Immunostimulatory effects of radiotherapy for local and systemic control of melanoma: A review

Junko Takahashi*, Shinsuke Nagasawa

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Recently, modern therapies involving immune checkpoint inhibitors, cytokines, and oncolytic virus have been developed. Because of the limited treatment effect of modern therapy alone, the immunostimulatory effect of radiotherapy attracted increasing attention. The combined use of radiotherapy and modern therapy has been examined clinically and non-clinically, and its effectiveness has been confirmed recently. Because melanomas have high immunogenicity, better therapeutic outcomes are desired when using immunotherapy. However, sufficient therapeutic effects have not yet been achieved. Thus far, radiotherapy has been used only for local control of tumors. Although extremely rare, radiotherapy has also been reported for systemic control, i.e., abscopal effect. This is thought to be due to an antitumor immune response. Therefore, we herein summarize past information on not only the mechanism of immune effects on radiotherapy but also biomarkers reported in case reports on abscopal effects. We also reviewed the animal model suitable for evaluating abscopal effects. These results pave the way for further basic research or clinical studies on new treatment methods for melanoma. Currently, palliative radiation is administered to patients with metastatic melanoma for local control. If it is feasible to provide both systemic and local control, the treatment benefit for the patients is very large.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9324
Pages (from-to)1-23
Number of pages23
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Dec 1
Externally publishedYes


  • Abscopal effect
  • Immunotherapy
  • Melanoma
  • Radioimmunotherapy
  • Radiotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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