Tumor-draining lymph nodes are pivotal in PD-1/PD-L1 checkpoint therapy.
ABSTRACT: PD-1/PD-L1 checkpoint therapy for cancer is commonly considered to act by reactivating T cells in the tumor microenvironment. Here, we present data from 2 mouse tumor models demonstrating an essential involvement of tumor-draining lymph nodes in PD-1 and PD-L1 therapeutic efficacy. Immune activation induced by checkpoint treatment was predominantly observed in the tumor-draining, but not nondraining, lymph nodes and was reflected in local accumulation of CD8+ T cells. Surgical resection of these lymph nodes, but not contralateral lymph nodes, abolished therapy-induced tumor regressions and was associated with decreased immune infiltrate in the tumor microenvironment. Moreover, inhibitor FTY720, which locks lymphocytes in lymph organs, also abrogated checkpoint therapy, suggesting that the tumor-draining lymph nodes function as sites of T cell invigoration required for checkpoint blockade therapy. Now that PD-1/PD-L1 checkpoint treatment is applied in earlier clinical stages of cancer, our preclinical data advocate for enrolling patients with their tumor-draining lymph nodes still in place, to optimally engage the antitumor immune response and thereby enhance clinical benefit.
Project description:Programmed death-1 receptor (PD-L1, B7-H1) and programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) pathway blockade is a promising therapy for treating cancer. However, the mechanistic contribution of host and tumor PD-L1 and PD-1 signaling to the therapeutic efficacy of PD-L1 and PD-1 blockade remains elusive. Here, we evaluated 3 tumor-bearing mouse models that differ in their sensitivity to PD-L1 blockade and demonstrated a loss of therapeutic efficacy of PD-L1 blockade in immunodeficient mice and in PD-L1- and PD-1-deficient mice. In contrast, neither knockout nor overexpression of PD-L1 in tumor cells had an effect on PD-L1 blockade efficacy. Human and murine studies showed high levels of functional PD-L1 expression in dendritic cells and macrophages in the tumor microenvironments and draining lymph nodes. Additionally, expression of PD-L1 on dendritic cells and macrophages in ovarian cancer and melanoma patients correlated with the efficacy of treatment with either anti-PD-1 alone or in combination with anti-CTLA-4. Thus, PD-L1-expressing dendritic cells and macrophages may mechanistically shape and therapeutically predict clinical efficacy of PD-L1/PD-1 blockade.
Project description:Large numbers of melanoma lesions develop resistance to targeted inhibition of mutant BRAF or fail to respond to checkpoint blockade. We explored whether modulation of intratumoral antigen-presenting cells (APCs) could increase responses to these therapies. Using mouse melanoma models, we found that CD103(+) dendritic cells (DCs) were the only APCs transporting intact antigens to the lymph nodes and priming tumor-specific CD8(+) T cells. CD103(+) DCs were required to promote anti-tumoral effects upon blockade of the checkpoint ligand PD-L1; however, PD-L1 inhibition only led to partial responses. Systemic administration of the growth factor FLT3L followed by intratumoral poly I:C injections expanded and activated CD103(+) DC progenitors in the tumor, enhancing responses to BRAF and PD-L1 blockade and protecting mice from tumor rechallenge. Thus, the paucity of activated CD103(+) DCs in tumors limits checkpoint-blockade efficacy and combined FLT3L and poly I:C therapy can enhance tumor responses to checkpoint and BRAF blockade.
Project description:Checkpoint-blocking antibodies like those targeting the PD-1/PD-L1 pathway have revolutionized oncology. We developed radiotracers based on therapeutic checkpoint-blocking antibodies permitting sensitive and high-resolution PET imaging of both PD-1 and PD-L1 in immunocompetent mice. ImmunoPET of naive mice revealed similar overall expression patterns for PD-1 and PD-L1 in secondary lymphoid organs (spleen and lymph nodes). Interestingly, PD-L1 was also detected in brown adipose tissue (BAT), confirming the notion that BAT is immunologically relevant. Under pathophysiological conditions, strong expression of the receptor/ligand pair was also found in non-lymphoid tissues. Both were specifically detected in malignant tumors. PD-1 was readily detected after combined immunoradiotherapy causing massive tumor infiltration by PD-1+ lymphocytes. PD-L1 tracer uptake was reduced in PD-L1 knockout tumors. Moreover, monitoring the expression changes of PD-L1 in response to its main inducer, the effector T cell cytokine IFN-?, revealed robust upregulation in the lung. This suggests that T cell responses in the lung, a vital organ continuously exposed to a variety of antigens, are strongly restrained by the PD-1 checkpoint. In turn, this could explain the association of PD-1 checkpoint inhibition with potentially fatal immune-mediated pneumonitis and partially also its efficacy in lung cancer.
