Combined Treatment with Ultrasound and Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors for Prostate Cancer

Fuuka Hayashi, Katsumi Shigemura, Koki Maeda, Aya Hiraoka, Noriaki Maeshige, Tooru Ooya, Shian Ying Sung, Yong Ming Yang, Masato Fujisawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Ultrasound (US) is mostly used for diagnostic purpose but could be used for cancer treatments with a US intensity or frequency fitted to such a purpose. Prostate cancer (PC) has the highest prevalence in the urological field, but indications for immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) for PC are limited to very few cases. In this study, we compared the antitumor effect of US irradiation alone with the combined use of US and ICIs in vitro and in vivo. Methods: PC cell line TRAMP-C2 cells were used in our experiments. TRAMP-C2 cells were irradiated with US with pulse repeated frequencies (PRF) of 1, 10, and 100 Hz. Cell proliferation was evaluated by MTS assay and apoptotic cells were analyzed using flow cytometry. To verify the antitumor effect of US irradiation on PC in vivo, we conducted animal experiments using mice. TRAMP-C2-bearing mice were irradiated with US with PRF of 10 and 100 Hz. Three weeks after the start of US irradiation, anti-PD-1 antibody was administered to the mice. Finally, mice were sacrificed and tumors were collected. Immunohistochemical (IHC) analyses were assessed for cleaved caspase-3 and CD3 in tumor cell extracts. Results: Cell proliferation assays showed that 1 and 10 Hz US significantly inhibited cell survival (p < 0.0001). In addition, US irradiation induced apoptosis at 1, 10, and 100 Hz (p = 0.0129, p = 0.0150, and p = 0.0017, respectively). In animal experiments, a significant tumor growth inhibitory effect was observed at 10 and 100 Hz, and 100 Hz + ICIs (p < 0.05, respectively). Hematoxylin–eosin (H–E) staining showed a significant increase in the necrotic area of the tumor at 100 Hz and 100 Hz + ICIs (p < 0.05, respectively). In addition, under IHC staining the expression level of cleaved caspase-3 and the number of CD3-positive cells increased at 100 Hz (p < 0.05, respectively). Conclusion: US irradiation induced apoptosis in cells and reduced cell viability. In vivo tumor growth was suppressed by combined treatment with US irradiation and ICIs. Further research on immune system activation will lead to less invasive and more efficient treatments for PC.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2448
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - May 2022


  • apoptosis
  • immune checkpoint inhibitor
  • prostate cancer
  • ultrasound irradiation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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