Harnessing and Optimizing the Interplay between Immunotherapy and Radiotherapy to Improve Survival Outcomes

Kalpana Mujoo, Clayton R Hunt, Raj K Pandita, Mauro Ferrari, Sunil Krishnan, John P Cooke, Stephen Hahn, Tej K Pandita

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


In the past, radiotherapy was primarily used to control local disease, but recent technological advances in accurate, high-dose ionizing radiation (IR) delivery have not only increased local tumor control but in some cases reduced metastatic burden. These "off target" therapeutic effects of IR at nonirradiated tumor sites, also known as abscopal effects, are thought to be mediated by tumor antigen-primed T cells that travel to metastatic sites and promote tumor regression. Similarly, early indications reveal that IR in combination with immune checkpoint inhibitors, such as ipilimumab (anti-CTLA-4) and nivolumab (anti-PD-1), can provide superior therapeutic responses. These observations suggest that local radiotherapy results in altered gene expression, exposure of new antigens, or cell death that can interact with immunotherapy. As such, radiotherapy enhancement of immune responses offers a promising synergy with the potential for substantial clinical benefit. This review focuses on the biology that underlies the mechanisms for the interaction between radiation-induced tumor cell death and enhanced immunologic response. Mol Cancer Res; 16(8); 1209-14. ©2018 AACR.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1209-1214
Number of pages6
JournalMolecular Cancer Research
Issue number8
Early online dateMar 28 2018
StatePublished - Aug 1 2018


  • Journal Article
  • Review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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