Background and purpose: Clinical studies indicate that patients with HPV/p16-associated head & neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) represent a subgroup with a better prognosis and improved response to conventional radiotherapy. Involvement of immune-based factors has been hypothesized. In the present study, we investigated radiation-induced differences in release of damage associated molecular patterns (DAMPs), cytokines and activation of dendritic cells (DCs) in HPV-positive and negative HNSCC cancer cell lines.
Material and methods: Calreticulin (CRT) exposure was detected on cancer cell surface. ATP, HMGB1 and cytokines were measured in culture supernatants. Maturation marker CD83 surface exposure was determined on DCs after co-incubation with irradiated tumor cells.
Results: There was no increase in DAMPs and cytokine profiles after radiation treatment and no difference between HPV+ and HPV- cell lines. The HPV/p16-positive SCC90 cells showed a trend for increased total CRT, HMGB1, and number of cytokines compared to all other cell lines. None of the irradiated cancer cell lines could affect DC maturation.
Conclusions: Radiation treatment did not increase immunogenicity of HNSCC cell lines assessed by membrane CRT, ATP, HMGB1, cytokines production, and by activation of immature DCs. There was no difference between HPV-positive and HPV-negative cell lines.
Keywords: ATP; Calreticulin; Dendritic cell maturation; HMGB1; HNSCC; HPV.
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