Background: Interstitial brachytherapy for localised prostate cancer may be followed by transient increases in prostate-specific antigen (PSA) that resolve without therapy. Such PSA bounces may be associated with an improved outcome but often cause alarm in the patient and physician, and have defied explanation. Methods: We developed a mathematical model to capture the interactions between the tumour, radiation and anti-tumour immune response. The model was fitted to data from a large cohort of patients treated exclusively with interstitial brachytherapy. Immunohistological analysis for T-cell infiltration within the same tumours was also performed. Results: Our minimal model captures well the dynamics of the tumour after therapy, and suggests that a strong anti-tumour immune response coupled with the therapeutic effect of radiation on the tumour is responsible for the PSA bounce. Patients who experience a PSA bounce had a higher density of CD3 and CD8 cells within the tumour that likely contribute to the PSA bounce and the overall better outcomes observed. Conclusions: Our observations provide a novel and unifying explanation for the PSA bounce in patients with early prostate cancer and also have implications for the use of immune-based therapies in such patients to improve outcomes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research