Antitumor Immunity from Abdominal Flap-Embedded Therapeutic Cancer Vaccine

Xiaoling Liu, Junhua Mai, Chaoyang Meng, Aldona J. Spiegel, Wei Wei, Haifa Shen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Abdominal flaps are routinely performed in clinic after primary mastectomy of breast cancer. However, cancer patients can still develop cancer recurrence and metastasis after surgery. In this study, we evaluated the feasibility of concurrent abdominal flap reconstruction and vaccine inoculation in the tissue for prevention and treatment of HER2-positive breast cancer.

METHODS: A murine model of metastatic HER2-positive breast cancer was generated by inoculating HER2-expressing TUBO tumor cells into both the mammary gland fat pad and left ventricle. Mammary gland fat pad with primary tumor was resected by mastectomy, and superficial inferior epigastric (SIE) vessel-based abdominal flap was performed for abdominal reconstruction. During the surgery, mice also received a single intra-flap treatment of a microparticulate-based cancer vaccine. Popliteal (Pop) and inguinal (Ing) lymph nodes (LN) were collected at different time points after vaccination, and activation of dendritic cells and T lymphocytes was evaluated with flow cytometry. ELISpot was also performed to measure HER2-specific T cells in splenocytes. In addition, infiltration of CD3 + T cells in brain metastatic nodules was analyzed with immunohistochemistry.

RESULTS: Flow cytometry detected increased number of activated dendritic cells in lymph nodes in mice treated with cancer vaccine. ELISpot revealed abundant IFN-γ-expressing T cells in the spleen. Mice treated with abdominal flap-embedded cancer vaccine extended median survival by 9 days over the control group (p<0.05).

CONCLUSION: Abdominal flap-embedded cancer vaccine effectively stimulated systemic immune response and inhibited tumor progression in a murine model of HER2-positive breast cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)203-212
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Nanomedicine
StatePublished - 2022


  • Breast cancer
  • Cancer vaccine
  • HER2
  • Peddled flap-based reconstruction
  • Silicon microparticle
  • T-Lymphocytes
  • Humans
  • Breast Neoplasms
  • Lymph Nodes
  • Animals
  • Cancer Vaccines
  • Mastectomy
  • Female
  • Mice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Drug Discovery
  • Bioengineering
  • Biophysics
  • Biomaterials
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Organic Chemistry


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