Order of administration of combination cytokine therapies can decouple toxicity from efficacy in syngeneic mouse tumor models.
ABSTRACT: In combination cancer immunotherapies, consideration should be given to designing treatment schedules that harmonize with the immune system's natural timing. An efficacious temporally programmed combination therapy of extended half-life interleukin 2 (eIL2), tumor targeting antibody, and interferon (IFN) ? was recently reported; however, tumor-ablative efficacy was associated with significant toxicity. In the current work, altering the order and timing of the three agents is shown to decouple toxicity from efficacy. Delaying the administration of eIL2 to be concurrent with or after IFN? eliminates toxicity without affecting efficacy in multiple syngeneic tumor models and mouse strains. The toxicity resulting from eIL2 administration before IFN? is dependent on multiple systemic inflammatory cytokines including IL6, IL10, IFN?, and tumor necrosis factor ?. Natural killer (NK) cells are the main cellular contributor to toxicity, but are not essential for tumor control in this system. When pre-conditioned with eIL2, splenic NK cells became hyper-activated and upregulate IFN? signaling proteins that cause an excessive, toxic response to subsequent IFN? exposure. This work illustrates an example where accounting for the temporal dynamics of the immune system in combination therapy treatment schedule can favorably decouple efficacy and toxicity.
Project description:Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the most prevalent type of liver cancer. No significant improvement has been reported with currently available systemic therapies. IFN-? has been tested in both clinic and animal models and only moderate benefits have been observed. In animal models, similar modest antitumor efficacy has also been reported for IFN-?, a new type of IFN that acts through its own receptor complex. In the present study, the antitumor efficacy of the combination of IFN-? and IFN-? was tested in the BNL mouse hepatoma model. This study was accomplished by using either engineered tumor cells (IFN-?/IFN-? gene therapy) or by directly injecting tumor-bearing mice with IFN-?/IFN-?. Both approaches demonstrated that IFN-?/IFN-? combination therapy was more efficacious than IFN monotherapy based on either IFN-? or IFN-?. In complement to tumor surgery, IFN-?/IFN-? combination induced complete tumor remission. Highest antitumor efficacy has been obtained following local administration of IFN-?/IFN-? combination at the tumor site that was associated with strong NK cells tumor infiltration. This supports the use of IFN-?/IFN-? combination as a new cancer immunotherapy for stimulating antitumor response after cancer surgery.
Project description:Anti-PD-1/anti-PD-L1 therapies have shown success in cancer treatment but responses are limited to ~ 15% of patients with lymphocyte infiltrated, PD-L1 positive tumors. Hence, strategies that increase PD-L1 expression and tumor infiltration should make more patients eligible for PD-1/PD-L1 blockade therapy, thus improving overall outcomes. PD-L1 expression on tumors is induced by IFN?, a cytokine secreted by NK cells. Therefore, we tested if PM21-particle expanded NK cells (PM21-NK cells) induced expression of PD-L1 on tumors and if anti-PD-L1 treatment enhanced NK cell anti-tumor efficacy in an ovarian cancer model. Studies here showed that PM21-NK cells secrete high amounts of IFN? and that adoptively transferred PM21-NK cells induce PD-L1 expression on SKOV-3 cells in vivo. The induction of PD-L1 expression on SKOV-3 cells coincided with the presence of regulatory T cells (Tregs) in the abdominal cavity and within tumors. In in vitro experiments, anti-PD-L1 treatment had no direct effect on cytotoxicity or cytokine secretion by predominantly PD-1 negative PM21-NK cells in response to PD-L1+ targets. However, significant improvement of NK cell anti-tumor efficacy was observed in vivo when combined with anti-PD-L1. PD-L1 blockade also resulted in increased in vivo NK cell persistence and retention of their cytotoxic phenotype. These results support the use of anti-PD-L1 in combination with NK cell therapy regardless of initial tumor PD-L1 status and indicate that NK cell therapy would likely augment the applicability of anti-PD-L1 treatment.
