Enhancement of tumor-reactive cytotoxic CD4+ T cell responses after ipilimumab treatment in four advanced melanoma patients.
ABSTRACT: CD4(+) T cells provide help to enhance and sustain cytotoxic CD8(+) T cell responses. A direct lytic role for this cell population in mouse models further supports the use of tumor-reactive CD4(+) T cells for cancer immunotherapy. CTLA-4 blockade has been shown to expand antigen-specific cytotoxic CD4(+) T cells in mouse models. We took advantage of spontaneous immunity to the NY-ESO-1 cancer-testis antigen to investigate quantitative and qualitative changes in antigen-specific CD4(+) T cell responses after ipilimumab (anti-CTLA-4 monoclonal antibody) treatment in advanced melanoma patients. Four NY-ESO-1 seropositive melanoma patients were chosen upon the availability of suitable blood specimens for characterizing the functions of NY-ESO-1 antigen-specific CD4(+) T cell response by enzyme-linked immunospot (ELISPOT), intracellular cytokine staining (ICS) and cytotoxicity assays. Multiple NY-ESO-1 antigen-specific CD4(+) T cell responses with Th1 dominance were induced or enhanced after ipilimumab treatment in peripheral blood in all four patients. NY-ESO-1 antigen-specific CD4(+) T cell lines established from all 4 patients after ipilimumab treatment recognized naturally processed NY-ESO-1 protein in antigen-presenting cells, expressed master transcription factor Eomesodermin (Eomes) and secreted perforin and Granzyme B. Finally, we demonstrated that these NY-ESO-1 antigen-specific CD4(+) T cell lines directly lysed autologous melanoma cell lines expressing NY-ESO-1 in an MHC class II restricted manner. Our results show that antigen specific cytotoxic CD4(+) T cell responses are induced after ipilimumab therapy in human cancer patients. Ipilimumab may induce the expression of lytic granules on antigen specific cytotoxic CD4(+) T cells via Eomes, revealing a novel consequence of immunologic checkpoint blockade.
Project description:Ipilimumab, a monoclonal antibody against cytotoxic T lymphocyte antigen 4 (CTLA-4), has been shown to improve survival in patients with advanced metastatic melanoma. It also enhances immunity to NY-ESO-1, a cancer/testis antigen expressed in a subset of patients with melanoma. To characterize the association between immune response and clinical outcome, we first analyzed NY-ESO-1 serum antibody by ELISA in 144 ipilimumab-treated patients with melanoma and found 22 of 140 (16%) seropositive at baseline and 31 of 144 (22%) seropositive following treatment. These NY-ESO-1-seropositive patients had a greater likelihood of experiencing clinical benefit 24 wk after ipilimumab treatment than NY-ESO-1-seronegative patients (P = 0.02, relative risk = 1.8, two-tailed Fisher test). To understand why some patients with NY-ESO-1 antibody failed to experience clinical benefit, we analyzed NY-ESO-1-specific CD4(+) and CD8(+) T-cell responses by intracellular multicytokine staining in 20 NY-ESO-1-seropositive patients and found a surprising dissociation between NY-ESO-1 antibody and CD8 responses in some patients. NY-ESO-1-seropositive patients with associated CD8(+) T cells experienced more frequent clinical benefit (10 of 13; 77%) than those with undetectable CD8(+) T-cell response (one of seven; 14%; P = 0.02; relative risk = 5.4, two-tailed Fisher test), as well as a significant survival advantage (P = 0.01; hazard ratio = 0.2, time-dependent Cox model). Together, our data suggest that integrated NY-ESO-1 immune responses may have predictive value for ipilimumab treatment and argue for prospective studies in patients with established NY-ESO-1 immunity. The current findings provide a strong rationale for the clinical use of modulators of immunosuppression with concurrent approaches to favor tumor antigen-specific immune responses, such as vaccines or adoptive transfer, in patients with cancer.
