Metronomic chemotherapy using cyclophosphamide (CPA) is widely associated with antiangiogenesis; however, recent studies implicate other immune-based mechanisms, including antitumor innate immunity, which can induce major tumor regression in implanted brain tumor models. This study demonstrates the critical importance of drug schedule: CPA induced a potent antitumor innate immune response and tumor regression when administered intermittently on a 6-day repeating metronomic schedule but not with the same total exposure to activated CPA administered on an every 3-day schedule or using a daily oral regimen that serves as the basis for many clinical trials of metronomic chemotherapy. Notably, the more frequent metronomic CPA schedules abrogated the antitumor innate immune and therapeutic responses. Further, the innate immune response and antitumor activity both displayed an unusually steep dose-response curve and were not accompanied by antiangiogenesis. The strong recruitment of innate immune cells by the 6-day repeating CPA schedule was not sustained, and tumor regression was abolished, by a moderate (25%) reduction in CPA dose. Moreover, an ~20% increase in CPA dose eliminated the partial tumor regression and weak innate immune cell recruitment seen in a subset of the every 6-day treated tumors. Thus, metronomic drug treatment must be at a sufficiently high dose but also sufficiently well spaced in time to induce strong sustained antitumor immune cell recruitment. Many current clinical metronomic chemotherapeutic protocols employ oral daily low-dose schedules that do not meet these requirements, suggesting that they may benefit from optimization designed to maximize antitumor immune responses.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research