Loss of antigen cross-presentation after complete tumor resection is associated with the generation of protective tumor-specific CD8 (+) T-cell immunity
Brown, M.D.; van der Most, R.; Vivian, J.B.; Lake, R.A.; Larma, I.; Robinson, B.W.S.; Currie, A.J.
Oncoimmunology 1(7): 1084-1094
An incomplete understanding on the effect of surgery on tumor-specific immunity continues to hamper efforts to combine surgery with immunotherapy in the clinic. Herein, we describe the impact of tumor resection on the tumor-specific T-cell response, showing that complete tumor resection is associated with (1) a decline in the amount of cross-presented tumor antigens, (2) a decline of cytolytic tumor-specific CD8(+) T cell activity, and (3) the development of systemic CD8(+) T cell-mediated protective immunity. Our findings are consistent with a model whereby tumor resection releases antitumor CD8(+) T cells from chronic antigen exposure, allowing a gradual differentiation toward functional antitumor memory T cells. This process depends on sentinel lymph nodes, as their removal at the time of surgery was associated with a strong negative effect on survival. We conclude that complete tumor resection provides a unique environment that boosts protective immunological memory and might provide a powerful platform for immunotherapy. Our findings also carry important implications for the design and timing of post-surgery immunotherapeutic regimens.