Ex vivo analysis of radiation effects on tumor infiltrating immune cells using tumor explants.

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Methods in cell biology


oregon; chiles


The response to radiation therapy incorporates both the direct impacts of radiation on cancer cells as well as the immune consequences that can help or hinder control of residual disease. Understanding the response of an individual patient's cancer to radiation, and the impact of radiation on the immune cell subsets present in the tumor prior to radiation therapy, can help identify potential predictors of outcome. Here, we describe a methodological approach to using an explant tumor model to characterize and study the immune cell subsets in murine tumors following exposure to ex vivo radiation treatment. The broader tumor environment incorporates distinct microenvironments consisting of tumor stroma and cancer cell nests, with limited interchange between these zones. Ex vivo analysis of tumor explants ensures that these environments remain intact and allows patient-specific response assessments with a broader range of treatment conditions to find optimal conditions and immunotherapy combinations. While this protocol describes the treatment of murine tumors, with minor variations the same protocol can be used to study and characterize various immune populations following radiation therapy in human tumors.

Clinical Institute