Photobiomodulation stands as a recommended therapy for oral mucositis induced by oncological therapies. However, its mechanisms of action and, more importantly, its safety in cancer patients, are still unclear.
We assessed cancer cell metabolism and proliferation in vitro and in vivo after exposure to different laser protocols. We exploited both ectopic melanoma and a more physiological oral carcinogenesis mouse model, followed by molecular, histological and immunohistochemical characterization.
Laser irradiation resulted in a slightly increase in cell metabolism and proliferation in vitro, albeit each protocol exerted a difference response. Of notice, in vivo laser light reduced tumour growth and invasiveness, indicating e beneficial effect on tumor microenvironment. Laser-treated tumors were surrounded and infiltrated by immune cells, mainly lymphocytes and dendritic cells, paralleled by an enhanced secretion of type I interferons. In contrast, the number of pro-angiogenic macrophages was reduced in response to laser irradiation, with consequent normalization of the tumor vasculature. Based on these finding we have also started exploring the effect of photobiomodulation on lymphocyte response in an experimental model of vaccination. Preliminary data indicate that laser light induced antigen-specific CD8+ and CD4+ T cell responses.
In conclusion, our data point toward photobiomodulation as an effective strategy to boost the immune response in vivo, with relevant, therapeutic activities in both cancer and vaccination experimental models. These results support the safe use of laser light on cancer patients and open the way to innovative therapeutic opportunities.
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