Project description:Research on immune checkpoint blockade therapy has made great progress in cancer immunotherapy, but the number of patients who benefit from this therapy remains limited. In this study, we examined the effects of monotherapy with systemic low-dose resiquimod, a synthesized TLR7 agonist, and examined its combined effects with PD-L1 blockade in two PD-L1 blockade-resistant tumor models (SCCVII and Colon 26). Resiquimod monotherapy in SCCVII tumors, representing impaired CD8+ T cell function and accelerated regulatory T cells (Tregs) within the tumors, efficiently reduced tumor growth with more recruitment of CD8+ T cells and a reduction of Treg. The results of resiquimod monotherapy in Colon 26, representing impaired Treg recruitment, were inferior to that in SCCVII. Combined resiquimod treatment with PD-L1 blockade exerted clear additional effects, as it was associated with reduced tumor size, attenuation of Tregs, and an increased ratio of CD8+ T cells/Tregs in both tumors. Systemic administration of low-dose resiquimod induced a transient and rapid activation of plasmacytoid and conventional dendritic cells, resulting in enhanced priming of T cells in regional lymph nodes. Experiments with more limited doses of resiquimod that did not yield beneficial effects after single treatment, showed additional effects to PD-L1 blockade and comparable antitumor effects when the frequency of anti-PD-L1 therapy was decreased. Our results suggest that systemic administration of low-dose resiquimod is useful as a companion drug to PD-1/PD-L1 blockade therapy.
Project description:Treatment with programmed cell death receptor (PD-1) and programmed cell death ligand 1 (PD-L1) inhibitors is a promising strategy to lift tumour-induced immune response suppression. However, the current systemic treatment often causes autoimmune side effects. In more than 50% of squamous cell cervical cancer, PD-L1 expression is detected. Moreover, we observed high and interrelated rates of PD-L1 positive macrophages and regulatory T cells in metastatic lymph nodes of cervical cancer patients. As cervical cancer in general initially metastasizes to regional lymph nodes, local administration of durvalumab (a PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitor) at an early stage will deliver these antibodies exactly where they are needed, facilitating immune protection. This may result in a clinical benefit while reducing undesirable side effects.DURVIT is a non-randomized, single-arm, open-label, phase I study. Three escalating dose levels of intratumourally (i.t.) injected durvalumab will be tested, i.e. 5, 10 and 20 mg (three patients per dose level, with an additional three at the highest tolerated dose). The primary endpoint of this phase-I study is safety. Immune monitoring will consist of flow cytometric, immunohistochemical and functional T cell reactivity testing. The first patient has been included in this trial in November 2017.Evidence of safety and biological efficacy of this locally administered checkpoint blockade may expand adjuvant therapy options for cervical cancer patients. Early metastatic spread of cervical cancer cells may thus be controlled in the draining lymph node basin, and beyond, and hopefully delay or even prevent the onset of disease recurrence.NTR6119 , 1-nov-2016.
Project description:Cancer immunotherapy can be augmented with toll-like receptor agonist (TLRa) adjuvants, which interact with immune cells to elicit potent immune activation. Despite their potential, use of many TLRa compounds has been limited clinically due to their extreme potency and lack of pharmacokinetic control, causing systemic toxicity from unregulated systemic cytokine release. Herein, we overcome these shortcomings by generating poly(ethylene glycol)-poly(lactic acid) (PEG-PLA) nanoparticles (NPs) presenting potent TLR7/8a moieties on their surface. The NP platform allows precise control of TLR7/8a valency and resulting surface presentation through self-assembly using nanoprecipitation. We hypothesize that the pharmacokinetic profile of the NPs minimizes systemic toxicity, localizing TLR7/8a presentation to the tumor bed and tumor-draining lymph nodes. In conjunction with antiprogrammed death-ligand 1 (anti-PD-L1) checkpoint blockade, peritumoral injection of TLR7/8a NPs slows tumor growth, extends survival, and decreases systemic toxicity in comparison to the free TLR7/8a in a murine colon adenocarcinoma model. These NPs constitute a modular platform for controlling pharmacokinetics of immunostimulatory molecules, resulting in increased potency and decreased toxicity.
Project description:Remarkable efficacy of immune checkpoint inhibition has been reported for several types of solid tumors and early studies in gastric adenocarcinoma are promising. A detailed knowledge about the natural biology of immune checkpoints in gastric adenocarcinoma is essential for clinical and translational evaluation of these drugs. This study is a comprehensive analysis of cytotoxic T lymphocyte associated molecule 4 (CTLA-4) and programmed death 1 ligand 1 (PD-L1) expression in gastric adenocarcinoma. PD-L1 and CTLA-4 were stained on tumor sections of 127 Caucasian patients with gastric adenocarcinoma by immunohistochemistry (IHC) and somatic mutation profiling was performed using targeted next-generation sequencing. Expression of PD-L1 and CTLA-4 on lymphocytes in tumor sections, tumor-draining lymph nodes (TDLN) and peripheral blood were studied by flow-cytometry and immune-fluorescence microscopy in an additional cohort. PD-L1 and CTLA-4 were expressed in 44.9% (57/127) and 86.6% (110/127) of the analyzed gastric adenocarcinoma samples, respectively. Positive tumor cell staining for PD-L1 or CTLA-4 was associated with inferior overall survival. Somatic mutational analysis did not reveal a correlation to expression of PD-L1 or CTLA-4 on tumor cells. Expression of PD-1 (52.2%), PD-L1 (42.2%) and CTLA-4 (1.6%) on tumor infiltrating T cells was significantly elevated compared to peripheral blood. Of note, PD-1 and PD-L1 were expressed far higher by tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes than CTLA-4. In conclusion, specific immune checkpoint-inhibitors should be evaluated in this disease and the combination with molecular targeted therapies might be of benefit. An extensive immune monitoring should accompany these studies to better understand their mode of action in the tumor microenvironment.
