Intratumoral delivery of an HPV vaccine elicits a broad anti-tumor immune response that translates into a potent anti-tumor effect in a preclinical murine HPV model.
ABSTRACT: Therapeutic cancer vaccines have met limited clinical success. In the setting of cancer, the immune system is either tolerized and/or has a limited tumor-specific T cell repertoire. In this study, we explore whether intratumoral (IT) vaccination with an HPV vaccine can elicit quantitative and qualitative differences in immune response as compared to intramuscular (IM) vaccination to overcome immune resistance in established tumors. We report that IT administration of an HPV-16 E7 peptide vaccine formulated with polyinosinic-polycytidylic acid [poly(I:C)] generated an enhanced antitumor effect relative to IM delivery. The elicited anti-tumor effect with IT vaccination was consistent among the vaccinated groups and across various C57BL/6 substrains. IT vaccination resulted in an increased frequency of PD-1hi TILs, which represented both vaccine-targeted and non-vaccine-targeted tumor-specific CD8+ T cells. Overall, the CD8+/Treg ratio was increased within the tumor microenvironment using IT vaccination. We also assessed transcriptional changes in several immune-related genes in the tumor microenvironment of the various treated groups, and our data suggest that IT vaccination leads to upregulation of a broad complement of immunomodulatory genes, including upregulation of interferon gamma (IFN?) and antigen presentation and processing machine (APM) components. IT vaccine delivery is superior to traditional IM vaccination routes with the potential to improve tumor immunogenicity, which has potential clinical application in the setting of accessible lesions such as head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCCs).
Project description:Two viral oncoproteins, E6 and E7, are expressed in all human papillomavirus (HPV)-infected cells, from initial infection in the genital tract to metastatic cervical cancer. Intramuscular vaccination of women with high-grade cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN2/3) twice with a naked DNA vaccine, pNGVL4a-sig/E7(detox)/HSP70, and a single boost with HPVE6/E7 recombinant vaccinia vaccine (TA-HPV) elicited systemic HPV-specific CD8 T-cell responses that could traffic to the lesion and was associated with regression in some patients (NCT00788164).Here, we examine whether alteration of this vaccination regimen by administration of TA-HPV vaccination in the cervicovaginal tract, rather than intramuscular (IM) delivery, can more effectively recruit antigen-specific T cells in an orthotopic syngeneic mouse model of HPV16(+) cervical cancer (TC-1 luc).We found that pNGVL4a-sig/E7(detox)/HSP70 vaccination followed by cervicovaginal vaccination with TA-HPV increased accumulation of total and E7-specific CD8(+) T cells in the cervicovaginal tract and better controlled E7-expressing cervicovaginal TC-1 luc tumor than IM administration of TA-HPV. Furthermore, the E7-specific CD8(+) T cells in the cervicovaginal tract generated through the cervicovaginal route of vaccination expressed the ?4?7 integrin and CCR9, which are necessary for the homing of the E7-specific CD8(+) T cells to the cervicovaginal tract. Finally, we show that cervicovaginal vaccination with TA-HPV can induce potent local HPV-16 E7 antigen-specific CD8(+) T-cell immune responses regardless of whether an HPV DNA vaccine priming vaccination was administered IM or within the cervicovaginal tract.Our results support future clinical translation using cervicovaginal TA-HPV vaccination.
Project description:Human papillomavirus (HPV) infections are particularly problematic for HIV + and solid organ transplant patients with compromised CD4+ T cell-dependent immunity as they produce more severe and progressive disease compared to healthy individuals. There are no specific treatments for chronic HPV infection, resulting in an urgent unmet need for a modality that is safe and effective for both immunocompromised and otherwise normal patients with recalcitrant disease. DNA vaccination is attractive because it avoids the risks of administration of live vectors to immunocompromised patients, and can induce potent HPV-specific cytotoxic T cell responses. We have developed a DNA vaccine (pNGVL4a-hCRTE6E7L2) encoding calreticulin (CRT) fused to E6, E7 and L2 proteins of HPV-16, the genotype associated with approximately 90% vaginal, vulvar, anal, penile and oropharyngeal HPV-associated cancers and the majority of cervical cancers. Administration of the DNA vaccine by intramuscular (IM) injection followed by electroporation induced significantly greater HPV-specific immune responses compared to IM injection alone or mixed with alum. Furthermore, pNGVL4a-hCRTE6E7L2 DNA vaccination via electroporation of mice carrying an intravaginal HPV-16 E6/E7-expressing syngeneic tumor demonstrated more potent therapeutic effects than IM vaccination alone. Of note, administration of the DNA vaccine by IM injection followed by electroporation elicited potent E6 and E7-specific CD8+ T cell responses and antitumor effects despite CD4+ T cell-depletion, although no antibody response was detected. While CD4+ T cell-depletion did reduce the E6 and E7-specific CD8+ T cell response, it remained sufficient to prevent subcutaneous tumor growth and to eliminate circulating tumor cells in a model of metastatic HPV-16+ cancer. Thus, the antibody response was CD4-dependent, whereas CD4+ T cell help enhanced the E6/E7-specific CD8+ T cell immunity, but was not required. Taken together, our data suggest that pNGVL4a-hCRTE6E7L2 DNA vaccination via electroporation warrants testing in otherwise healthy patients and those with compromised CD4+ T cell immunity to treat HPV-16-associated anogenital disease and cancer.
