Increased frequency of ICOS+ CD4 T cells as a pharmacodynamic biomarker for anti-CTLA-4 therapy.
ABSTRACT: Pharmacodynamic biomarkers can play an important role in understanding whether a therapeutic agent has "hit its target" to impact biologic function. A pharmacodynamic biomarker for anti-CTLA-4 therapy remains to be elucidated. We previously reported that anti-CTLA-4 therapy increases the frequency of CD4 T cells expressing the inducible costimulator (ICOS) molecule. To determine whether the frequency of ICOS(+) CD4 T cells could be used as a pharmacodynamic biomarker for anti-CTLA-4 therapy, we carried out flow cytometric studies and statistical analyses on data from 56 individuals, which included 10 healthy donors, 36 patients who received anti-CTLA-4 monoclonal antibody (mAb), and 10 patients who received treatment with a different immunomodulatory agent (gp100 DNA vaccine). After treatment with anti-CTLA-4 mAb (ipilimumab; Bristol-Myers Squibb), we detected a statistically significant increase in the frequency of ICOS(+) CD4 T-cells. After two doses of anti-CTLA-4 therapy, the assay was found to have an estimated specificity of 96% [95% confidence interval (CI), 88-100] and sensitivity of 71% (95% CI, 54-85), with positive expression defined as a frequency that is more than the upper bound of 95% CI among baseline samples from all subjects. Our data suggest that an increased frequency of ICOS(+) CD4 T cells measured by flow cytometry can be used as a reproducible pharmacodynamic biomarker to indicate biologic activity in the setting of anti-CTLA-4 therapy, which should enable appropriate immune monitoring to determine whether patients receiving anti-CTLA-4 monotherapy or combination treatment strategies are having an adequate biologic response.
Project description: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: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 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:Cytotoxic T lymphocyte associated antigen (CTLA-4) blockade is being explored in numerous clinical trials as an immune-based therapy for different malignancies. Our group conducted the first preoperative clinical trial with the anti-CTLA-4 antibody ipilimumab in 12 patients with localized urothelial carcinoma of the bladder.Six patients were treated with 3 mg/kg/dose of anti-CTLA-4 and six patients were treated with 10 mg/kg/dose of antibody. Primary end points of the study were safety and immune monitoring.Most drug-related adverse events consisted of grade 1/2 toxicities. All patients had measurable immunologic pharmacodynamic effects, consisting of an increased frequency of CD4+ICOShi T cells in tumor tissues and the systemic circulation. To determine if CD4+ICOShi T cells could be a correlative marker for clinical outcome after treatment with anti-CTLA-4, a cohort of metastatic melanoma patients was studied retrospectively for frequency of CD4+ICOShi T cells and survival. Data from this small cohort of patients indicated that an increased frequency of CD4+ICOShi T cells, sustained over a period of 12 weeks of therapy, correlates with increased likelihood of clinical benefit consisting of overall survival.Our trial shows that anti-CTLA-4 therapy has a tolerable safety profile in the presurgical setting and that a preoperative model can be used to obtain biological data on human immune responses, which can efficiently guide the monitoring of patients treated in the metastatic disease setting.
Project description:In recent years, cancer immunotherapy made significant advances due to a better understanding of the principles underlying tumor biology and immunology. In this context, CD73 is a key molecule, since via degradation of adenosine monophosphate into adenosine, endorses the generation of an immunosuppressed and pro-angiogenic niche within the tumor microenvironment that promotes the onset and progression of cancer. Targeting CD73 results in favorable antitumor effects in pre-clinical models and combined treatments of CD73 blockade with other immune-modulating agents (i.e. anti-CTLA-4 mAb or anti-PD1 mAb) is particularly attractive. Although there is still a long way to go, anti-CD73 therapy, through the development of CD73 monoclonal antibodies, can potentially constitute a new biologic therapy for cancer patients. In this review, we discuss the link between CD73 and the onset, development and spread of tumors, highlighting the potential value of this molecule as a target and as a novel biomarker in the context of personalized cancer therapy.
