Study discusses impact of chemotherapy on immune cells

Updated:2 months ago

New Delhi, Apr 13 (ANI): The findings of recent research from Queen Mary University of London revealed novel insights into the effects of chemotherapy on the tumour microenvironment. The study, published today in Cancer Immunology Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, found that chemotherapy enhances the anti-tumour actions of immune cells within the TME and their ability to support immune responses against cancer. Cancers are not just a mass of cancerous cells but are rogue organs made up of many different cell types, including cells that form connective tissue and blood vessels, and immune cells. These non-cancerous cells have been recruited and corrupted by cancer to help it grow and spread, and constitute what is known as the TME. When treating cancer cells with chemotherapy, the cells within the TME are also impacted and previous research has shown that chemotherapy may activate immune cells within the TME to fight against cancer. In this study, the team, led by Professor Fran Balkwill, investigated the effects of chemotherapy on immune cells called macrophages, which are associated with poor survival across a variety of cancer types. The study focused on high-grade serous ovarian cancer (HGSOC) - the most common type of ovarian cancer. Chemotherapy and surgery are currently the main treatment options for patients with ovarian cancer. Despite chemotherapy working well initially, many patients experience relapse due to the development of resistance against these drugs. Professor Balkwill from the Queen Mary University of London said: "This study enhances our understanding of the impact of chemotherapy on macrophages and other aspects of the immune response. As our work was driven by results first obtained in patient samples and we were able to replicate the findings in our mouse models, we could investigate hypotheses and obtain data that have translational significance. Ultimately, the team hopes that their models could help to identify new drug combinations that harness the initial immune-boosting effects of chemotherapy to reduce the number of required chemotherapy doses, minimise toxic side effects and improve survival for patients with ovarian cancer.

Related Video

iocl