Anti-tumour synergy of cytotoxic chemotherapy and anti-CD40 plus CpG-ODN immunotherapy through repolarization of tumour-associated macrophages

Immunology. 2011 Feb;132(2):226-39. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2567.2010.03357.x. Epub 2010 Oct 13.


We studied the effectiveness of monoclonal anti-CD40 + cytosine-phosphate-guanosine-containing oligodeoxynucleotide 1826 (CpG-ODN) immunotherapy (IT) in mice treated with multidrug chemotherapy (CT) consisting of vincristine, cyclophosphamide and doxorubicin. Combining CT with IT led to synergistic anti-tumour effects in C57BL/6 mice with established B16 melanoma or 9464D neuroblastoma. CT suppressed the functions of T cells and natural killer (NK) cells, but primed naïve peritoneal macrophages (Mφ) to in vitro stimulation with lipopolysaccharide (LPS), resulting in augmented nitric oxide (NO) production. IT, given after CT, did not restore the responsiveness of T cells and NK cells, but further activated Mφ to secrete NO, interferon-γ (IFN-γ) and interleukin (IL)-12p40 and to suppress the proliferation of tumour cells in vitro. These functional changes were accompanied by immunophenotype alterations on Mφ, including the up-regulation of Gr-1. CD11b(+) F4/80(+) Mφ comprised the major population of B16 tumour-infiltrating leucocytes. CT + IT treatment up-regulated molecules associated with the M1 effector Mφ phenotype [CD40, CD80, CD86, major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II, IFN-γ, tumour necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and IL-12] and down-regulated molecules associated with the M2 inhibitory Mφ phenotype (IL-4Rα, B7-H1, IL-4 and IL-10) on the tumour-associated Mφ compared with untreated controls. Together, the results show that CT and anti-CD40 + CpG-ODN IT synergize in the induction of anti-tumour effects which are associated with the phenotypic repolarization of tumour-associated Mφ.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / immunology
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • CD40 Antigens / immunology
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Drug Synergism
  • Immunotherapy / methods*
  • Macrophages / cytology
  • Macrophages / immunology*
  • Melanoma, Experimental / drug therapy
  • Melanoma, Experimental / immunology
  • Melanoma, Experimental / therapy
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Monocytes / cytology
  • Monocytes / immunology
  • Neoplasm Transplantation
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasms / immunology
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Neuroblastoma / drug therapy
  • Neuroblastoma / immunology
  • Neuroblastoma / therapy
  • Oligodeoxyribonucleotides / therapeutic use
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • CD40 Antigens
  • CPG-oligonucleotide
  • Oligodeoxyribonucleotides