Radiation Therapy Enhanced by NBTXR3 Nanoparticles Overcomes Anti-PD1 Resistance and Evokes Abscopal Effects

Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2021 Nov 1;111(3):647-657. doi: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2021.06.041. Epub 2021 Jul 6.


Purpose: Radiation combined with PD1 blockade offers significant treatment benefits in several tumor types; however, anti-PD1 resistance precludes such benefits in many cases. Here we attempted to overcome anti-PD1 resistance by combining localized radiation with a radioenhancing nanoparticle (NBTXR3) and systemic anti-PD1 treatment to achieve abscopal effects in an anti-PD1-resistant mouse model of lung cancer.

Methods and materials: Female 129Sv/Ev mice were inoculated with 344SQ anti-PD1-resistant (344SQR) or anti-PD1-sensitive (344SQP) metastatic lung cancer cells in the right leg on day 0 ("primary" tumor) and the left leg on day 4 ("secondary" tumor). Primary tumors were injected intratumorally with NBTXR3 on day 7 and were irradiated with 12 Gy on days 8, 9, and 10. Mice were given 6 intraperitoneal injections of anti-PD1. T cell receptor repertoire was analyzed in tumor samples with RNA sequencing, infiltration of CD8 T cells with immunohistochemical staining, and activities of various immune pathways with NanoString analysis.

Results: The triple combination of NBTXR3 with localized radiation and systemic anti-PD1 significantly delayed the growth of both irradiated and unirradiated tumors in both 344SQP and 344SQR tumor models. NBTXR3 remodeled the immune microenvironment of unirradiated tumors by triggering the activation of various immune pathways, increasing the number of CD8+ T cells, and modifying the T cell receptor repertoire in the 344SQR tumor model.

Conclusions: The ability of NBTXR3 to evoke significant abscopal effects in both anti-PD1-sensitive and anti-PD1-resistant lung cancers could open the possibility of its use for treating patients with metastatic lung cancer regardless of sensitivity (or resistance) to immunotherapies.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents*
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms* / radiotherapy
  • Mice
  • Nanoparticles*
  • Programmed Cell Death 1 Receptor
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell
  • Tumor Microenvironment


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Programmed Cell Death 1 Receptor
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell