Mechanism responsible for the antitumor effect of BCG-CWS using the LEEL method in a mouse bladder cancer model

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We previously reported on the development of a water soluble formulation of the cell wall skeleton of BCG (BCG-CWS), a major immune active center of BCG, by encapsulating it into a nanoparticle (CWS-NP). The CWS-NP allowed us to clarify the machinery associated with the BCG mediated anti-bladder tumor effect, especially the roles of bladder cancer cells and dendritic cells (DCs) in the initial step, which remains poorly understood. We show herein that the internalization of BCG-CWS by bladder cancer cells, but not DCs, is indispensable for the induction of an antitumor effect against bladder cancer. Tumor growth was significantly inhibited in mice that had been inoculated with mouse bladder cancer (MBT-2) cells containing internalized BCG-CWS. On the other hand, the internalization of BCG-CWS by DCs had only a minor effect on inducing an antitumor effect against MBT-2 tumors. This was clarified for the first time by using the CWS-NP. This finding provides insights into our understanding of the role of bladder cancer cells and DCs in BCG therapy against bladder cancer.Graphical abstract

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