Immune Modulation by Androgen Deprivation and Radiation Therapy: Implications for Prostate Cancer Immunotherapy




Kalina, Jennifer L.
Neilson, David S.
Comber, Alexandra P.
Rauw, Jennifer M.
Alexander, Abraham S.
Vergidis, Joanna
Lum, Julian J.

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Prostate cancer patients often receive androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) in combination with radiation therapy (RT). Recent evidence suggests that both ADT and RT have immune modulatory properties. First, ADT can cause infiltration of lymphocytes into the prostate, although it remains unclear whether the influx of lymphocytes is beneficial, particularly with the advent of new classes of androgen blockers. Second, in rare cases, radiation can elicit immune responses that mediate regression of metastatic lesions lying outside the field of radiation, a phenomenon known as the abscopal response. In light of these findings, there is emerging interest in exploiting any potential synergy between ADT, RT, and immunotherapy. Here, we provide a comprehensive review of the rationale behind combining immunotherapy with ADT and RT for the treatment of prostate cancer, including an examination of the current clinical trials that employ this combination. The reported outcomes of several trials demonstrate the promise of this combination strategy; however, further scrutiny is needed to elucidate how these standard therapies interact with immune modulators. In addition, we discuss the importance of synchronizing immune modulation relative to ADT and RT, and provide insight into elements that may impact the ability to achieve maximum synergy between these treatments.



androgen deprivation therapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, prostate cancer, cancer vaccines, checkpoint inhibitors


Kalina, J. L.; Neilson, D. S.; Comber, A. P.; Rauw, J. M.; Alexander, A. S.; Vergidis, J.; & Lum, J. J. (2017). Immune modulation by androgen deprivation and radiation therapy: Implications for prostate cancer immunotherapy. Cancers, 9(2), 13.