Plasma-activated medium triggers cell death and the presentation of immune activating danger signals in melanoma and pancreatic cancer cells

Amalia Azzariti, Rosa Maria Iacobazzi, Roberta Di Fonte, Letizia Porcelli, Roberto Gristina, Pietro Favia, Francesco Fracassi, Ilaria Trizio, Nicola Silvestris, Gabriella Guida, Stefania Tommasi, Eloisa Sardella

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Over the past decade, cold atmospheric plasmas have shown promising application in cancer therapy. The therapeutic use of plasma-activated media is a topic addressed in an emerging field known as plasma pharmacy. In oncology, plasma-activated media are used to harness the therapeutic effects of oxidant species when they come in contact with cancer cells. Among several factors that contribute to the anticancer effect of plasma-activated liquid media (PALM), H 2 O 2 and NO derivatives likely play a key role in the apoptotic pathway. Despite the significant amount of literature produced in recent years, a full understanding of the mechanisms by which PALM exert their activity against cancer cells is limited. In this paper, a sealed dielectric-barrier discharge was used to disentangle the effect of reactive nitrogen species (RNS) from that of reactive oxygen species (ROS) on cancer cells. Two cancers characterized by poor prognosis have been investigated: metastatic melanoma and pancreatic cancer. Both tumour models exposed to PALM rich in H 2 O 2 showed a reduction in proliferation and an increase in calreticulin exposure and ATP release, suggesting the potential use of activated media as an inducer of immunogenic cell death via activation of the innate immune system.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4099
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2019


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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