Radiation-induced autophagy potentiates immunotherapy of cancer via up-regulation of mannose 6-phosphate receptor on tumor cells in mice

Cancer Immunol Immunother. 2014 Oct;63(10):1009-21. doi: 10.1007/s00262-014-1573-4. Epub 2014 Jun 19.


There is a significant body of evidence demonstrating that radiation therapy (XRT) enhances the effect of immune therapy. However, the precise mechanisms by which XRT potentiates the immunotherapy of cancer remain elusive. Here, we report that XRT potentiates the effect of immune therapy via induction of autophagy and resultant trafficking of mannose-6-phopsphate receptor (MPR) to the cell surface. Irradiation of different tumor cells caused substantial up-regulation of MPR on the cell surface in vitro and in vivo. Down-regulation of MPR in tumor cells with shRNA completely abrogated the combined effect of XRT and immunotherapy (CTLA4 antibody) in B16F10-bearing mice without changes in the tumor-specific responses of T cells. Radiation-induced MPR up-regulation was the result of redistribution of the receptor to the cell surface. This effect was caused by autophagy with redirection of MPR to autophagosomes in a clathrin-dependent manner. In autophagosomes, MPR lost its natural ligands, which resulted in subsequent trafficking of empty receptor(s) back to the surface. Together, our data demonstrated a novel mechanism by which XRT can enhance the effect of immunotherapy and the molecular mechanism of this process.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autophagy / immunology
  • Autophagy / radiation effects
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy / methods*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / immunology
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / metabolism
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / radiotherapy
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / therapy*
  • Random Allocation
  • Receptor, IGF Type 2 / metabolism*
  • Up-Regulation


  • Receptor, IGF Type 2