Improved Local and Systemic Anti-Tumor Efficacy for Irreversible Electroporation in Immunocompetent versus Immunodeficient Mice
Irreversible electroporation (IRE) is a non-thermal focal ablation technique that uses a series of brief but intense electric pulses delivered into a targeted region of tissue, killing the cells by irrecoverably disrupting cellular membrane integrity. This study investigates if there is an improved local anti-tumor response in immunocompetent (IC) BALB/c versus immunodeficient (ID) nude mice, including the potential for a systemic protective effect against rechallenge. Subcutaneous murine renal carcinoma tumors were treated with an IRE pulsing protocol that used 60% of the predicted voltage required to invoke complete regressions in the ID mice. Tumors were followed for 34 days following treatment for 11 treated mice from each strain, and 7 controls from each strain. Mouse survival based on tumor burden and the progression-free disease period was substantially longer in the treated IC mice relative to the treated ID mice and sham controls for both strains. Treated IC mice were rechallenged with the same cell line 18 days after treatment, where growth of the second tumors was shown to be significantly reduced or prevented entirely. There was robust CD3+ cell infiltration in some treated BALB/C mice, with immunocytes focused at the transition between viable and dead tumor. There was no difference in the low immunocyte presence for untreated tumors, nude mice, and matrigel-only injections in both strains. These findings suggest IRE therapy may have greater therapeutic efficacy in immunocompetent patients than what has been suggested by immunodeficient models, and that IRE may invoke a systemic response beyond the targeted ablation region.