Cisplatin and oxaliplatin induce similar immunogenic changes in preclinical models of head and neck cancer

So Jin Park, Wenda Ye, Roy Xiao, Christopher Silvin, Michelle Padget, James W. Hodge, Carter Van Waes, Nicole C. Schmitt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Objectives: Prior studies suggest that oxaliplatin is unique among platinum chemotherapy drugs in its ability to enhance anti-tumor immunity, but the immune mechanisms of different platinum chemotherapy drugs have not been previously compared in preclinical models of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). Materials and methods: Human HNSCC cell lines were treated with cisplatin or oxaliplatin, then assessed for markers associated with immunogenic cell death (ICD) and antigen processing. A syngeneic mouse model of oral cancer was then used to compare the effects of cisplatin vs. oxaliplatin, alone or in combination with anti-PD-1 immunotherapy, on tumor growth and survival. A subset of spleens and tumors were analyzed for ICD markers and immune cell infiltrates by flow cytometry. Results: Cisplatin and oxaliplatin both increased cell surface levels of calreticulin, HSP70, MHC class I and PD-L1 in multiple cell lines. Inoculation of immunocompetent mice with cells killed in vitro by either drug resulted in failure of subsequently-injected live tumor cells to establish and grow in a small proportion of animals. Systemic cisplatin and oxaliplatin induced similar tumor growth delay when combined with anti-PD-1 therapy. Conclusions: Treatment of HNSCC cells with platinum chemotherapy appears to induce some features of anti-tumor immunity, which may be enhanced by anti-PD-1 therapy. Cisplatin, the standard drug for HNSCC, appears to affect anti-tumor immunity in a similar fashion to oxaliplatin in these preclinical models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)127-135
Number of pages9
JournalOral Oncology
StatePublished - Aug 2019


  • Cisplatin chemotherapy
  • Head and neck cancer
  • Immunogenic cell death
  • Squamous cell carcinoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oral Surgery
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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