Project description:Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) occurs most commonly secondary to cirrhosis due to chronic hepatitis C or B virus (HCV/HBV) infections. Type I interferon (IFN-alpha) treatment of chronic HCV/HBV infections reduces the incidence of HCC in cirrhotic patients. However, IFN-alpha toxicity limits its tolerability and efficacy highlighting a need for better therapeutic treatments. A recently discovered type III IFN (IFN-lambda) has been shown to possess antiviral properties against HCV and HBV in vitro. In phase I clinical trials, IFN-lambda treatment did not cause significant adverse reactions. Using a gene therapy approach, we compared the antitumor properties of IFN-alpha and IFN-lambda in a transplantable hepatoma model of HCC. BALB/c mice were inoculated with syngeneic BNL hepatoma cells, or BNL cells expressing IFN-lambda (BNL.IFN-lambda cells) or IFN-alpha (BNL.IFN-alpha cells). Despite the lack of antiproliferative activity of IFNs on BNL cells, both BNL.IFN-lambda and BNL.IFN-alpha cells displayed retarded growth kinetics in vivo. Depletion of NK cells from splenocytes inhibited splenocyte-mediated cytotoxicity, demonstrating that NK cells play a role in IFN-induced antitumor responses. However, isolated NK cells did not respond directly to IFN-lambda. There was also a marked NK cell infiltration in IFN-lambda producing tumors. In addition, IFN-lambda and, to a lesser extent, IFN-alpha enhanced immunocytotoxicity of splenocytes primed with irradiated BNL cells. Splenocyte cytotoxicity against BNL cells was dependent on IL-12 and IFN-gamma, and mediated by dendritic cells. In contrast to NK cells, isolated from spleen CD11c+ and mPDCA+ dendritic cells responded directly to IFN-lambda. The antitumor activities of IFN-lambda against hepatoma, in combination with HCV and HBV antiviral activities warrant further investigation into the clinical use of IFN-lambda to prevent HCC in HCV/HBV-infected cirrhotic patients, as well as to treat liver cancer.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The anti-tumor immunity of natural killer (NK) cells can be paralyzed by the CD73-induced generation of immunosuppressive adenosine from precursor ATP within the hypoxic microenvironment of solid tumors. In an effort to redirect purinergic immunosuppression of NK cell anti-tumor function, we showed, for the first time, that immunometabolic combination treatment with NKG2D-engineered CAR-NK cells alongside blockade of CD73 ectonucleotidase activity can result in significant anti-tumor responses in vivo. METHODS:NK cells were engineered non-virally with NKG2D.CAR-presenting vectors based on the piggyBac transposon system with DAP10 and CD3ζ co-signaling domains. The anti-tumor immunity of NKG2D.CAR.NK cells in combination with CD73 targeting was evaluated against multiple solid tumor targets in vitro and humanized mouse xenografts in immunodeficient tumor-bearing mice in vivo. Intratumoral migration was evaluated via immunohistochemical staining, while degranulation capacity and IFN-γ production of NK cells were measured in response to solid tumor targets. RESULTS:Our results showed that CD73 blockade can mediate effective purinergic reprogramming and enhance anti-tumor cytotoxicity both in vitro and in vivo by enhancing the killing ability of CAR-engineered NK cells against CD73+ solid tumor targets via mechanisms that might imply alleviation from adenosinergic immunometabolic suppression. CD73 blockade improved the intratumoral homing of CD56+ CAR-NK cells in vivo. These engineered NK cells showed synergistic therapeutic efficacy in combination with CD73 targeting against CD73+ human lung cancer xenograft models. Interestingly, CD73 blockade could inhibit tumor growth in vivo independently of adaptive immune cells, innate immunity or NK cell-mediated ADCC. CONCLUSIONS:Immunotherapies targeting the adenosinergic signaling cascade, which act by neutralizing CD73 ectoenzymatic activity, had thus far not been evaluated in humanized tumor models, nor had the implication of innate immunity been investigated. Taken together, our pre-clinical efficacy data demonstrate, for the first time, the potential of targeting CD73 to modulate purinergic signaling and enhance adoptive NK cell immunotherapy via mechanisms that could implicate autocrine tumor control as well as by mediating adenosinergic signaling.
