Doxil synergizes with cancer immunotherapies to enhance antitumor responses in syngeneic mouse models.
ABSTRACT: Based on the previously described roles of doxorubicin in immunogenic cell death, both doxorubicin and liposomal doxorubicin (Doxil) were evaluated for their ability to boost the antitumor response of different cancer immunotherapies including checkpoint blockers (anti-PD-L1, PD-1, and CTLA-4 mAbs) and TNF receptor agonists (OX40 and GITR ligand fusion proteins) in syngeneic mouse models. In a preventative CT26 mouse tumor model, both doxorubicin and Doxil synergized with anti-PD-1 and CTLA-4 mAbs. Doxil was active when CT26 tumors were grown in immunocompetent mice but not immunocompromised mice, demonstrating that Doxil activity is increased in the presence of a functional immune system. Using established tumors and maximally efficacious doses of Doxil and cancer immunotherapies in either CT26 or MCA205 tumor models, combination groups produced strong synergistic antitumor effects, a larger percentage of complete responders, and increased survival. In vivo pharmacodynamic studies showed that Doxil treatment decreased the percentage of tumor-infiltrating regulatory T cells and, in combination with anti-PD-L1, increased the percentage of tumor-infiltrating CD8(+) T cells. In the tumor, Doxil administration increased CD80 expression on mature dendritic cells. CD80 expression was also increased on both monocytic and granulocytic myeloid cells, suggesting that Doxil may induce these tumor-infiltrating cells to elicit a costimulatory phenotype capable of activating an antitumor T-cell response. These results uncover a novel role for Doxil in immunomodulation and support the use of Doxil in combination with checkpoint blockade or TNFR agonists to increase response rates and antitumor activity.
Project description:Tumor normalization strategies aim to improve tumor blood vessel functionality (i.e., perfusion) by reducing the hyper-permeability of tumor vessels or restoring compressed vessels. Despite progress in strategies to normalize the tumor microenvironment (TME), their combinatorial antitumor effects with nanomedicine and immunotherapy remain unexplored. Methods: Here, we re-purposed the TGF-? inhibitor tranilast, an approved anti-fibrotic and antihistamine drug, and combined it with Doxil nanomedicine to normalize the TME, increase perfusion and oxygenation, and enhance anti-tumor immunity. Specifically, we employed two triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) mouse models to primarily evaluate the therapeutic and normalization effects of tranilast combined with doxorubicin and Doxil. We demonstrated the optimized normalization effects of tranilast combined with Doxil and extended our analysis to investigate the effect of TME normalization to the efficacy of immune checkpoint inhibitors. Results: Combination of tranilast with Doxil caused a pronounced reduction in extracellular matrix components and an increase in the intratumoral vessel diameter and pericyte coverage, indicators of TME normalization. These modifications resulted in a significant increase in tumor perfusion and oxygenation and enhanced treatment efficacy as indicated by the notable reduction in tumor size. Tranilast further normalized the immune TME by restoring the infiltration of T cells and increasing the fraction of T cells that migrate away from immunosuppressive cancer-associated fibroblasts. Furthermore, we found that combining tranilast with Doxil nanomedicine, significantly improved immunostimulatory M1 macrophage content in the tumorigenic tissue and improved the efficacy of the immune checkpoint blocking antibodies anti-PD-1/anti-CTLA-4. Conclusion: Combinatorial treatment of tranilast with Doxil optimizes TME normalization, improves immunostimulation and enhances the efficacy of immunotherapy.
