Therapeutic potential of bacteria against solid tumors

Haralampos Hatzikirou, Juan Carlos López Alfonso, Sara Leschner, Siegfried Weiss, Michael Meyer-Hermann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Intentional bacterial infections can produce efficacious antitumor responses in mice, rats, dogs, and humans. However, low overall success rates and intense side effects prevent such approaches from being employed clinically. In this work, we titered bacteria and/or the proinflammatory cytokine TNFα in a set of established murine models of cancer. To interpret the experiments conducted, we considered and calibrated a tumor-effector cell recruitment model under the influence of functional tumor-associated vasculature. In this model, bacterial infections and TNFα enhanced immune activity and altered vascularization in the tumor bed. Information to predict bacterial therapy outcomes was provided by pretreatment tumor size and the underlying immune recruitment dynamics. Notably, increasing bacterial loads did not necessarily produce better long-term tumor control, suggesting that tumor sizes affected optimal bacterial loads. Short-term treatment responses were favored by high concentrations of effector cells postinjection, such as induced by higher bacterial loads, but in the longer term did not correlate with an effective restoration of immune surveillance. Overall, our findings suggested that a combination of intermediate bacterial loads with low levels TNFα administration could enable more favorable outcomes elicited by bacterial infections in tumorbearing subjects.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)1553-1563
Number of pages11
JournalCancer Research
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2017


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