Project description:Cancers induced by human papillomaviruses (HPV) should be responsive to immunotherapy by virtue of expressing the immunogenic oncoproteins E6/E7. However, advanced forms of cervical cancer, driven by HPV, are poorly responsive to immune response-enhancing treatments involving therapeutic vaccination against these viral neoantigens. Leveraging a transgenic mouse model of HPV-derived cancers, K14HPV16/H2b, we demonstrated that a potent nanoparticle-based E7 vaccine, but not a conventional "liquid" vaccine, induced E7 tumor antigen-specific CD8+ T cells in cervical tumor-bearing mice. Vaccination alone or in combination with anti-PD-1/anti-CTLA4 did not elicit tumor regression nor increase CD8+ T cells in the tumor microenvironment (TME), suggesting the presence of immune-suppressive barriers. Patients with cervical cancer have poor dendritic cell functions, have weak cytotoxic lymphocyte responses, and demonstrate an accumulation of myeloid cells in the periphery. Here, we illustrated that myeloid cells in K14HPV16/H2b mice possess potent immunosuppressive activity toward antigen-presenting cells and CD8+ T cells, dampening antitumor immunity. These immune-inhibitory effects inhibited synergistic effects of combining our oncoprotein vaccine with immune checkpoint-blocking antibodies. Our data highlighted a link between HPV-induced cancers, systemic amplification of myeloid cells, and the detrimental effects of myeloid cells on CD8+ T-cell activation and recruitment into the TME. These results established immunosuppressive myeloid cells in lymphoid organs as an HPV+ cancer-induced means of circumventing tumor immunity that will require targeted abrogation to enable the induction of efficacious antitumor immune responses.
Project description:Abstract Antigen-specific immunotherapy and vascular disrupting agents, such as 5,6-dimethylxanthenone-4-acetic acid (DMXAA), have emerged as attractive approaches for the treatment of cancers. In the current study, we tested the combination of DMXAA treatment with therapeutic human papillomavirus type 16 (HPV-16) E7 peptide-based vaccination for their ability to generate E7-specific CD8+ T-cell immune responses, as well as their ability to control E7-expressing tumors in a subcutaneous and a cervicovaginal tumor model. We found that the combination of DMXAA treatment with E7 long peptide (amino acids 43-62) vaccination mixed with polyriboinosinic:polyribocytidylic generated significantly stronger E7-specific CD8+ T-cell immune responses and antitumor effects compared with treatment with DMXAA alone or HPV peptide vaccination alone in the subcutaneous model. Additionally, we found that the DMXAA-mediated enhancement of E7-specific CD8+ T-cell immune responses generated by the therapeutic HPV peptide-based vaccine was dependent on the timing of administration of DMXAA. Treatment with DMXAA in tumor-bearing mice was also shown to lead to increased dendritic cell maturation and increased production of inflammatory cytokines in the tumor. Furthermore, we observed that the combination of DMXAA with HPV-16 E7 peptide vaccination generated a significant enhancement in the antitumor effects in the cervicovaginal TC-1 tumor growth model, which closely resembles the tumor microenvironment of cervical cancer. Taken together, our data demonstrated that administration of the vascular disrupting agent, DMXAA, enhances therapeutic HPV vaccine-induced cytotoxic T-lymphocyte responses and antitumor effects against E7-expressing tumors in two different locations. Our study has significant implications for future clinical translation.
Project description:Cervical cancer is one of the most common cancers in women worldwide. Persistent infection with human papillomavirus (HPV) is considered to be the etiological factor for cervical cancer. Therefore, an effective vaccine against HPV infections may lead to the control of cervical cancer. An ideal HPV vaccine should aim to generate both humoral immune response to prevent new infections as well as cell-mediated immunity to eliminate established infection or HPV-related disease. In the current study, we have generated a potential preventive and therapeutic HPV DNA vaccine using human calreticulin (CRT) linked to HPV16 early proteins, E6 and E7 and the late protein L2 (hCRTE6E7L2). We found that vaccination with hCRTE6E7L2 DNA vaccine induced a potent E6/E7-specific CD8+ T cell immune response, resulting in a significant therapeutic effect against E6/E7 expressing tumor cells. In addition, vaccination with hCRTE6E7L2 DNA generated significant L2-specific neutralizing antibody responses, protecting against pseudovirion infection. Thus, the hCRTE6E7L2 DNA vaccines are capable of generating potent preventive and therapeutic effects in vaccinated mice. Our data has significant clinical implications.