Project description:Blockade of inhibitory signals mediated by cytotoxic T lymphocyte-associated antigen 4 (CTLA-4) has been shown to enhance T cell responses and induce durable clinical responses in patients with metastatic melanoma. The functional impact of anti-CTLA-4 therapy on human immune responses is still unclear. To explore this, we analyzed immune-related adverse events and immune responses in metastatic melanoma patients treated with ipilimumab, a fully human anti-CTLA-4 monoclonal antibody. Fifteen patients were selected on the basis of availability of suitable specimens for immunologic monitoring, and eight of these showed evidence of clinical benefit. Five of the eight patients with evidence of clinical benefit had NY-ESO-1 antibody, whereas none of seven clinical non-responders was seropositive for NY-ESO-1. All five NY-ESO-1 seropositive patients had clearly detectable CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells against NY-ESO-1 following treatment with ipilimumab. One NY-ESO-1 seronegative clinical responder also had a NY-ESO-1 CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cell response, possibly related to prior vaccination with NY-ESO-1. Among five clinical non-responders analyzed, only one had a NY-ESO-1 CD4(+) T cell response and this patient did not have detectable anti-NY-ESO-1 antibody. Overall, NY-ESO-1-specific T cell responses increased in frequency and functionality during anti-CTLA-4 treatment, revealing a polyfunctional response pattern of IFN-gamma, MIP-1beta and TNF-alpha. We therefore suggest that CTLA-4 blockade enhanced NY-ESO-1 antigen-specific B cell and T cell immune responses in patients with durable objective clinical responses and stable disease. These data provide an immunologic rationale for the efficacy of anti-CTLA-4 therapy and call for immunotherapeutic designs that combine NY-ESO-1 vaccination with CTLA-4 blockade.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Anti-cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen-4 (CTLA-4) antibodies, such as ipilimumab, have generated measurable immune responses to Melan-A, NY-ESO-1, and gp100 antigens in metastatic melanoma. Vaccination against such targets has potential for immunogenicity and may produce an effector-memory T-cell response. METHODS:To determine the effect of CTLA-4 blockade on antigen-specific responses following vaccination, in-depth immune monitoring was performed on three ipilimumab-treated patients prevaccinated with gp100 DNA (IMF-24), gp100(209-217) and tyrosinase peptides plus GM-CSF DNA (IMF-32), or NY-ESO-1 protein plus imiquimod (IMF-11); peripheral blood mononuclear cells were analyzed by tetramer and/or intracellular cytokine staining following 10-day culture with HLA-A*0201-restricted gp100(209-217) (ITDQVPFSV), tyrosinase(369-377) (YMDGTMSQV), or 20-mer NY-ESO-1 overlapping peptides, respectively. Tumors from IMF-32 were analyzed by immunohistochemistry to help elucidate mechanism(s) underlying tumor escape. RESULTS:Following vaccination, patients generated weak to no CD4(+) or CD8(+) T-cell response specific to the vaccine antigen but demonstrated increases in effector-memory (CCR7(lo)CD45RA(lo)) tetramer(+)CD8(+) T cells. After ipilimumab induction, patients experienced a robust, although sometimes transient, antigen-specific response for gp100 (IMF-32 and IMF-24) or NY-ESO-1 (IMF-11) and produced polyfunctional intracellular cytokines. Primary and metastatic tumors expressed tyrosinase but not gp100 or class I/II MHC molecules. CONCLUSION:Vaccination induced a measurable antigen-specific T-cell response that increased following CTLA-4 blockade, potentially "boosting" the vaccine-primed response. Tumor escape may be related to antigen loss or lack of MHC expression necessary for immune activity. These results in a limited number of patients support the need for further research into combining vaccination with ipilimumab and provide insight into mechanisms underlying tumor escape.
