Timing of CSF-1/CSF-1R signaling blockade is critical to improving responses to CTLA-4 based immunotherapy.
ABSTRACT: UNLABELLED:Colony stimulating factor-1 (CSF-1) is produced by a variety of cancers and recruits myeloid cells that suppress antitumor immunity, including myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs.) Here, we show that both CSF-1 and its receptor (CSF-1R) are frequently expressed in tumors from cancer patients, and that this expression correlates with tumor-infiltration of MDSCs. Furthermore, we demonstrate that these tumor-infiltrating MDSCs are highly immunosuppressive but can be reprogrammed toward an antitumor phenotype in vitro upon CSF-1/CSF-1R signaling blockade. Supporting these findings, we show that inhibition of CSF-1/CSF-1R signaling using an anti-CSF-1R antibody can regulate both the number and the function of MDSCs in murine tumors in vivo. We further find that treatment with anti-CSF-1R antibody induces antitumor T-cell responses and tumor regression in multiple tumor models when combined with CTLA-4 blockade therapy. However, this occurs only when administered after or concurrent with CTLA-4 blockade, indicating that timing of each therapeutic intervention is critical for optimal antitumor responses. Importantly, MDSCs present within murine tumors after CTLA-4 blockade showed increased expression of CSF-1R and were capable of suppressing T cell proliferation, and CSF-1/CSF-1R expression in the human tumors was not reduced after treatment with CTLA-4 blockade immunotherapy. Taken together, our findings suggest that CSF-1R-expressing MDSCs can be targeted to modulate the tumor microenvironment and that timing of CSF-1/CSF-1R signaling blockade is critical to improving responses to checkpoint based immunotherapy. SIGNIFICANCE:Infiltration by immunosuppressive myeloid cells contributes to tumor immune escape and can render patients resistant or less responsive to therapeutic intervention with checkpoint blocking antibodies. Our data demonstrate that blocking CSF-1/CSF-1R signaling using a monoclonal antibody directed to CSF-1R can regulate both the number and function of tumor-infiltrating immunosuppressive myeloid cells. In addition, our findings suggest that reprogramming myeloid responses may be a key in effectively enhancing cancer immunotherapy, offering several new potential combination therapies for future clinical testing. More importantly for clinical trial design, the timing of these interventions is critical to achieving improved tumor protection.
Project description:Colony stimulating factor 1 (CSF-1) recruits tumor-infiltrating myeloid cells (TIM) that suppress tumor immunity, including M2 macrophages and myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC). The CSF-1 receptor (CSF-1R) is a tyrosine kinase that is targetable by small molecule inhibitors such as PLX3397. In this study, we used a syngeneic mouse model of BRAF(V600E)-driven melanoma to evaluate the ability of PLX3397 to improve the efficacy of adoptive cell therapy (ACT). In this model, we found that combined treatment produced superior antitumor responses compared with single treatments. In mice receiving the combined treatment, a dramatic reduction of TIMs and a skewing of MHCII(low) to MHCII(hi) macrophages were observed. Furthermore, mice receiving the combined treatment exhibited an increase in tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL) and T cells, as revealed by real-time imaging in vivo. In support of these observations, TILs from these mice released higher levels of IFN-?. In conclusion, CSF-1R blockade with PLX3397 improved the efficacy of ACT immunotherapy by inhibiting the intratumoral accumulation of immunosuppressive macrophages.
