Y. Shaked and al. from the Israel Institute of Technology, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center and the Sunnybrook Research Institute have just published in Cancer Research an article entitled: Evidence implicating immunological host effects in the efficacy of metronomic low-dose chemotherapy where they show the impact of metronomic capecitabine on the immune system and their potential anti-tumoral effects.
Background : Conventional chemotherapy drugs administered at a maximum tolerated dose (MTD) remains the backbone for treating most cancers. Low-dose metronomic (LDM) chemotherapy, which utilizes lower, less toxic, doses given on a close regular basis over prolonged periods, is an alternative and better tolerated potential strategy to improve chemotherapy. LDM chemotherapy has been evaluated preclinically and clinically and has shown therapeutic benefit, in both early and advanced stage metastatic disease, especially when used as a maintenance therapy. However, knowledge about the anti-tumor mechanisms by which LDM chemotherapy acts remain limited.
Material and Methods: Here we characterized the effects of LDM and MTD capecitabine therapy on tumor and host cells using high-throughput systems approaches involving mass spectrometry flow cytometry and automated cell imaging followed by in vivo analyses of such therapies.
Results: An increase in myeloid and T regulatory cells and a decrease in NK and T cytotoxic cells were found in MTD-capecitabine-treated tumors compared to LDM-capecitbine-treated tumors. Plasma from MTD capecitabine-treated mice induced a more tumorigenic and metastatic profile in both breast and colon carcinoma cells than plasma from mice treated with LDM capecitabine. These results correlated, in part, with in vivo studies using models of human or mouse advanced metastatic disease, where the therapeutic advantage of MTD capecitabine was limited despite a substantial initial anti-tumor activity found in the primary tumor setting.
Conclusion: Overall these results implicate a possible contribution of immunological host effects in accounting for the therapeutic limitations of MTD compared to LDM capecitabine.