Nanoelectroablation of Murine Tumors Triggers a CD8-Dependent Inhibition of Secondary Tumor Growth

Journal Reference

PLoS One. 2015;10(7):e0134364.

Nuccitelli R, Berridge JC, Mallon Z, Kreis M, Athos B, Nuccitelli P.

BioElectroMed Corp., Burlingame, California, United States of America.


We have used both a rat orthotopic hepatocellular carcinoma model and a mouse allograft tumor model to study liver tumor ablation with nanosecond pulsed electric fields (nsPEF). We confirm that nsPEF treatment triggers apoptosis in rat liver tumor cells as indicated by the appearance of cleaved caspase 3 and 9 within two hours after treatment. Furthermore we provide evidence that nsPEF treatment leads to the translocation of calreticulin (CRT) to the cell surface which is considered a damage-associated molecular pattern indicative of immunogenic cell death. We provide direct evidence that nanoelectroablation triggers a CD8-dependent inhibition of secondary tumor growth by comparing the growth rate of secondary orthotopic liver tumors in nsPEF-treated rats with that in nsPEF-treated rats depleted of CD8+ cytotoxic T-cells. The growth of these secondary tumors was severely inhibited as compared to tumor growth in CD8-depleted rats, with their average size only 3% of the primary tumor size after the same one-week growth period. In contrast, when we depleted CD8+ T-cells the second tumor grew more robustly, reaching 54% of the size of the first tumor. In addition, we demonstrate with immunohistochemistry that CD8+ T-cells are highly enriched in the secondary tumors exhibiting slow growth. We also showed that vaccinating mice with nsPEF-treated isogenic tumor cells stimulates an immune response that inhibits the growth of secondary tumors in a CD8+-dependent manner. We conclude that nanoelectroablation triggers the production of CD8+ cytotoxic T-cells resulting in the inhibition of secondary tumor growth.

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