CD4 T cells require ICOS-mediated PI3K signaling to increase T-Bet expression in the setting of anti-CTLA-4 therapy.
ABSTRACT: The transcription factor T-bet controls the Th1 genetic program in T cells for effective antitumor responses. Anti-CTLA-4 immunotherapy elicits dramatic antitumor responses in mice and in human patients; however, factors that regulate T-bet expression during an antitumor response mediated by anti-CTLA-4 remain to be elucidated. We were the first to report that treatment with anti-CTLA-4 led to an increase in the frequency of T cells expressing inducible costimulator (ICOS). In both treated patients and mice, our data revealed that CD4(+)ICOS(hi) T cells can act as effector T cells, which produce the Th1 cytokine IFN-?. We also showed in a small retrospective analysis that an increased frequency of CD4(+)ICOS(hi) T cells correlated with better clinical outcome and the absence of ICOS or its ligand (ICOSL) in mouse models led to impaired tumor rejection. Here, we show that CD4(+)ICOS(hi) T cells from anti-CTLA-4-treated patients had an increase in signaling via the phospoinositide-3-kinase (PI3K) pathway and an increase in expression of T-bet. An ICOS-specific siRNA transfected into human T cells led to diminished PI3K signaling and T-bet expression. Therefore, we hypothesized that ICOS, and specifically ICOS-mediated PI3K signaling, was required for T-bet expression. We conducted studies in ICOS-deficient and ICOS-YF mice, which have a single amino acid change that abrogates PI3K signaling by ICOS. We found that ICOS-mediated PI3K signaling is required for T-bet expression during an antitumor response elicited by anti-CTLA-4 therapy. Our data provide new insight into the regulation of T-bet expression and suggest that ICOS can be targeted to improve Th1 antitumor responses.
Project description:Ligation of the TNF receptor family costimulatory molecule OX40 (CD134) with an agonist anti-OX40 monoclonal antibody (mAb) enhances antitumor immunity by augmenting T-cell differentiation as well as turning off the suppressive activity of the FoxP3(+)CD4(+) regulatory T cells (Treg). In addition, antibody-mediated blockade of the checkpoint inhibitor CTLA-4 releases the "brakes" on T cells to augment tumor immunotherapy. However, monotherapy with these agents has limited therapeutic benefit particularly against poorly immunogenic murine tumors. Therefore, we examined whether the administration of agonist anti-OX40 therapy in the presence of CTLA-4 blockade would enhance tumor immunotherapy. Combined anti-OX40/anti-CTLA-4 immunotherapy significantly enhanced tumor regression and the survival of tumor-bearing hosts in a CD4 and CD8 T cell-dependent manner. Mechanistic studies revealed that the combination immunotherapy directed the expansion of effector T-bet(high)/Eomes(high) granzyme B(+) CD8 T cells. Dual immunotherapy also induced distinct populations of Th1 [interleukin (IL)-2, IFN-?], and, surprisingly, Th2 (IL-4, IL-5, and IL-13) CD4 T cells exhibiting increased T-bet and Gata-3 expression. Furthermore, IL-4 blockade inhibited the Th2 response, while maintaining the Th1 CD4 and effector CD8 T cells that enhanced tumor-free survival. These data demonstrate that refining the global T-cell response during combination immunotherapy can further enhance the therapeutic efficacy of these agents.
Project description:Cytotoxic lymphocyte antigen-4 (CTLA-4) blockade is an active immunotherapeutic strategy that is currently in clinical trials in cancer. There are several ongoing trials of anti-CTLA-4 in the metastatic setting of prostate cancer patients with reported clinical responses consisting of decreases in the prostate specific antigen (PSA) tumor marker for some patients. Immunologic markers that correlate with these clinical responses are necessary to guide further development of anti-CTLA-4 therapy in the treatment of cancer patients. We recently reported that CD4(+) inducible co-stimulator (ICOS)(hi) T cells that produce interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) are increased in the peripheral blood and tumor tissues of bladder cancer patients treated with anti-CTLA-4 antibody. Here we present data from the same clinical trial in bladder cancer patients demonstrating a higher frequency of CD4(+)ICOS(hi) T cells and IFN-gamma mRNA levels in nonmalignant prostate tissues and incidental prostate tumor tissues removed at the time of radical cystoprostatectomy. Our data suggest immunologic markers that can be used to monitor prostate cancer patients who receive anti-CTLA-4 therapy and indicate that the immunologic impact of anti-CTLA-4 antibody can occur in both tumor and nonmalignant tissues. These data should be taken into consideration for evaluation of efficacy as well as immune-related adverse events associated with anti-CTLA-4 therapy.
