. 2021 Feb; 13(4):.
doi: 10.3390/cancers13040678.

Enhance the Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors Efficacy with Radiotherapy Induced Immunogenic Cell Death: A Comprehensive Review and Latest Developments

Adrien Procureur 1 Audrey Simonaggio 1 Jean-Emmanuel Bibault 2 Stéphane Oudard 1 Yann-Alexandre Vano 1 
  • PMID: 33567530
  •     87 References
  •     5 citations


The immunogenic cell death (ICD) is defined as a regulated cell death able to induce an adaptive immunity. It depends on different parameters including sufficient antigenicity, adjuvanticity and favorable microenvironment conditions. Radiation therapy (RT), a pillar of modern cancer treatment, is being used in many tumor types in curative, (neo) adjuvant, as well as metastatic settings. The anti-tumor effects of RT have been traditionally attributed to the mitotic cell death resulting from the DNA damages triggered by the release of reactive oxygen species. Recent evidence suggests that RT may also exert its anti-tumor effect by recruiting tumor-specific immunity. RT is able to induce the release of tumor antigens, to act as an immune adjuvant and thus to synergize with the anti-tumor immunity. The advent of new efficient immunotherapeutic agents, such as immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICI), in multiple tumor types sheds new light on the opportunity of combining RT and ICI. Here, we will describe the biological and radiobiological rationale of the RT-induced ICD. We will then focus on the interest to combine RT and ICI, from bench to bedside, and summarize the clinical data existing with this combination. Finally, RT technical adaptations to optimize the ICD induction will be discussed.

Keywords: cancer treatment; combination therapy; immune checkpoint inhibitors; immunogenic cell death; radioimmunotherapy; radiotherapy.

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