Combining chemotherapy with immunotherapy is promising treatment for advanced prostate cancer

Using mouse models, researchers learn that immune cell manipulation in combination with chemotherapy achieves prostate cancer remission. In the image, micrograph of prostate cancer cells

Neoplastic tumours are known to promote immune tolerance, which can lead to chemotherapy resistance. New insights into the underlying mechanisms are provided by a study in Nature
(online, 29 April 2015), which shows that mouse models of aggressive prostate cancer are resistant to the chemotherapy drug oxaliplatin unless the animals are lacking immunosuppressive B cells.

When B cells were depleted – either genetically or pharmacologically – the prostate tumours became susceptible to treatment with oxaliplatin. “The crucial immunosuppressive B cells are plasmocytes that express IgA, interleukin-10 and programmed death ligand 1,” the authors write.

Since immunosuppressive B-cells are also known to infiltrate human treatment-resistant prostate cancers, this is a promising line of research for novel cancer therapies, they say.


[1] Shalapour S, Font-Burgada J, Di Caro G et al. Immunosuppressive plasma cells impede T-cell-dependent immunogenic chemotherapy. Nature 2015. doi:10.1038/nature14395.

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, 9/16 May 2015, Vol 294, No 7861/2;294(7861/2):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2015.20068463