This study investigated the therapeutic effects of combined local irradiation and anti-HER2/neu antibody in a mixed tumor mouse model comprised of a nonmetastatic neu-positive tumor and a metastatic neu-negative tumor. While local irradiation alone could control the primary tumor in a dose-dependent manner, it did not improve mouse survival. Combined treatment comprised of local irradiation and anti-neu antibody of tumor-bearing BALB/c mice significantly improved mouse survival (P < 0.5), even though the tumor growth was similar to that of the irradiated-alone group. The combined treatment significantly reduced metastatic tumor masses in the lung and increased immune cell infiltration in primary tumor tissues. However, immune deficient nude mice with tumors did not exhibit prolonged survival in response to the combined treatment. Collectively, these results show that combined local irradiation and anti-neu antibody can elicit an immune-mediated abscopal effect to extend survival. Although the mechanism for abscopal effects induced by the combined treatment of radiation and anti-HER2/neu antibody was not elucidated, to our knowledge this is the first published study to describe the abscopal effect induced by the combination of local irradiation and the anti-HER2/neu antibody.

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