Project description:Cytotoxic T lymphocyte-associated protein 4 (CTLA-4) blockade therapy is able to induce long-lasting antitumor responses in a fraction of cancer patients. Nonetheless, there is still room for improvement in the quest for new therapeutic combinations. ICOS costimulation has been underscored as a possible target to include with CTLA-4 blocking treatment. Herein, we describe an ICOS agonistic aptamer that potentiates T cell activation and induces stronger antitumor responses when locally injected at the tumor site in combination with anti-CTLA-4 antibody in different tumor models. Furthermore, ICOS agonistic aptamer was engineered as a bi-specific tumor-targeting aptamer to reach any disseminated tumor lesions after systemic injection. Treatment with the bi-specific aptamer in combination with CTLA-4 blockade showed strong antitumor immunity, even in a melanoma tumor model where CTLA-4 treatment alone did not display any significant therapeutic benefit. Thus, this work provides strong support for the development of combinatorial therapies involving anti-CTLA-4 blockade and ICOS agonist tumor-targeting agents.
Project description:Cytotoxic T lymphocyte-associated antigen 4 (CTLA-4) has been shown to act as a negative regulator of T cell function and has been implicated in the regulation of T helper 1 (Th1)/Th2 development and the function of regulatory T cells. Tests were carried out to determine whether anti-CTLA-4 treatment would alter the polarisation of naive T cells in vivo.Mice were treated with anti-CTLA-4 monoclonal antibody (mAb) (UC10-4F10) at the time of immunisation or colonic instillation of trinitrobenzene sulfonic acid (TNBS). The cytokines produced by lymph node cells after in vitro antigenic stimulation and the role of indoleamine 2,3 dioxygenase (IDO) and of interleukin-10 (IL-10) were tested, and the survival of mice was monitored.Injection of anti-CTLA-4 mAb in mice during priming induced the development of adaptive CD4(+) regulatory T cells which expressed high levels of ICOS (inducible co-stimulator), secreted IL-4 and IL-10. This treatment inhibited Th1 memory responses in vivo and repressed experimental intestinal inflammation. The anti-CTLA-4-induced amelioration of disease correlated with IDO expression and infiltration of ICOS(high) Foxp3(+) T cells in the intestine, suggesting that anti-CTLA-4 acted indirectly through the development of regulatory T cells producing IL-10 and inducing IDO.These observations emphasise the synergy between IL-10 and IDO as anti-inflammatory agents and highlight anti-CTLA-4 treatment as a potential novel immunotherapeutic approach for inducing adaptive regulatory T cells.
Project description:With the notable exception of B-cell malignancies, the efficacy of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells has been limited, and CAR T cells have not been shown to expand and persist in patients with nonlymphoid tumors. Here we demonstrate that redirection of primary human T cells with a CAR containing the inducible costimulator (ICOS) intracellular domain generates tumor-specific IL-17-producing effector cells that show enhanced persistence. Compared with CARs containing the CD3? chain alone, or in tandem with the CD28 or the 4-1BB intracellular domains, ICOS signaling increased IL-17A, IL-17F, and IL-22 following antigen recognition. In addition, T cells redirected with an ICOS-based CAR maintained a core molecular signature characteristic of TH17 cells and expressed higher levels of RORC, CD161, IL1R-1, and NCS1. Of note, ICOS signaling also induced the expression of IFN-? and T-bet, consistent with a TH17/TH1 bipolarization. When transferred into mice with established tumors, TH17 cells that were redirected with ICOS-based CARs mediated efficient antitumor responses and showed enhanced persistence compared with CD28- or 4-1BB-based CAR T cells. Thus, redirection of TH17 cells with a CAR encoding the ICOS intracellular domain is a promising approach to augment the function and persistence of CAR T cells in hematologic malignancies.
Project description:The inducible T-cell co-stimulator (ICOS) belongs to the B7-CD28 immunoglobulin superfamily, which is currently the subject of intense study due to great successes gained in treatment of different malignancies by disrupting their family members. However, the role of ICOS played in colorectal cancer (CRC) remains poorly understood. A tissue microarray (n = 310) was stained with the ICOS specific antibody and ICOS expression is decreased in patients with either lymphatic or distant metastasis and inversely associated with CEA level and TNM stage of CRC patients. Importantly, high ICOS expression is significantly correlated with overall survival (OS) of CRC patients (n = 230, p < 0.001), and ICOS expression is also proved to be an independent prognostic factor by multivariate analysis. Surgical excised CRC specimens (n = 26) were enzymatically digested to get the tumor-infiltrating leukocytes and ICOS is mainly expressed on CD4(+) T cells and its ligand ICOSL is detected on macrophages and tumor cells. ICOS expression level is associated with increased cytotoxic T lymphocyte antigen (CTLA)-4 (p < 0.001) and programmed death (PD-1) (p = 0.005) expression on T cells and more infiltrated CD8(+) T cells (p < 0.001). Interestingly, ICOS(+)CD4(+) cells isolated from tumor tissues have high T-bet and interferon (IFN)? expression, the characteristics of Th1 cells, compared to ICOS(-)CD4(+) cells. In addition, the correlation between the percentage of ICOS(+)CD4(+) T cells in tumor tissue and peripheral blood was detected. Conclusively, expression of ICOS is associated with improved survival in CRC and percentage of ICOS(+)CD4(+) cells acting as Th1 cells in either primary tumor tissue or peripheral blood may be a clinical biomarker for good prognosis of CRC patients.