Project description:Recombinant human IL2 is being considered as a combination partner for immune checkpoint inhibitors in cancer therapy, but the product only has a narrow therapeutic window. Therefore, we used F8-IL2, an antibody-IL2 fusion protein capable of selective localization to the tumor site, in combination with antibodies against murine CTLA-4, PD-1, and PD-L1. In immunocompetent mice bearing CT26 tumors, the combination of F8-IL2 with CTLA-4 blockade was efficacious, leading to increased progression-free survival and protective immunity against subsequent tumor rechallenges. The combination with anti-PD-1 induced substantial tumor growth retardation, but tumor clearance was rare, whereas the combination with anti-PD-L1 exhibited the lowest activity. A detailed high-parametric single-cell analysis of the tumor leukocyte composition revealed that F8-IL2 had a strong impact on NK-cell activity without collateral immune activation in the systemic immune compartment, whereas CTLA-4 blockade led to significant changes in the T-cell compartment. Leukocyte depletion studies revealed that CD8+ T and NK cells were the main drivers of the therapeutic activity. We extended the experimental observations to a second model, treating MC38 tumor-bearing mice with F8-IL2 and/or CTLA-4 blockade. Only the combination treatment displayed potent anticancer activity, characterized by an increase in cytolytic CD8+ T and NK cells in tumors and draining lymph nodes. A decrease in the regulatory T cell frequency, within the tumors, was also observed. The results provide a rationale for the combined use of engineered IL2 therapeutics with immune checkpoint inhibitors for cancer therapy.
Project description:Background:The Dako PD-L1 immunohistochemistry (IHC) 22C3 pharmDx and the Dako 28-8 IHC pharmDx assays were approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, as a companion diagnostic test for pembrolizumab (Keytruda, Merk, Kenilworth, NJ, USA) and a complementary diagnostic test for nivolumab (Opdivo, Bristol Meyer Squibb, New York, NY, USA) in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), respectively. Increased PD-L1 expression levels can be associated with greater therapeutic efficacy of pembrolizumab relative to other anti-PD-1 agents. However, in treatment decision making, little is known about which tissue (primary or metastatic lesion) should be stained by 22C3 antibody. We investigated the relationship between PD-L1 expression in primary tumors and paired metastatic lymph nodes using the 22C3 assay, and evaluated the concordance between the 22C3 and 28-8 assays. Methods:PD-L1 expression was evaluated in cells from primary tumors and paired metastatic lymph nodes using the 22C3 and 28-8 IHC assays. Total 35 patients with primary tumor and paired metastatic lymph node were enrolled into this study, and all samples were surgically resected, formalin-fixed, and paraffin-embedded NSCLC tissues. Tumor cells exhibiting complete or partial membrane staining, were considered as PD-L1 positive. On the basis of tumor proportion score (TPS), all samples were classified as no expression (TPS: <1%), low expression (TPS: 1-49%), or high expression (TPS: ?50%). Results:TPS distribution was markedly different between primary tumors and paired metastatic lymph nodes. In 22C3 IHC assay, TPS similar to that of metastatic lymph nodes was demonstrated in 10 primary tumors, and concordance rate between them was 28.6%. Concurrently, in 28-8 IHC assay, 11 primary tumors had TPS similar to that of metastatic lymph nodes, with a concordance rate of 31.4%. Conclusions:TPS concordance rates (for both 22C3 and 28-8 antibodies) between primary tumors and paired lymph nodes were low. Inter-tumor heterogeneity of PD-L1 expression is an important issue for clinical oncologists during treatment planning.
Project description:Programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) expression on tumor cells is essential for T cell impairment, and PD-L1 blockade therapy has shown unprecedented durable responses in several clinical studies. Although higher expression of PD-L1 on tumor cells is associated with a better immune response after Ab blockade, some PD-L1-negative patients also respond to this therapy. In the current study, we explored whether PD-L1 on tumor or host cells was essential for anti-PD-L1-mediated therapy in 2 different murine tumor models. Using real-time imaging in whole tumor tissues, we found that anti-PD-L1 Ab accumulates in tumor tissues, regardless of the status of PD-L1 expression on tumor cells. We further observed that, while PD-L1 on tumor cells was largely dispensable for the response to checkpoint blockade, PD-L1 in host myeloid cells was essential for this response. Additionally, PD-L1 signaling in defined antigen-presenting cells (APCs) negatively regulated and inhibited T cell activation. PD-L1 blockade inside tumors was not sufficient to mediate regression, as limiting T cell trafficking reduced the efficacy of the blockade. Together, these findings demonstrate that PD-L1 expressed in APCs, rather than on tumor cells, plays an essential role in checkpoint blockade therapy, providing an insight into the mechanisms of this therapy.