A Patient-Level Data Meta-analysis of the Abscopal Effect

Steven J. Hatten, Eric J. Lehrer, Jenn Liao, Congzhou M. Sha, Daniel M. Trifiletti, Shankar Siva, Sean M. McBride, David Palma, Sheldon L. Holder, Nicholas G. Zaorsky

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Purpose: The abscopal effect is defined when a form of local therapy causes tumor regression of both the target lesion and any untreated tumors. Herein cases of the abscopal effect were systematically reviewed and a patient-level data analysis was performed for clinical predictors of both duration of response and survival. Methods and Materials: The Population, Intervention, Control, Outcome, Study (PICOS) design approach, Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) literature selection process, and Meta-analysis of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (MOOSE) were used to find articles published before September 2019 in MEDLINE/PubMed and Google Scholar. Inclusion criteria were (1) population: patients with reported abscopal response; (2) intervention: documented treatment(s); (3) control: none; (4) outcomes: overall and progression-free survival; and (5) setting: retrospective case reports. Time from treatment until abscopal response and time from abscopal response until progression/death were calculated. Univariate and multivariate analyses were conducted for survival outcomes. Results: Fifty studies (n = 55 patients) were included. Median age was 65 years (interquartile range [IQR], 58-70) and 62% were male. Fifty-four (98%) patients received radiation therapy, 34 (62%) received radiation therapy alone, 5 (9.1%) underwent surgery, 4 (7.3%) received chemotherapy, and 11 (20%) received immunotherapy. Median total dose was 32 Gy (IQR, 25.5-48 Gy) and median dose per fraction was 3 Gy (IQR, 2-7.2). Median time until abscopal response was 4 months (IQR, 1-5; min 0.5, max 24). At 5 years, overall survival was 63% and distant progression-free survival was 45%. No variables had statistical significance in predicting duration of response or survival. Conclusions: Almost all reported cases of the abscopal response are after radiation therapy; however, there are no known predictors of duration of response or survival in this population.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100909
JournalAdvances in Radiation Oncology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 May 2022


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