Project description:B cell high grade lymphoma is the most common hematopoietic malignancy in dogs. Although the immune checkpoint molecules, programmed death-1 (PD-1) and cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated antigen-4 (CTLA-4), and immune checkpoint inhibitors have been evaluated for the treatment of various human lymphoid malignancies, the expression of those molecules and their relationship with prognosis remain unknown in canine lymphoma. The objective of this study was to evaluate the expression of costimulatory molecules on peripheral blood lymphocytes and tumor infiltrating lymphocytes, in addition to associated ligand expression in the lymph nodes of patients with B cell multicentric high grade lymphoma. Eighteen patients diagnosed with B cell high grade lymphoma and nine healthy control dogs were enrolled. Flow cytometric analysis revealed that the expression of PD-1 on CD4+ peripheral and tumor infiltrating lymphocytes and CTLA-4 on CD4+ peripheral lymphocytes was significantly higher in the lymphoma group than in the control group. The expression level of CD80 mRNA was significantly lower in the lymphoma group than in the control group. In contrast, there were no significant differences in PD-L1, PD-L2, and CD86 expression between the groups. Dogs with CTLA-4 levels below the cutoff values, which were determined based on receiver operating characteristic curves, on peripheral CD4+, CD8+, and tumor infiltrating CD4+ lymphocytes had significantly longer survival than dogs with values above the cutoff. Although it is uncertain whether the expression of immune checkpoint molecules affect the biological behavior of canine lymphoma, one possible explanation is that PD-1 and CTLA-4 might be associated with the suppression of antitumor immunity in dogs with B cell high grade lymphoma, particularly through CD4+ T cells.
Project description:Tumor progression is facilitated by regulatory T cells (Treg) and restricted by effector T cells. In this study, we document parallel regulation of CD8(+) T cells and Foxp3(+) Tregs by programmed death-1 (PD-1, PDCD1). In addition, we identify an additional role of CTL antigen-4 (CTLA-4) inhibitory receptor in further promoting dysfunction of CD8(+) T effector cells in tumor models (CT26 colon carcinoma and ID8-VEGF ovarian carcinoma). Two thirds of CD8(+) tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL) expressed PD-1, whereas one third to half of CD8(+) TIL coexpressed PD-1 and CTLA-4. Double-positive (PD-1(+)CTLA-4(+)) CD8(+) TIL had characteristics of more severe dysfunction than single-positive (PD-1(+) or CTLA-4(+)) TIL, including an inability to proliferate and secrete effector cytokines. Blockade of both PD-1 and CTLA-4 resulted in reversal of CD8(+) TIL dysfunction and led to tumor rejection in two thirds of mice. Double blockade was associated with increased proliferation of antigen-specific effector CD8(+) and CD4(+) T cells, antigen-specific cytokine release, inhibition of suppressive functions of Tregs, and upregulation of key signaling molecules critical for T-cell function. When used in combination with GVAX vaccination (consisting of granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor-expressing irradiated tumor cells), inhibitory pathway blockade induced rejection of CT26 tumors in 100% of mice and ID8-VEGF tumors in 75% of mice. Our study indicates that PD-1 signaling in tumors is required for both suppressing effector T cells and maintaining tumor Tregs, and that PD-1/PD-L1 pathway (CD274) blockade augments tumor inhibition by increasing effector T-cell activity, thereby attenuating Treg suppression.
Project description:A novel strategy to improve the therapeutic index of chemotherapy has been developed by the integration of nanotechnology with phage technique. The objective of this study was to combine phage display, identifying tumor-targeting ligands, with a liposomal nanocarrier for targeted delivery of doxorubicin. Following the proof of concept in cell-based experiments, this study focused on in vivo assessment of antitumor activity and potential side-effects of phage fusion protein-modified liposomal doxorubicin. MCF-7-targeted phage-Doxil treatments led to greater tumor remission and faster onset of antitumor activity than the treatments with non-targeted formulations. The enhanced anticancer effect induced by the targeted phage-Doxil correlated with an improved tumor accumulation of doxorubicin. Tumor sections consistently revealed enhanced apoptosis, reduced proliferation activity and extensive necrosis. Phage-Doxil-treated mice did not show any sign of hepatotoxicity and maintained overall health. Therefore, MCF-7-targeted phage-Doxil seems to be an active and tolerable chemotherapy for breast cancer treatment.The authors of this study successfully combined phage display with a liposomal nanocarrier for targeted delivery of doxorubicin using MCF-7-targeted phage-Doxil nanocarriers in a rodent model. The method demonstrated improved efficiency and reduced hepatotoxicity, paving the way to future clinical trials addressing breast cancer.