Project description:PURPOSE:Natural killer (NK)-cell-based immunotherapy may overcome obstacles to effective T-cell-based immunotherapy such as the presence of genomic alterations in IFN response genes and antigen presentation machinery. All immunotherapy approaches may be abrogated by the presence of an immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment present in many solid tumor types, including head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). Here, we studied the role of myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC) in suppressing NK-cell function in HNSCC. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN:The ability of peripheral and tumor-infiltrating MDSC from mice bearing murine oral cancer 2 (MOC2) non-T-cell-inflamed tumors and from patients with HNSCC to suppress NK-cell function was studied with real-time impedance and ELISpot assays. The therapeutic efficacy of SX-682, a small-molecule inhibitor of CXCR1 and CXCR2, was assessed in combination with adoptively transferred NK cells. RESULTS:Mice bearing MOC2 tumors pathologically accumulate peripheral CXCR2+ neutrophilic-MDSC (PMN-MDSC) that traffic into tumors and suppress NK-cell function through TGF? and production of H2O2. Inhibition of MDSC trafficking with orally bioavailable SX-682 significantly abrogated tumor MDSC accumulation and enhanced the tumor infiltration, activation, and therapeutic efficacy of adoptively transferred murine NK cells. Patients with HNSCC harbor significant levels of circulating and tumor-infiltrating CXCR1/2+ CD15+ PMN-MDSC and CD14+ monocytic-MDSC. Tumor MDSC exhibited greater immunosuppression than those in circulation. HNSCC tumor MDSC immunosuppression was mediated by multiple, independent, cell-specific mechanisms including TGF? and nitric oxide. CONCLUSIONS:The clinical study of CXCR1/2 inhibitors in combination with adoptively transferred NK cells is warranted.
Project description:Although ovarian cancer has a low incidence rate, it remains the most deadly gynecologic malignancy. Previous work has demonstrated that the DNMTi 5-Azacytidine (5AZA-C) activates type I interferon signaling to increase IFN?+ T cells and natural killer (NK) cells and reduce the percentage of macrophages in the tumor microenvironment. To improve the efficacy of epigenetic therapy, we hypothesized that the addition of ?-difluoromethylornithine (DFMO), an ornithine decarboxylase inhibitor, may further decrease immunosuppressive cell populations improving outcome. We tested this hypothesis in an immunocompetent mouse model for ovarian cancer and found that in vivo, 5AZA-C and DFMO, either alone or in combination, significantly increased survival, decreased tumor burden, and caused recruitment of activated (IFN?+) CD4+ T cells, CD8+ T cells, and NK cells. The combination therapy had a striking increase in survival when compared with single-agent treatment, despite a smaller difference in recruited lymphocytes. Instead, combination therapy led to a significant decrease in immunosuppressive cells such as M2 polarized macrophages and an increase in tumor-killing M1 macrophages. In this model, depletion of macrophages with a CSF1R-blocking antibody reduced the efficacy of 5AZA-C + DFMO treatment and resulted in fewer M1 macrophages in the tumor microenvironment. These observations suggest our novel combination therapy modifies macrophage polarization in the tumor microenvironment, recruiting M1 macrophages and prolonging survival. SIGNIFICANCE: Combined epigenetic and polyamine-reducing therapy stimulates M1 macrophage polarization in the tumor microenvironment of an ovarian cancer mouse model, resulting in decreased tumor burden and prolonged survival.
Project description:Our previous reports demonstrated that the magnitude of natural killer (NK) cell-mediated cytotoxicity correlate directly with the stage and level of differentiation of tumor cells. In addition, we have shown previously that activated NK cells inhibit growth of cancer cells through induction of differentiation, resulting in the resistance of tumor cells to NK cell-mediated cytotoxicity through secreted cytokines, as well as direct NK-tumor cell contact. In this report, we show that in comparison to IL-2?+?anti-CD16mAb-treated NK cells, activation of NK cells by probiotic bacteria (sAJ2) in combination with IL-2 and anti-CD16mAb substantially decreases tumor growth and induces maturation, differentiation, and resistance of oral squamous cancer stem cells, MIA PaCa-2 stem-like/poorly differentiated pancreatic tumors, and healthy stem cells of apical papillae through increased secretion of IFN-? and TNF-?, as well as direct NK-tumor cell contact. Tumor resistance to NK cell-mediated killing induced by IL-2?+?anti-CD16mAb?+?sAJ2-treated NK cells is induced by combination of IFN-? and TNF-? since antibodies to both, and not each cytokine alone, were able to restore tumor sensitivity to NK cells. Increased surface expression of CD54, B7H1, and MHC-I on NK-differentiated tumors was mediated by IFN-? since the addition of anti-IFN-? abolished their increase and restored the ability of NK cells to trigger cytokine and chemokine release; whereas differentiated tumors inhibited cytokine release by the NK cells. Monocytes synergize with NK cells in the presence of probiotic bacteria to induce regulated differentiation of stem cells through secretion of IL-10 resulting in resistance to NK cell-mediated cytotoxicity and inhibition of cytokine release. Therefore, probiotic bacteria condition activated NK cells to provide augmented differentiation of cancer stem cells resulting in inhibition of tumor growth, and decreased inflammatory cytokine release.