Ionizing radiation induces modification of the tumor microenvironment such as tumor surrounding region, which is relevant to treatment outcome after radiotherapy. In this study, the effects of pre-irradiated tumor beds on the growth of subsequently implanted tumors were investigated as well as underlying mechanism. The experimental model was set up by irradiating the right thighs of C3H/HeN mice with 5 Gy, followed by the implantation of HCa-I and MIH-2. Both implanted tumors in the pre-irradiated bed showed accelerated-growth compared to the control. Tumor-infiltrated lymphocyte (TIL) levels were increased, as well as pro-tumor factors such as IL-6 and transforming growth factor-beta1 (TGF-β1) in the preirradiated group. In particular, the role of pro-tumor cytokine interleukin-17A (IL-17A) was investigated as a possible target mechanism because IL-6 and TGF-β are key factors in Th17 cells differentiation from naïve T cells. IL-17A expression was increased not only in tumors, but also in CD4+ T cells isolated from the tumor draining lymph nodes. The effect of IL-17A on tumor growth was confirmed by treating tumors with IL-17A antibody, which abolished the acceleration of tumor growth. These results indicate that the upregulation of IL-17A seems to be a key factor for enhancing tumor growth in pre-irradiated tumor beds.
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