Project description:Immunotherapy has led to a paradigm shift in the treatment of many advanced malignancies. Despite the success in treatment of tumors like non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and melanoma, checkpoint inhibition-based immunotherapy has limitations. Many tumors, such as pancreatic cancer, are less responsive to checkpoint inhibitors, where patients tend to have a limited duration of benefit and where clinical responses are more robust in patients who are positive for predictive biomarkers. One of the critical factors that influence the efficacy of immunotherapy is the tumor microenvironment (TME), which contains a heterogeneous composition of immunosuppressive cells. Myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) and tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) alter the immune landscape of the TME and serve as facilitators of tumor proliferation, metastatic growth and immunotherapy resistance. Small molecule inhibitors that target these components of the TME have been developed. This special issue review focuses on two promising classes of immunomodulatory small molecule inhibitors: colony stimulating factor-1 receptor (CSF-1R) and focal adhesion kinase (FAK). Small molecule inhibitors of CSF-1R reprogram the TME and TAMs, and lead to enhanced T-cell-mediated tumor eradication. FAK small molecule inhibitors decrease the infiltration MDSCs, TAMs and regulatory T-cells. Additionally, FAK inhibitors are implicated as modulators of stromal density and cancer stem cells, leading to a TME more conducive to an anti-tumor immune response. Immunomodulatory small molecule inhibitors present a unique opportunity to attenuate immune escape of tumors and potentiate the effectiveness of immunotherapy and traditional cytotoxic therapy.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) participate in tumor-elicited immunosuppression by dramatically blocking T-cell-induced antitumor responses, thereby influencing the effectiveness of cancer immunotherapies. Treatments that alter the differentiation and function of MDSCs can partially restore antitumor immune responses. The long noncoding RNA plasmacytoma variant translocation 1 (lncRNA Pvt1) is a potential oncogene in a variety of cancer types. However, whether lncRNA Pvt1 is involved in the regulation of MDSCs has not been thoroughly elucidated to date. METHODS:MDSCs or granulocytic MDSCs (G-MDSCs) were isolated by microbeads and flow cytometry. Bone marrow derived G-MDSCs were induced by IL-6 and GM-CSF. The expression of lncRNA Pvt1 was measured by qRT-PCR. Specific siRNA was used to knockdown the expression of lncRNA Pvt1 in G-MDSCs. RESULTS:In this study, we found that knockdown of lncRNA Pvt1 significantly inhibited the immunosuppressive function of G-MDSCs in vitro. Additionally, lncRNA Pvt1 knockdown reduced the ability of G-MDSCs to delay tumor progression in tumor-bearing mice in vivo. Notably, lncRNA Pvt1 was upregulated by HIF-1α under hypoxia in G-MDSCs. CONCLUSIONS:Taken together, our results demonstrate a critical role for lncRNA Pvt1 in regulating the immunosuppression activity of G-MDSCs, and lncRNA Pvt1 might thus be a potential antitumor immunotherapy target.
Project description:Tumor-promoting inflammation and the avoidance of immune destruction are hallmarks of cancer. While innate immune cells, such as neutrophils, monocytes, and macrophages, are critical mediators for sterile and nonsterile inflammation, persistent inflammation, such as that which occurs in cancer, is known to disturb normal myelopoiesis. This disturbance leads to the generation of immunosuppressive myeloid cells, such as myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) and tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs). Due to their potent suppressive activities against effector lymphocytes and their abundance in the tumor microenvironment, immunosuppressive myeloid cells act as a major barrier to cancer immunotherapy. Indeed, various therapeutic approaches directed toward immunosuppressive myeloid cells are actively being tested in preclinical and clinical studies. These include anti-inflammatory agents, therapeutic blockade of the mobilization and survival of myeloid cells, and immunostimulatory adjuvants. More recently, immune checkpoint molecules expressed on tumor-infiltrating myeloid cells have emerged as potential therapeutic targets to redirect these cells to eliminate tumor cells. In this review, we discuss the complex crosstalk between cancer-related inflammation and immunosuppressive myeloid cells and possible therapeutic strategies to harness antitumor immune responses.
Project description:Immune checkpoint blockade is a promising anticancer therapy, but must be used in combination with other anticancer therapies to increase its therapeutic efficacy. Cyclophosphamide (CP) is a chemotherapeutic drug that shows immune-modulating effects. In this study, we examined the effect of CP on anti-CTL-associated protein 4 (CTLA-4) blockade therapy in two mouse tumor models. Drastic tumor regression was observed in the CT26 colon carcinoma model after i.p. injection of CP (100 mg/kg) followed by anti-CTLA-4 antibody. However, administration in the reverse order increased apoptosis in tumor-specific CD8+ T cells. In the RENCA renal carcinoma model, the antitumor effect of combination therapy was marginal and the tumor-bearing state reduced body weight with an increased serum level of interleukin-6. Interestingly, although CP monotherapy increased myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) in the spleens of both models, subsequent anti-CTLA-4 therapy increased MDSCs only in RENCA-bearing mice. Additionally, the serum levels of chemokine ligand 2 and C-X-C motif chemokine 10 were increased by the combination therapy only in RENCA-bearing mice and in vivo depletion of Gr-1+ cells augmented the antitumor effect to some degree. These results reveal a contrasting effect of CP on anti-CTLA-4 therapy between the two mouse tumor models. Cyclophosphamide augments the antitumor effect of anti-CTLA-4 therapy in CT26-bearing hosts, whereas CP after anti-CTLA-4 therapy attenuates this effect through induction of apoptosis in tumor-reactive T cells. Alternatively, CP-induced MDSCs can be increased by anti-CTLA-4 therapy only in RENCA-bearing hosts with an elevated level of interleukin-6.
