A key factor for successful cancer immunotherapy (CIT) is the extent of antigen presentation by dendritic cells (DCs) that phagocytize tumor-associated antigens (TAA) in the tumor site and migrate to tumor draining lymph nodes (TDLN) for the activation of T cells. Although various types of adjuvant delivery have been studied to enhance the activity of the DCs, poor delivery efficiency and depleted population of tumor infiltrating DCs have limited the efficacy of CIT. Herein, we report a hypoxia-responsive mesoporous silica nanocarrier (denoted as CAGE) for an enhanced CIT assisted by photodynamic therapy (PDT). In this study, CAGE was designed as a hypoxia-responsive transforming carrier to improve the intracellular uptake of nanocarriers and the delivery of adjuvants to DCs. Furthermore, PDT was exploited for the generation of immunogenic debris and recruitment of DCs in a tumor site, followed by enhanced antigen presentation. Finally, a significant inhibition of tumor growth was observed in vivo, signifying that the PDT would be a promising solution for DC-based immunotherapy.
Keywords: combinatorial immunotherapy; dendritic cell modulation; hypoxia-responsive drug delivery; photodynamic therapy; tumor-associated antigen