Project description:Mice reconstituted with a human immune system and bearing human tumors represent a promising model for developing novel cancer immunotherapies. Here, we used mass cytometry and multi-parametric flow cytometry to characterize human leukocytes infiltrating a human breast cancer tumor model in immunocompromised NOD.SCID.γc-null mice reconstituted with a human immune system and compared it to samples of breast cancer patients. We observed highly activated human CD4+ and CD8+ T cells in the tumor, as well as minor subsets of innate immune cells in both settings. We also report that ICOS+ CD4+ regulatory T cells (Treg) were enriched in the tumor relative to the periphery in humanized mice and patients, providing a target to affect Treg and tumor growth. Indeed, administration of a neutralizing mAb to human ICOS reduced Treg proportions and numbers and improved CD4 + T cell proliferation in humanized mice. Moreover, a combination of the anti-ICOS mAb with cyclophosphamide reduced tumor growth, and that was associated with an improved CD8 to Treg ratio. Depletion of human CD8+ T cells or of murine myeloid cells marginally affected the effect of the combination therapy. Altogether, our results indicate that a combination of anti-ICOS mAb and chemotherapy controls tumor growth in humanized mice, opening new perspectives for the treatment of breast cancer. One sentence summary: Targeting ICOS in combination with chemotherapy is a promising strategy to improve tumor immunity in humans.
Project description:Combination immunotherapy with antibodies directed against PD-1 and CTLA-4 shows improved clinical benefit across cancer indications compared to single agents, albeit with increased toxicity. Leveraging the observation that PD-1 and CTLA-4 are co-expressed by tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes, an investigational PD-1 x CTLA-4 bispecific DART molecule, MGD019, is engineered to maximize checkpoint blockade in the tumor microenvironment via enhanced CTLA-4 blockade in a PD-1-binding-dependent manner. <i>In vitro</i>, MGD019 mediates the combinatorial blockade of PD-1 and CTLA-4, confirming dual inhibition via a single molecule. MGD019 is well tolerated in non-human primates, with evidence of both PD-1 and CTLA-4 blockade, including increases in Ki67<sup>+</sup>CD8 and ICOS<sup>+</sup>CD4 T cells, respectively. In the ongoing MGD019 first-in-human study enrolling patients with advanced solid tumors (NCT03761017), an analysis undertaken following the dose escalation phase revealed acceptable safety, pharmacodynamic evidence of combinatorial blockade, and objective responses in multiple tumor types typically unresponsive to checkpoint inhibitor therapy.
Project description:To prepare a novel Bispecific Antibody (BsAb) as a potential targeted therapy for T1D, we produced a "functionally inert" monoclonal antibody (mAb) against Glucose transporter-2 (GLUT-2) expressed on ?-cells to serve as an anchoring antibody. The therapeutic arm is an agonistic mAb against Cytotoxic T-Lymphocyte Antigen 4 (CTLA-4), a negative regulator of T-cell activation expressed on activated CD4+ T-cells. A BsAb was prepared by chemically coupling an anti-GLUT2 mAb to an agonistic anti-CTLA-4 mAb. This BsAb was able to bind to GLUT2 and CTLA-4 in vitro, and to pancreatic islets, both in vitro and in vivo. We tested the safety and efficacy of this BsAb by treating Non-Obese Diabetes (NOD) mice and found that it could delay the onset of diabetes with no apparent undesirable side effects. Thus, engagement of CTLA-4 on activated T cells from target tissue can be an effective way to treat type-1 diabetes.
Project description:Foxp3+ T regulatory cells (Tregs), conventional CD4+Foxp3- T cells, and CD8+ T cells represent heterogeneous populations composed of naive phenotype (NP, CD44low) and memory phenotype (MP, CD44high) subpopulations. NP and MP subsets differ in their activation state, contribution to immune function, and capacity to proliferate in vivo. To further understand the factors that contribute to the differential homeostasis of NP/MP subsets, we examined the differential effects of CD28 and CTLA-4 interaction with CD80/CD86, as well as MHC class II-TCR interaction within mouse Treg pools and CD4+ and CD8+ T cell pools. Blockade of CD80/CD86 with CTLA-4-Ig markedly reduced the cycling and absolute numbers of MP Tregs and MP CD4+ T cells, with minimal effect on the NP T cell subpopulations. Blockade of MHC class II-TCR interaction led to selective expansion of MP Tregs and MP CD4+ and CD8+ T cells that was reversed upon cotreatment with CTLA-4-Ig. Treatment with anti-CTLA-4 mAb altered MP Treg and MP CD4+ and CD8+ T cell homeostasis in a manner similar to that observed with anti-MHC class II. We postulate a complex pathway in which CD28 is the primary driver of Treg proliferation and CTLA-4 functions as the main brake but is likely dependent on TCR signals and CD80/CD86. These findings have important implications for the use of biologic agents targeting such pathways to modulate autoimmune and neoplastic disease.
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.