Project description:The advent of immune checkpoint blockade as a new strategy for immunotherapy has changed the outlook for many aggressive cancers. Although complete tumor eradication is attainable in some cases, durable clinical responses are observed only in a small fraction of patients, underlining urgent need for improvement. We previously showed that RON, a receptor tyrosine kinase expressed in macrophages, suppresses antitumor immune responses, and facilitates progression and metastasis of breast cancer. Here, we investigated the molecular changes that occur downstream of RON activation in macrophages, and whether inhibition of RON can cooperate with checkpoint immunotherapy to eradicate tumors. Activation of RON by its ligand, MSP, altered the gene expression profile of macrophages drastically and upregulated surface levels of CD80 and PD-L1, ligands for T-cell checkpoint receptors CTLA-4 and PD-1. Genetic deletion or pharmacological inhibition of RON in combination with anti-CTLA-4, but not with anti-PD-1, resulted in improved clinical responses against orthotopically transplanted tumors compared to single-agent treatment groups, resulting in complete tumor eradication in 46% of the animals. Positive responses to therapy were associated with higher levels of T-cell activation markers and tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes. Importantly, co-inhibition of RON and anti-CTLA-4 was also effective in clearing metastatic breast cancer cells in lungs, resulting in clinical responses in nearly 60% of the mice. These findings suggest that RON inhibition can be a novel approach to potentiate responses to checkpoint immunotherapy in breast cancer.
Project description:Antibodies targeting CTLA-4 induce durable responses in some patients with melanoma and are being tested in a variety of human cancers. However, these therapies are ineffective for a majority of patients across tumor types. Further understanding the immune alterations induced by these therapies may enable the development of novel strategies to enhance tumor control and biomarkers to identify patients most likely to respond. In several murine models, including colon26, MC38, CT26, and B16 tumors cotreated with GVAX, anti-CTLA-4 efficacy depends on interactions between the Fc region of CTLA-4 antibodies and Fc receptors (FcR). Anti-CTLA-4 binding to FcRs has been linked to depletion of intratumoral T regulatory cells (Treg). In agreement with previous studies, we found that Tregs infiltrating CT26, B16-F1, and autochthonous Braf V600E Pten -/- melanoma tumors had higher expression of surface CTLA-4 (sCTLA-4) than other T-cell subsets, and anti-CTLA-4 treatment led to FcR-dependent depletion of Tregs infiltrating CT26 tumors. This Treg depletion coincided with activation and degranulation of intratumoral natural killer cells. Similarly, in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and melanoma patient-derived tumor tissue, Tregs had higher sCTLA-4 expression than other intratumoral T-cell subsets, and Tregs infiltrating NSCLC expressed more sCTLA-4 than circulating Tregs. Patients with cutaneous melanoma who benefited from ipilimumab, a mAb targeting CTLA-4, had higher intratumoral CD56 expression, compared with patients who received little to no benefit from this therapy. Furthermore, using the murine CT26 model we found that combination therapy with anti-CTLA-4 plus IL15/IL15R? complexes enhanced tumor control compared with either monotherapy.
