Chronic bacterial osteomyelitis suppression of tumor growth requires innate immune responses

Cancer Immunol Immunother. 2010 Mar;59(3):367-78. doi: 10.1007/s00262-009-0755-y. Epub 2009 Aug 23.


Clinical studies over the past several years have reported that metastasis-free survival times in humans and dogs with osteosarcoma are significantly increased in patients that develop chronic bacterial osteomyelitis at their surgical site. However, the immunological mechanism by which osteomyelitis may suppress tumor growth has not been investigated. Therefore, we used a mouse model of osteomyelitis to assess the effects of bone infection on innate immunity and tumor growth. A chronic Staphylococcal osteomyelitis model was established in C3H mice and the effects of infection on tumor growth of syngeneic DLM8 osteosarcoma were assessed. The effects of infection on tumor angiogenesis and innate immunity, including NK cell and monocyte responses, were assessed. We found that osteomyelitis significantly inhibited the growth of tumors in mice, and that the effect was independent of the infecting bacterial type, tumor type, or mouse strain. Depletion of NK cells or monocytes reversed the antitumor activity elicited by infection. Moreover, infected mice had a significant increase in circulating monocytes and numbers of tumor associated macrophages. Infection suppressed tumor angiogenesis but did not affect the numbers of circulating endothelial cells. Therefore, we concluded that chronic localized bacterial infection could elicit significant systemic antitumor activity dependent on NK cells and macrophages.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chronic Disease
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Killer Cells, Natural / immunology
  • Macrophages / immunology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C3H
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Monocytes / immunology
  • Neoplasms
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic
  • Osteomyelitis / complications*
  • Osteosarcoma / complications*
  • Osteosarcoma / immunology*
  • Osteosarcoma / pathology
  • Staphylococcal Infections / complications*