Project description:Immunotherapy aiming to rescue or boost antitumor immunity is an emerging strategy for treatment of cancers. The efficacy of immunotherapy is strongly controlled by the immunological milieu of cancer patients. Myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) are heterogeneous immature myeloid cell populations with immunosuppressive functions accumulating in individuals during tumor progression. The signaling mechanisms of MDSC activation have been well studied. However, there is little known about the metabolic status of MDSCs and the physiological role of their metabolic reprogramming. In this study, we discovered that myeloid cells upregulated their glycolytic genes when encountered with tumor-derived factors. MDSCs exhibited higher glycolytic rate than their normal cell compartment did, which contributed to the accumulation of the MDSCs in tumor-bearing hosts. Upregulation of glycolysis prevented excess reactive oxygen species (ROS) production by MDSCs, which protected MDSCs from apoptosis. Most importantly, we identified the glycolytic metabolite, phosphoenolpyruvate (PEP), as a vital antioxidant agent able to prevent excess ROS production and therefore contributed to the survival of MDSCs. These findings suggest that glycolytic metabolites have important roles in the modulation of fitness of MDSCs and could be potential targets for anti-MDSC strategy. Targeting MDSCs with analogs of specific glycolytic metabolites, for example, 2-phosphoglycerate or PEP may diminish the accumulation of MDSCs and reverse the immunosuppressive milieu in tumor-bearing individuals.
Project description:Radiotherapy (RT) has been used for decades as one of the main treatment modalities for cancer patients. The therapeutic effect of RT has been primarily ascribed to DNA damage leading to tumor cell death. Besides direct tumoricidal effect, RT affects antitumor responses through immune-mediated mechanism, which provides a rationale for combining RT and immunotherapy for cancer treatment. Thus far, for the combined treatment with RT, numerous studies have focused on the immune checkpoint inhibitors and have shown promising results. However, treatment resistance is still common, and one of the main resistance mechanisms is thought to be due to the immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment where myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) play a crucial role. MDSCs are immature myeloid cells with a strong immunosuppressive activity. MDSC frequency is correlated with tumor progression, recurrence, negative clinical outcome, and reduced efficacy of immunotherapy. Therefore, increasing efforts to target MDSCs have been made to overcome the resistance in cancer treatments. In this review, we focus on the role of MDSCs in RT and highlight growing evidence for targeting MDSCs in combination with RT to improve cancer treatment.
Project description:Fas ligand expression in certain tumors has been proposed to contribute to immunosuppression and poor prognosis. However, immunotherapeutic approaches may elicit the Fas-mediated elimination of immunosuppressive regulatory T cells (Tregs) and myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) within tumors that represent major obstacles for cancer immunotherapy. Previously, we showed that IL-2 and agonistic CD40 Ab (?CD40) elicited synergistic antitumor responses coincident with the efficient removal of Tregs and MDSCs. We demonstrate in this study in two murine tumor models that Treg and MDSC loss within the tumor microenvironment after IL-2/?CD40 occurs through a Fas-dependent cell death pathway. Among tumor-infiltrating leukocytes, CD8(+) T cells, neutrophils, and immature myeloid cells expressed Fas ligand after treatment. Fas was expressed by tumor-associated Tregs and immature myeloid cells, including MDSCs. Tregs and MDSCs in the tumor microenvironment expressed active caspases after IL-2/?CD40 therapy and, in contrast with effector T cells, Tregs significantly downregulated Bcl-2 expression. In contrast, Tregs and MDSCs proliferated and expanded in the spleen after treatment. Adoptive transfer of Fas-deficient Tregs or MDSCs into wild-type, Treg-, or MDSC-depleted hosts resulted in the persistence of Tregs or MDSCs and the loss of antitumor efficacy in response to IL-2/?CD40. These results demonstrate the importance of Fas-mediated Treg/MDSC removal for successful antitumor immunotherapy. Our results suggest that immunotherapeutic strategies that include exploiting Treg and MDSC susceptibility to Fas-mediated apoptosis hold promise for treatment of cancer.
Project description:Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is a highly immune-suppressive tumor with a low response rate to single checkpoint blockade therapy. ETS homologous factor (EHF) is a tumor suppressor in PDAC. Here, we report a novel function of EHF in pancreatic cancer immune microenvironment editing and efficacy prediction for anti-PD1 therapy. Our findings support that the deficiency of tumoral EHF induced the accumulation of regulatory T (T reg) cells and myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) and a decrease in the number of tumor-infiltrating CD8+ T cells. Mechanistically, EHF deficiency induced the conversion and expansion of T reg cells and MDSCs through inhibiting tumor TGFβ1 and GM-CSF secretion. EHF suppressed the transcription of TGFB1 and CSF2 by directly binding to their promoters. Mice bearing EHF overexpression tumors exhibited significantly better response to anti-PD1 therapy than those with control tumors. Our findings delineate the immunosuppressive mechanism of EHF deficiency in PDAC and highlight that EHF overexpression may improve PDAC checkpoint immunotherapy.