Department of Tumor Immunology, Nijmegen Centre for Molecular Life Sciences, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, PO Box 9101, Nijmegen 6500 HB, The Netherlands. firstname.lastname@example.org
Dendritic cells (DC) are professional antigen-presenting cells that play a pivotal role in the induction of immunity. Ex vivo-generated, tumour antigen-loaded mature DC are currently exploited as cancer vaccines in clinical studies. However, antigen loading and maturation of DC directly in vivo would greatly facilitate the application of DC-based vaccines. We formerly showed in murine models that radiofrequency-mediated tumour destruction can provide an antigen source for the in vivo induction of anti-tumour immunity, and we explored the role of DC herein. In this paper we evaluate radiofrequency and cryo ablation for their ability to provide an antigen source for DC and compare this with an ex vivo-loaded DC vaccine. The data obtained with model antigens demonstrate that upon tumour destruction by radiofrequency ablation, up to 7\% of the total draining lymph node (LN) DC contained antigen, whereas only few DC from the conventional vaccine reached the LN. Interestingly, following cryo ablation the amount of antigen-loaded DC is almost doubled. Analysis of surface markers revealed that both destruction methods were able to induce DC maturation. Finally, we show that in situ tumour ablation can be efficiently combined with immune modulation by anti-CTLA-4 antibodies or regulatory T-cell depletion. These combination treatments protected mice from the outgrowth of tumour challenges, and led to in vivo enhancement of tumour-specific T-cell numbers, which produced more IFN-gamma upon activation. Therefore, in situ tumour destruction in combination with immune modulation creates a unique, 'in situ DC-vaccine' that is readily applicable in the clinic without prior knowledge of tumour antigens.