Project description:PURPOSE:Transgenic adoptive cell therapy (ACT) targeting the tumor antigen NY-ESO-1 can be effective for the treatment of sarcoma and melanoma. Preclinical models have shown that this therapy can be improved with the addition of dendritic cell (DC) vaccination and immune checkpoint blockade. We studied the safety, feasibility, and antitumor efficacy of transgenic ACT with DC vaccination, with and without CTLA-4 blockade with ipilimumab. PATIENTS AND METHODS:Freshly prepared autologous NY-ESO-1-specific T-cell receptor (TCR) transgenic lymphocytes were adoptively transferred together with NY-ESO-1 peptide-pulsed DC vaccination in HLA-A2.1-positive subjects alone (ESO, NCT02070406) or with ipilimumab (INY, NCT01697527) in patients with advanced sarcoma or melanoma. RESULTS:Six patients were enrolled in the ESO cohort, and four were enrolled in the INY cohort. Four out of six patients treated per ESO (66%), and two out of four patients treated per INY (50%) displayed evidence of tumor regression. Peripheral blood reconstitution with NY-ESO-1-specific T cells peaked within 2 weeks of ACT, indicating rapid in vivo expansion. Tracking of transgenic T cells to the tumor sites was demonstrated in on-treatment biopsies via TCR sequencing. Multiparametric mass cytometry of transgenic cells demonstrated shifting of transgenic cells from memory phenotypes to more terminally differentiated effector phenotypes over time. CONCLUSIONS:ACT of fresh NY-ESO-1 transgenic T cells prepared via a short ex vivo protocol and given with DC vaccination, with or without ipilimumab, is feasible and results in transient antitumor activity, with no apparent clinical benefit of the addition of ipilimumab. Improvements are needed to maintain tumor responses.
Project description:Given its ability to induce both humoral and cellular immune responses, NY-ESO-1 has been considered a suitable antigen for a cancer vaccine. Despite promising results from early-phase clinical studies in patients with melanoma, NY-ESO-1 vaccine immunotherapy has not been widely investigated in larger trials; consequently, many questions remain as to the optimal vaccine formulation, predictive biomarkers, and sequencing and timing of vaccines in melanoma treatment. We conducted an adjuvant phase I/II clinical trial in high-risk resected melanoma to optimize the delivery of poly-ICLC, a TLR-3/MDA-5 agonist, as a component of vaccine formulation. A phase I dose-escalation part was undertaken to identify the MTD of poly-ICLC administered in combination with NY-ESO-1 and montanide. This was followed by a randomized phase II part investigating the MTD of poly-ICLC with NY-ESO-1 with or without montanide. The vaccine regimens were generally well tolerated, with no treatment-related grade 3/4 adverse events. Both regimens induced integrated NY-ESO-1-specific CD4+ T-cell and humoral responses. CD8+ T-cell responses were mainly detected in patients receiving montanide. T-cell avidity toward NY-ESO-1 peptides was higher in patients vaccinated with montanide. In conclusion, NY-ESO-1 protein in combination with poly-ICLC is safe, well tolerated, and capable of inducing integrated antibody and CD4+ T-cell responses in most patients. Combination with montanide enhances antigen-specific T-cell avidity and CD8+ T-cell cross-priming in a fraction of patients, indicating that montanide contributes to the induction of specific CD8+ T-cell responses to NY-ESO-1.
Project description:Oncolytic immunotherapy using oncolytic viruses (OV) has been shown to stimulate the antitumor immune response by inducing the release of tumor-associated antigens (TAA) and danger signals from the dying infected tumor cells. In this study, we sought to determine if the lysis of tumor cells induced by different OV: measles virus, vaccinia virus, vesicular stomatitis virus, herpes simplex type I virus, adenovirus or enterovirus, has consequences on the capacity of tumor cells to present TAA, such as NY-ESO-1. We show that the co-culture of NY-ESO-1neg/HLA-DP4pos melanoma cells with NY-ESO-1pos/HLA-DP4neg melanoma cells infected and killed by different OV induces an intercellular transfer of NY-ESO-1 that allows the recognition of NY-ESO-1neg/HLA-DP4pos tumor cells by an HLA-DP4/NY-ESO-1(157-170)-specific CD4+ cytotoxic T cell clone, NY67. We then confirmed this result in a second model with an HLA-DP4+ melanoma cell line that expresses a low amount of NY-ESO-1. Recognition of this cell line by the NY67 clone is largely increased in the presence of OV productive infection. Altogether, our results show for the first time another mechanism of stimulation of the anti-tumor immune response by OV, via the loading of tumor cells with TAA that sensitizes them for direct recognition by specific effector CD4+ T cells, supporting the use of OV for cancer immunotherapy.
