Immune modulating effects of cyclophosphamide and treatment with tumor lysate/CpG synergize to eliminate murine neuroblastoma

Jill A. Gershan, Kristen M. Barr, James J. Weber, Weiqing Jing, Bryon D. Johnson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background: Neuroblastoma is a pediatric cancer of neural crest origin. Despite aggressive treatment, mortality remains at 40 % for patients with high-risk disseminated disease, underscoring the need to test new combinations of therapies. In murine tumor models, our laboratory previously showed that T cell-mediated anti-tumor immune responses improve in the context of lymphopenia. The goal of this study was to incorporate lymphodepletion into an effective immune therapy that can be easily translated into neuroblastoma standard of care. Based on the lymphodepleting effects of cyclophosphamide, we hypothesized that cyclophosphamide would synergize with the TLR9 agonist, CpG oligodeoxynucleotide (ODN), to produce a T cell-mediated anti-neuroblastoma effect. Methods: To test this hypothesis, we used the AgN2a aggressive murine model of neuroblastoma. Mice bearing subcutaneous tumors were treated with cyclophosphamide followed by treatment with tumor cell lysate mixed with CpG ODN injected at the tumor site. Results: Subcutaneous neuroblastoma regressed only in mice that were treated with 100mg/kg cyclophosphamide prior to receiving treatments of tumor lysate mixed with CpG ODN. The anti-neuroblastoma response was T cell-mediated. Synergy between cyclophosphamide and the tumor lysate/CpG ODN treatment influenced the production of anti-tumor CD8 T cell effectors, and dendritic cell homeostasis. For clinical consideration, an allogeneic tumor lysate was used effectively with this protocol to eliminate AgN2a tumor in vivo. Conclusion: Synergistic immune modulating effects of cyclophosphamide and a treatment containing tumor cell lysate and CpG ODN provide T cell-mediated anti-tumor activity against murine neuroblastoma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number24
JournalJournal for immunotherapy of cancer
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 16 2015


  • CpG
  • Lymphodepletion
  • Neuroblastoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Pharmacology
  • Immunology


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