Project description:Although therapeutic HPV vaccines are able to elicit systemic HPV-specific immunity, clinical responses have not always correlated with levels of vaccine-induced CD8(+) T cells in human clinical trials. This observed discrepancy may be attributable to an immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment in which the CD8(+) T cells are recruited. Regulatory T cells (Tregs) are cells that can dampen cytotoxic CD8(+) T-cell function. Cyclophosphamide (CTX) is a systemic chemotherapeutic agent, which can eradicate immune cells, including inhibitory Tregs. The optimal dose and schedule of CTX administration in combination with immunotherapy to eliminate the Treg population without adversely affecting vaccine-induced T-cell responses is unknown. Therefore, we investigated various dosing and administration schedules of CTX in combination with a therapeutic HPV vaccine in a preclinical tumor model. HPV tumor-bearing mice received either a single preconditioning dose or a daily dose of CTX in combination with the pNGVL4a-CRT/E7(detox) DNA vaccine. Both single and daily dosing of CTX in combination with vaccine had a synergistic antitumor effect as compared to monotherapy alone. The potent antitumor responses were attributed to the reduction in Treg frequency and increased infiltration of HPV16 E7-specific CD8(+) T cells, which led to higher ratios of CD8(+)/Treg and CD8(+)/CD11b(+)Gr-1(+) myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs). There was an observed trend toward decreased vaccine-induced CD8(+) T-cell frequency with daily dosing of CTX. We recommend a single, preconditioning dose of CTX prior to vaccination due to its efficacy, ease of administration, and reduced cumulative adverse effect on vaccine-induced T cells.
Project description:DNA vaccines are an attractive approach to eliciting antigen-specific immunity. Intracellular targeting of tumor antigens through its linkage to immunostimulatory molecules such as calreticulin (CRT) can improve antigen processing and presentation through the MHC class I pathway and increase cytotoxic CD8+ T cell production. However, even with these enhancements, the efficacy of such immunotherapeutic strategies is dependent on the identification of an effective route and method of DNA administration. Electroporation and gene gun-mediated particle delivery are leading methods of DNA vaccine delivery that can generate protective and therapeutic levels of immune responses in experimental models. In this study, we perform a head-to-head comparison of three methods of vaccination--conventional intramuscular injection, electroporation-mediated intramuscular delivery, and epidermal gene gun-mediated particle delivery--in the ability to generate antigen-specific cytotoxic CD8+ T cell responses as well as anti-tumor immune responses against an HPV-16 E7 expressing tumor cell line using the pNGVL4a-CRT/E7(detox) DNA vaccine. Vaccination via electroporation generated the highest number of E7-specific cytotoxic CD8+ T cells, which correlated to improved outcomes in the treatment of growing tumors. In addition, we demonstrate that electroporation results in significantly higher levels of circulating protein compared to gene gun or intramuscular vaccination, which likely enhances calreticulin's role as a local tumor anti-angiogenesis agent. We conclude that electroporation is a promising method for delivery of HPV DNA vaccines and should be considered for DNA vaccine delivery in human clinical trials.
Project description:Human papillomavirus (HPV), particularly type 16, has been associated with a subset of head and neck cancers. The viral-encoded oncogenic proteins E6 and E7 represent ideal targets for immunotherapy against HPV-associated head and neck cancers. DNA vaccines have emerged as attractive approaches for immunotherapy due to its simplicity, safety and ease of preparation. Intradermal administration of DNA vaccine by means of gene gun represents an efficient method to deliver DNA directly into dendritic cells for priming antigen-specific T cells. We have previously shown that a DNA vaccine encoding an invariant chain (Ii), in which the class II-associated Ii peptide (CLIP) region has been replaced by a Pan-DR-epitope (PADRE) sequence to form Ii-PADRE, is capable of generating PADRE-specific CD4+ T cells in vaccinated mice. In the current study, we hypothesize that a DNA vaccine encoding Ii-PADRE linked to E6 (Ii-PADRE-E6) will further enhance E6-specific CD8+ T cell immune responses through PADRE-specific CD4+ T-helper cells. We found that mice vaccinated with Ii-PADRE-E6 DNA generated comparable levels of PADRE-specific CD4+ T-cell immune responses, as well as significantly stronger E6-specific CD8+ T-cell immune responses and antitumor effects against the lethal challenge of E6-expressing tumor compared with mice vaccinated with Ii-E6 DNA. Taken together, our data indicate that vaccination with Ii-E6 DNA with PADRE replacing the CLIP region is capable of enhancing the E6-specific CD8+ T-cell immune response generated by the Ii-E6 DNA. Thus, Ii-PADRE-E6 represents a novel DNA vaccine for the treatment of HPV-associated head and neck cancer and other HPV-associated malignancies.