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Changes in the local tumor microenvironment in recurrent cancers may explain the failure of vaccines after surgery

Predina, Jarrod, Eruslanov, Evgeniy, Judy, Brendan, Kapoor, Veena, Cheng, Guanjun, Wang, Liang-Chuan, Sun, Jing, Moon, Edmund K., Fridlender, Zvi Gregorio, Albelda, Steven, Singhal, Sunil
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2013 v.110 no.5 pp. E415
T-lymphocytes, antineoplastic agents, clones, immune response, lymph nodes, macrophages, neoplasm cells, neoplasms, patients, people, surgery, vaccines, United States
Each year, more than 700,000 people undergo cancer surgery in the United States. However, more than 40% of those patients develop recurrences and have a poor outcome. Traditionally, the medical community has assumed that recurrent tumors arise from selected tumor clones that are refractory to therapy. However, we found that tumor cells have few phenotypical differences after surgery. Thus, we propose an alternative explanation for the resistance of recurrent tumors. Surgery promotes inhibitory factors that allow lingering immunosuppressive cells to repopulate small pockets of residual disease quickly. Recurrent tumors and draining lymph nodes are infiltrated with M2 (CD11b ⁺F4/80 ʰⁱCD206 ʰⁱ and CD11b ⁺F4/80 ʰⁱCD124 ʰⁱ) macrophages and CD4 ⁺Foxp3 ⁺ regulatory T cells. This complex network of immunosuppression in the surrounding tumor microenvironment explains the resistance of tumor recurrences to conventional cancer vaccines despite small tumor size, an intact antitumor immune response, and unaltered cancer cells. Therapeutic strategies coupling antitumor agents with inhibition of immunosuppressive cells potentially could impact the outcomes of more than 250,000 people each year.