Project description:Combined immunotherapy targeting the immune checkpoint receptors cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated protein 4 (CTLA-4) and programmed cell death 1 (PD-1), or CTLA-4 and the PD-1 ligand (PD-L1) exhibits superior anti-tumor responses compared with single-agent therapy. Here, we examined the molecular basis for this synergy. Using reconstitution assays with fluorescence readouts, we found that PD-L1 and the CTLA-4 ligand CD80 heterodimerize in cis but not trans. Quantitative biochemistry and cell biology assays revealed that PD-L1:CD80 cis-heterodimerization inhibited both PD-L1:PD-1 and CD80:CTLA-4 interactions through distinct mechanisms but preserved the ability of CD80 to activate the T cell co-stimulatory receptor CD28. Furthermore, PD-L1 expression on antigen-presenting cells (APCs) prevented CTLA-4-mediated trans-endocytosis of CD80. Atezolizumab (anti-PD-L1), but not anti-PD-1, reduced cell surface expression of CD80 on APCs, and this effect was negated by co-blockade of CTLA-4 with ipilimumab (anti-CTLA-4). Thus, PD-L1 exerts an immunostimulatory effect by repressing the CTLA-4 axis; this has implications to the synergy of anti-PD-L1 and anti-CTLA-4 combination therapy.
Project description:The monoclonal antibodies ipilimumab (anti-CTLA-4) and nivolumab (anti-PD-1) have shown remarkable antitumor activity in an increasing number of cancers. When combined, ipilimumab and nivolumab have demonstrated superior activity in patients with metastatic melanoma (CHECKMATE-067). Here we describe the preclinical development strategy that predicted these clinical results. Synergistic antitumor activity in mouse MC38 and CT26 colorectal tumor models was observed with concurrent, but not sequential CTLA-4 and PD-1 blockade. Significant antitumor activity was maintained using a fixed dose of anti-CTLA-4 antibody with decreasing doses of anti-PD-1 antibody in the MC38 model. Immunohistochemical and flow cytometric analyses confirmed that CD3+ T cells accumulated at the tumor margin and infiltrated the tumor mass in response to the combination therapy, resulting in favorable effector and regulatory T-cell ratios, increased pro-inflammatory cytokine secretion, and activation of tumor-specific T cells. Similarly, in vitro studies with combined ipilimumab and nivolumab showed enhanced cytokine secretion in superantigen stimulation of human peripheral blood lymphocytes and in mixed lymphocyte response assays. In a cynomolgus macaque toxicology study, dose-dependent immune-related gastrointestinal inflammation was observed with the combination therapy; this response had not been observed in previous single agent cynomolgus studies. Together, these in vitro assays and in vivo models comprise a preclinical strategy for the identification and development of highly effective antitumor combination immunotherapies.
Project description:Doxorubicin (DXR) has been reported to have direct cytotoxicity against cancer cells and indirect immunotoxicity by modulation of host antitumor immunity. Hence, it may prevent cancer progression by a dual mechanism. Doxil®, a formulation of DXR encapsulated in polyethylene glycol modified (PEGylated) liposomes, is the most widely used of the clinically approved liposomal anticancer drugs. However, the effect of Doxil® on host antitumor immunity is not well understood. In this study, Doxil® efficiently suppressed tumor growth in immunocompetent mice bearing C26 murine colorectal carcinomas, but not in T cell-deficient nude mice, indicating a contribution of T cells to the overall antitumor effect of Doxil®. In immunocompetent mice, Doxil® increased major histocompatibility complex (MHC-1) levels in C26 tumors, which may be an indicator of increased immunogenicity of tumor cells, and potentially amplified tumor immunogenicity by decreasing immunosuppressive cells such as regulatory T cells, tumor-associated microphages and myeloid-derived suppressor cells that collectively suppress T cell-mediated antitumor responses. This suggests that encapsulation of DXR into PEGylated liposomes increased the therapeutic efficacy of DXR though effects on host antitumor immunogenicity in addition to direct cytotoxic effects on tumor cells. This report describes the role of host antitumor immunity in the overall therapeutic effects of Doxil®. Manipulating pharmacokinetics and biodistribution of chemotherapeutic agents with immunomodulatory properties may increase their therapeutic efficacies by amplifying host antitumor immunity in addition to direct cytotoxic effects on tumor cells.