OBJECTIVE: Tumor-treating fields are currently used to successfully treat various cancers; however, the specific pathways associated with its efficacy remain unknown in the immune responses. Here, we evaluated tumor-treating fields-mediated initiation of the macrophage-specific immune response. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We subjected RAW 264.7 mouse macrophages to clinically relevant levels of tumor-treating fields (0.9 V/cm, 150 kHz) and evaluated alterations in cytokine expression and release, as well as cell viability. Additionally, we investigated the status of immunomodulatory pathways to determine their roles in tumor-treating fields-mediated immune activation. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION: Our results indicated that tumor-treating fields treatment at 0.9 V/cm decreased cell viability and increased cytokine messenger RNA/protein levels, as well as levels of nitric oxide and reactive oxygen species, relative to controls. The levels of tumor necrosis factor α, interleukin 1β, and interleukin 6 were markedly increased in tumor-treating fields-treated RAW 264.7 cells cocultured with 4T1 murine mammary carcinoma cells compared with those in 4T1 or RAW 264.7 cells with or without tumor-treating fields treatment. Moreover, the viability of 4T1 cells treated with the conditioned medium of tumor-treating fields-stimulated RAW 264.7 cells decreased, indicating that macrophage activation by tumor-treating fields effectively killed the tumor cells. Moreover, tumor-treating fields treatment activated the nuclear factor κB and mitogen-activated protein kinase pathways involved in immunomodulatory signaling. CONCLUSION: These results provide critical insights into the mechanisms through which tumor-treating fields affect macrophage-specific immune responses and the efficacy of this method for cancer treatment.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research