Theoretical premises of a "three in one" therapeutic approach to treat immunogenic and nonimmunogenic cancers: a narrative review

Anastasia S. Proskurina, Vera S. Ruzanova, Alexandr A. Ostanin, Elena R. Chernykh, Sergey S. Bogachev

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Objective: We describe experimental and theoretical premises of a powerful cancer therapy based on the combination of three approaches. These include (I) in situ vaccination (intratumoral injections of CpG oligonucleotides and anti-OX40 antibody); (II) chronometric or metronomic low-dose cyclophosphamide (CMLD CP)-based chemotherapy; (III) cancer stem cell-eradicating therapy referred to as Karanahan (from the Sanskrit karana ["source"] + han ["to kill"]). Background: In murine models, the first two approaches are particularly potent in targeting immunogenic tumors for destruction. In situ vaccination activates a fully fledged anticancer immune response via an intricate network of ligand-receptor-cytokine interactions. CMLD CP-based chemotherapy primarily targets the suppressive tumor microenvironment and activates tumor-infiltrating effectors. In contrast, Karanahan technology, being aimed at replicative machinery of tumor cells (both stem-like and committed), does not depend on tumor immunogenicity. With this technology, mice engrafted with ascites and/or solid tumors can be successfully cured. There is a significant degree of mechanistic and therapeutic overlap between these three approaches. For instance, the similarities shared between in situ vaccination and Karanahan technology include the therapeutic procedure, the cell target [antigen-presenting cells (APC) and dendritic cells (DC)], and the use of DNA-based preparations (CpG and DNAmix). Features shared between CMLD CP-based chemotherapy and Karanahan technology are the timing and the dose of the cytostatic drug administration, which lead to tumor regression. Methods: The following keywords were used to search PubMed for the latest research reporting successful eradication of transplantable cancers in animal models that relied on approaches distinct from those used in the Karanahan technology: Eradication of malignancy, cure cancer, complete tumor regression, permanently eradicating advanced mouse tumor, metronomic chemotherapy, in situ vaccination, immunotherapy, and others. Conclusion: We hypothesize, therefore, that very potent anticancer activity can be achieved once these three therapeutic modalities are combined into a single approach. This multimodal approach is theoretically curative for any type of cancer that depends on the presence of tumor-inducing cancer stem cells, provided that the active therapeutic components are efficiently delivered into the tumor and the specific biological features of a given patient's tumor are properly addressed. We expect this multimodal approach to be primarily applicable to late-stage or terminal cancer patients who have exhausted all treatment options as well as patients with inoperable tumors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4958-4972
Number of pages15
JournalTranslational cancer research
Issue number11
Early online date14 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021


  • In situ vaccination
  • chronometric
  • metronome low-dose chemotherapy
  • Karanahan technology
  • immunity
  • cancer stem cells
  • Immunity
  • Chronometric/metronome low-dose chemotherapy
  • Cancer stem cells


  • 3.02.DM ONCOLOGY


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