With the recent success of checkpoint inhibitors and other immunomodulating agents, there has been renewed interest in the combination of such agents with radiation. The biologic premise behind such a strategy is that the tumor-antigen release achieved by localized radiation will promote specific tumor targeting by the adaptive immune system, which can be augmented further by systemic immune-stimulating agents. In this manner, clinicians hope to induce a phenomenon known as the abscopal effect, whereby localized radiation results in immune-mediated tumor regression in disease sites well outside of the radiation field. Herein, we present a comprehensive overview of the early clinical and preclinical evidence behind this approach.
©2014 American Association for Cancer Research.