Induction of Bystander and Abscopal Effects after Electroporation-Based Treatments

Cancers (Basel). 2022 Aug 2;14(15):3770. doi: 10.3390/cancers14153770.


Electroporation-based antitumor therapies, including bleomycin electrotransfer, calcium electroporation, and irreversible electroporation, are very effective on directly treated tumors, but have no or low effect on distal nodules. In this study, we aimed to investigate the abscopal effect following calcium electroporation and bleomycin electrotransfer and to find out the effect of the increase of IL-2 serum concentration by muscle transfection. The bystander effect was analyzed in in vitro studies on 4T1tumor cells, while abscopal effect was investigated in an in vivo setting using Balb/c mice bearing 4T1 tumors. ELISA was used to monitor IL-2 serum concentration. We showed that, similarly to cell treatment with bleomycin electrotransfer, the bystander effect occurs also following calcium electroporation and that these effects can be combined. Combination of these treatments also resulted in the enhancement of the abscopal effect in vivo. Since these treatments resulted in an increase of IL-2 serum concentration only in mice bearing one but not two tumors, we increased IL-2 serum concentration by muscle transfection. Although this did not enhance the abscopal effect of combined tumor treatment using calcium electroporation and bleomycin electrotransfer, boosting of IL-2 serum concentration had a significant inhibitory effect on directly treated tumors.

Keywords: IL-2 gene delivery; abscopal effect; bleomycin electrotransfer; breast cancer; bystander effect; calcium electroporation; cell electroporation; electrochemotherapy.