Eighty-one patients with oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) received oral fluoropyrimidine UFT and radiotherapy (RT) with or without an immunotherapeutic agent OK-432. Both overall survival and progression-free survival of patients who received RT + UFT + OK-432 were significantly longer than those of patients who received RT + UFT (P =.0075 and P =.0175, respectively). Clinical response was also more favorable in RT + UFT + OK-432 group than in RT + UFT group (P =.0066). Next, in vitro experiments were conducted to examine the effect of 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) and X-ray irradiation in OK-432-induced immunity. Human peripheral blood mononuclear cells stimulated with OK-432 produced helper T cell 1 (Th1)-type cytokines as well as interleukin-10 (IL-10) and transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β), which are produced by Th2 and regulatory T cells (Tregs), respectively, and are inhibitory in antitumor immunity. OK-432-induced IL-10 and TGF-β but not Th1 cytokines were significantly inhibited by 5-FU and/or X-ray. 5-FU and X-ray also inhibited the expression of mRNAs for GATA-3 and Foxp3, which are transcription factors for Th2 and Tregs, respectively, but not for T-bet, a transcription factor for Th1. In addition, 5-FU and X-ray decreased the expression of mRNAs for suppressor of cytokine signaling 1 (SOCS1) and SOCS3. Antisense oligonucleotides for SOCS1 and SOCS3 markedly reduced OK-432-induced IL-10 and TGF-β. This is the first report clearly demonstrating that OK-432-based immunotherapy significantly enhanced the therapeutic effects of chemoradiotherapy in patients with OSCC as well as elucidating the mechanism of the synergistic effect of immunochemoradiotherapy in which 5-FU and radiation enhanced OK-432-induced Th1 response mediated by the inhibition of SOCS1 and SOCS3 gene expression.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research