Skip to main content

Dual Action of Unadjuvanted Seasonal Flu Vaccine as Immunotherapeutic Strategy

By 11th January 2020January 29th, 2020No Comments

The following study was conducted by Scientists from The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick; Rush University Medical Center, Chicago; Columbia University Irving Medical Center, New York; Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville; Ohio State University, Columbus; Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston; Replimune, Inc, USA; University of Tennessee Health Science; Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Harvard Medical School; Washington University; Dana–Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, USA.

Scientists developed a unadjuvanted seasonal influenza vaccination strategy administered through intratumoral delivery towards an effort to design multi-action immunotherapeutic regime. These multi-factorial antipathogenic vaccines can have a combinatorial impact for prevention of infections and also antitumor immunotherapies.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences – December 2019.

Intratumoral Injection of the Seasonal Flu Shot Converts Immunologically Cold Tumors to Hot and Serves as an Immunotherapy for Cancer


Reprogramming the tumor microenvironment to increase immune-mediated responses is currently of intense interest. Patients with immune-infiltrated “hot” tumors demonstrate higher treatment response rates and improved survival. However, only the minority of tumors are hot, and a limited proportion of patients benefit from immunotherapies. Innovative approaches that make tumors hot can have immediate impact particularly if they repurpose drugs with additional cancer-unrelated benefits. The seasonal influenza vaccine is recommended for all persons over 6 mo without prohibitive contraindications, including most cancer patients. Here, we report that unadjuvanted seasonal influenza vaccination via intratumoral, but not intramuscular, injection converts “cold” tumors to hot, generates systemic CD8+ T cell-mediated antitumor immunity, and sensitizes resistant tumors to checkpoint blockade. Importantly, intratumoral vaccination also provides protection against subsequent active influenza virus lung infection. Surprisingly, a squalene-based adjuvanted vaccine maintains intratumoral regulatory B cells and fails to improve antitumor responses, even while protecting against active influenza virus lung infection. Adjuvant removal, B cell depletion, or IL-10 blockade recovers its antitumor effectiveness. Our findings propose that antipathogen vaccines may be utilized for both infection prevention and repurposing as a cancer immunotherapy.


Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.



Newman, J. H., C. B. Chesson, et al. (2019). “Intratumoral injection of the seasonal flu shot converts immunologically cold tumors to hot and serves as an immunotherapy for cancer.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: 201904022.