Neoadjuvant Radiation Therapy and Surgery Improves Metastasis-Free Survival over Surgery Alone in a Primary Mouse Model of Soft Tissue Sarcoma.


This study aims to investigate whether adding neoadjuvant radiotherapy (RT), anti-programmed cell death protein-1 (PD-1) antibody (anti-PD-1), or RT + anti-PD-1 to surgical resection improves disease-free survival for mice with soft tissue sarcomas (STS). We generated a high mutational load primary mouse model of STS by intramuscular injection of adenovirus expressing Cas9 and guide RNA targeting Trp53 and intramuscular injection of 3-methylcholanthrene (MCA) into the gastrocnemius muscle of wild-type mice (p53/MCA model). We randomized tumor-bearing mice to receive isotype control or anti-PD-1 antibody with or without radiotherapy (20 Gy), followed by hind limb amputation. We used micro-CT to detect lung metastases with high spatial resolution, which was confirmed by histology. We investigated whether sarcoma metastasis was regulated by immunosurveillance by lymphocytes or tumor cell-intrinsic mechanisms. Compared with surgery with isotype control antibody, the combination of anti-PD-1, radiotherapy, and surgery improved local recurrence-free survival (P = 0.035) and disease-free survival (P = 0.005), but not metastasis-free survival. Mice treated with radiotherapy, but not anti-PD-1, showed significantly improved local recurrence-free survival and metastasis-free survival over surgery alone (P = 0.043 and P = 0.007, respectively). The overall metastasis rate was low (∼12%) in the p53/MCA sarcoma model, which limited the power to detect further improvement in metastasis-free survival with addition of anti-PD-1 therapy. Tail vein injections of sarcoma cells into immunocompetent mice suggested that impaired metastasis was due to inability of sarcoma cells to grow in the lungs rather than a consequence of immunosurveillance. In conclusion, neoadjuvant radiotherapy improves metastasis-free survival after surgery in a primary model of STS.





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Publication Info

Patel, Rutulkumar, Yvonne M Mowery, Yi Qi, Alex M Bassil, Matt Holbrook, Eric S Xu, Cierra S Hong, Jonathon E Himes, et al. (2023). Neoadjuvant Radiation Therapy and Surgery Improves Metastasis-Free Survival over Surgery Alone in a Primary Mouse Model of Soft Tissue Sarcoma. Molecular cancer therapeutics, 22(1). pp. 112–122. 10.1158/1535-7163.mct-21-0991 Retrieved from

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Yvonne Marie Mowery

Butler Harris Assistant Professor in Radiation Oncology

Jeffrey Ira Everitt

Professor Emeritus in Pathology

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