Project description:NY-ESO-1 is a cancer/testis antigen expressed in a range of human malignancies, and a number of vaccine strategies targeting NY-ESO-1 are being developed. In the present study, the safety and immunogenicity of recombinant vaccinia-NY-ESO-1 and recombinant fowlpox-NY-ESO-1 were analyzed in a series of 36 patients with a range of different tumor types. Each construct was first tested individually at two different dose levels and then in a prime-boost setting with recombinant vaccinia-NY-ESO-1 followed by recombinant fowlpox-NY-ESO-1. The vaccines were well tolerated either individually or together. NY-ESO-1-specific antibody responses and/or specific CD8 and CD4 T cell responses directed against a broad range of NY-ESO-1 epitopes were induced by a course of at least four vaccinations at monthly intervals in a high proportion of patients. CD8 T cell clones derived from five vaccinated patients were shown to lyse NY-ESO-1-expressing melanoma target cells. In several patients with melanoma, there was a strong impression that the natural course of the disease was favorably influenced by vaccination.
Project description:BACKGROUND:We previously reported early on-treatment significant modulation in circulating regulatory T cell (Treg), myeloid derived suppressor cells (MDSC) and antigen-specific type I CD4+ and CD8+ T cells that correlated with clinical outcome in regionally advanced melanoma patients treated with neoadjuvant ipilimumab. Here, we investigated the long term immunologic impact of CTLA4 blockade. METHODS:Patients were treated with ipilimumab given at 10 mg/kg IV every 3 weeks for 2 doses bracketing surgery. Blood specimens were collected at baseline and during treatment for up to 9 months. We tested immune responses at 3, 6, and 9 months utilizing multicolor flow cytometry. We compared frequencies of circulating Treg and MDSC on-study to baseline levels, as well as frequencies of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells specific to shared tumor-associated antigens (Gp-100, MART-1, NY-ESO-1). RESULTS:Levels of Treg significantly increased when measured at 6 weeks following ipilimumab but returned to baseline by 3 months, with no significant difference in Treg levels between relapsed and relapse-free groups at 3, 6 or 9 months. However, lower baseline levels of circulating Treg (CD4+CD25hi+CD39+) were significantly associated with better relapse free survival (RFS) (p?=?0.04). Levels of circulating monocytic HLA-DR+/loCD14+ MDSC were lower at baseline in the relapse-free group and further decreased at 6 weeks, though the differences did not reach statistical significance including measurements at 3, 6 or 9 months. We detected evidence of type I (interferon-? producing), activated (CD69+) CD4+ and CD8+ antigen-specific T cell immunity against cancer-testis (NY-ESO-1) as well as melanocytic lineage (MART-1, gp100) antigens in the absence of therapeutic vaccination. These responses were significantly boosted at 6 weeks and persisted at 3, 6 and 9 months following the initiation of ipilimumab. CONCLUSIONS:Lower Treg levels at baseline are significantly associated with RFS and increased Treg frequency after CTLA4 blockade was only transient. Lower MDSC was also associated with RFS and MDSC levels were further decreased after ipilimumab. Tumor specific effector immune responses are boosted with CTLA4 blockade and tend to be durable. Trial registration ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT00972933.
Project description:NY-ESO-1-specific CD4(+) T cells are of interest for immune therapy against tumors, because it has been shown that their transfer into a patient with melanoma resulted in tumor regression. Therefore, we investigated how NY-ESO-1 is processed onto MHC class II molecules for direct CD4(+) T cell recognition of melanoma cells. We could rule out proteasome and autophagy-dependent endogenous Ag processing for MHC class II presentation. In contrast, intercellular Ag transfer, followed by classical MHC class II Ag processing via endocytosis, sensitized neighboring melanoma cells for CD4(+) T cell recognition. However, macroautophagy targeting of NY-ESO-1 enhanced MHC class II presentation. Therefore, both elevated NY-ESO-1 release and macroautophagy targeting could improve melanoma cell recognition by CD4(+) T cells and should be explored during immunotherapy of melanoma.