. Besides the direct tumor cell death inducing effects, there is growing evidence t...

    Roman Hennel, Nikko Brix, Karin Seidl, Anne Ernst, Heike Scheithauer, Claus Belka and Kirsten Lauber

    Radiation Oncology 2014 9:85

    Published on: 26 March 2014

  6. Research

    A non-linear detection of phospho-histone H2AX in EA.hy926 endothelial cells following low-dose X-irradiation is modulated by reactive oxygen species

    A discontinuous dose response relationship is a major characteristic of the anti-inflammatory effects of low-dose X-irradiation therapy. Although recent data indicate an involvement of a variety of molecular m...

    Martin Large, Sebastian Reichert, Stephanie Hehlgans, Claudia Fournier, Claus Rödel and Franz Rödel

    Radiation Oncology 2014 9:80

    Published on: 22 March 2014

  7. Research

    Synergistic enhancement of NK cell-mediated cytotoxicity by combination of histone deacetylase inhibitor and ionizing radiation

    The overexpression of histone deacetylase (HDAC) and a subsequent decrease in the acetylation levels of nuclear histones are frequently observed in cancer cells. Generally it was accepted that the deacetylatio...

    Cheol-Hun Son, Jin-Hee Keum, Kwangmo Yang, Jiho Nam, Mi-Ju Kim, Sun-Hee Kim, Chi-Dug Kang, Sae-Ock Oh, Chi-Dae Kim, You-Soo Park and Jaeho Bae

    Radiation Oncology 2014 9:49

    Published on: 10 February 2014