Project description:Significant anti-tumor responses have been reported in a small subset of cancer patients treated with the immunotherapeutic agent anti-CTLA-4 antibody. All clinical trials to date, comprising over 3,000 patients, have been conducted in the metastatic disease setting, which allows for correlation of drug administration with clinical outcome but has limited analyses of intermediate biomarkers to indicate whether the drug has impacted human immune responses within the tumor microenvironment. We conducted a pre-surgical clinical trial in six patients with localized bladder cancer, which allowed for correlation of drug administration with biomarkers in both blood and tumor tissues but did not permit correlation with clinical outcome. We found that CD4 T cells from peripheral blood and tumor tissues of all treated patients had markedly increased expression of inducible costimulator (ICOS). These CD4(+)ICOS(hi) T cells produced IFN-gamma (IFNgamma) and could recognize the tumor antigen NY-ESO-1. Increase in CD4(+)ICOS(hi) cells led to an increase in the ratio of effector to regulatory T cells. To our knowledge, these are the first immunologic changes reported in both tumor tissues and peripheral blood as a result of treatment with anti-CTLA-4 antibody, and they may be used to guide dosing and scheduling of this agent to improve clinical responses.
Project description:T cell receptor (TCR) affinity is a critical factor of Treg lineage commitment, but whether self-reactivity is a determining factor in peripheral Treg function remains unknown. Here, we report that a high degree of self-reactivity is crucial for tissue-specific Treg function in autoimmunity. Based on high expression of CD5, we identified a subset of self-reactive Tregs expressing elevated levels of T-bet, GITR, CTLA-4, and ICOS, which imparted significant protection from autoimmune diabetes. We observed that T-bet expression in Tregs, necessary for control of Th1 autoimmunity, could be induced in an IFN?-independent fashion and, unlike in conventional T cells (Tconv), was strongly correlated with the strength of TCR signaling. The level of CD5 similarly identified human Tregs with an increased functional profile, suggesting that CD5hi Tregs may constitute an efficacious subpopulation appropriate for use in adoptive Treg therapies for treatment of inflammatory conditions. Overall, this work establishes an instrumental role of high TCR self-reactivity in driving Treg function.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Th2 cell activation and T regulatory cell (Treg) deficiency are key features of allergy. This applies for asthma and rhinitis. However with a same atopic background, some patients will develop rhinitis and asthma, whereas others will display rhinitis only. Co-receptors are pivotal in determining the type of T cell activation, but their role in allergic asthma and rhinitis has not been explored. Our objective was to assess whether allergen-induced T cell activation differs from allergic rhinitis to allergic rhinitis with asthma, and explore the role of ICOS, CD28 and CTLA-4. METHODS: T cell co-receptor and cytokine expressions were assessed by flow cytometry in PBMC from 18 house dust mite (HDM) allergic rhinitics (R), 18 HDM allergic rhinitics and asthmatics (AR), 13 non allergic asthmatics (A) and 20 controls, with or without anti-co-receptors antibodies. RESULTS: In asthmatics (A+AR), a constitutive decrease of CTLA-4+ and of CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ cells was found, with an increase of IFN-?+ cells. In allergic subjects (R + AR), allergen stimulation induced CD28 together with IL-4 and IL-13, and decreased the proportion of CTLA-4+, IL-10+ and CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ cells. Anti-ICOS and anti-CD28 antibodies blocked allergen-induced IL-4 and IL-13. IL-13 production also involved CTLA-4. CONCLUSIONS: T cell activation differs between allergic rhinitis and asthma. In asthma, a constitutive, co-receptor independent, Th1 activation and Treg deficiency is found. In allergic rhinitis, an allergen-induced Treg cell deficiency is seen, as well as an ICOS-, CD28- and CTLA-4-dependent Th2 activation. Allergic asthmatics display both characteristics.
Project description:Immune-checkpoint blockade is able to achieve durable responses in a subset of patients; however, we lack a satisfying comprehension of the underlying mechanisms of anti-CTLA-4- and anti-PD-1-induced tumor rejection. To address these issues, we utilized mass cytometry to comprehensively profile the effects of checkpoint blockade on tumor immune infiltrates in human melanoma and murine tumor models. These analyses reveal a spectrum of tumor-infiltrating T cell populations that are highly similar between tumor models and indicate that checkpoint blockade targets only specific subsets of tumor-infiltrating T cell populations. Anti-PD-1 predominantly induces the expansion of specific tumor-infiltrating exhausted-like CD8 T cell subsets. In contrast, anti-CTLA-4 induces the expansion of an ICOS+ Th1-like CD4 effector population in addition to engaging specific subsets of exhausted-like CD8 T cells. Thus, our findings indicate that anti-CTLA-4 and anti-PD-1 checkpoint-blockade-induced immune responses are driven by distinct cellular mechanisms.