A tumor-intrinsic PD-L1/NLRP3 inflammasome signaling pathway drives resistance to anti-PD-1 immunotherapy.
ABSTRACT: An in-depth understanding of immune escape mechanisms in cancer is likely to lead to innovative advances in immunotherapeutic strategies. However, much remains unknown regarding these mechanisms and how they impact immunotherapy resistance. Using several preclinical tumor models as well as clinical specimens, we identified a mechanism whereby CD8+ T cell activation in response to programmed cell death 1 (PD-1) blockade induced a programmed death ligand 1/NOD-, LRR-, and pyrin domain-containing protein 3 (PD-L1/NLRP3) inflammasome signaling cascade that ultimately led to the recruitment of granulocytic myeloid-derived suppressor cells (PMN-MDSCs) into tumor tissues, thereby dampening the resulting antitumor immune response. The genetic and pharmacologic inhibition of NLRP3 suppressed PMN-MDSC tumor infiltration and significantly augmented the efficacy of anti-PD-1 antibody immunotherapy. This pathway therefore represents a tumor-intrinsic mechanism of adaptive resistance to anti-PD-1 checkpoint inhibitor immunotherapy and is a promising target for future translational research.
Project description:Signaling through the immune checkpoint programmed cell death protein-1 (PD-1) enables tumor progression by dampening antitumor immune responses. Therapeutic blockade of the signaling axis between PD-1 and its ligand programmed cell death ligand-1 (PD-L1) with monoclonal antibodies has shown remarkable clinical success in the treatment of cancer. However, antibodies have inherent limitations that can curtail their efficacy in this setting, including poor tissue/tumor penetrance and detrimental Fc-effector functions that deplete immune cells. To determine if PD-1:PD-L1-directed immunotherapy could be improved with smaller, nonantibody therapeutics, we used directed evolution by yeast-surface display to engineer the PD-1 ectodomain as a high-affinity (110 pM) competitive antagonist of PD-L1. In contrast to anti-PD-L1 monoclonal antibodies, high-affinity PD-1 demonstrated superior tumor penetration without inducing depletion of peripheral effector T cells. Consistent with these advantages, in syngeneic CT26 tumor models, high-affinity PD-1 was effective in treating both small (50 mm(3)) and large tumors (150 mm(3)), whereas the activity of anti-PD-L1 antibodies was completely abrogated against large tumors. Furthermore, we found that high-affinity PD-1 could be radiolabeled and applied as a PET imaging tracer to efficiently distinguish between PD-L1-positive and PD-L1-negative tumors in living mice, providing an alternative to invasive biopsy and histological analysis. These results thus highlight the favorable pharmacology of small, nonantibody therapeutics for enhanced cancer immunotherapy and immune diagnostics.
Project description:<h4>Simple Summary</h4> The tumor-intrinsic NLRP3 inflammasome is a newly recognized player in the regulation of tumor-directed immune responses and promises to provide fresh insight into how tumors respond to immunotherapy. This brief review discusses recent data describing how activation of the tumor-intrinsic NLRP3 inflammasome contributes to immune evasion and what this pathway may provide to the field of immuno-oncology both in terms of pharmacologic targets capable of boosting responses to checkpoint inhibitor therapies and predictive biomarkers indicating which tumors may be most susceptible to these new therapeutic strategies. <h4>Abstract</h4> The tumor-intrinsic NOD-like receptor family, pyrin-domain-containing-3 (NLRP3) inflammasome, plays an important role in regulating immunosuppressive myeloid cell populations in the tumor microenvironment (TME). While prior studies have described the activation of this inflammasome in driving pro-tumorigenic mechanisms, emerging data is now revealing the tumor NLRP3 inflammasome and the downstream release of heat shock protein-70 (HSP70) to regulate anti-tumor immunity and contribute to the development of adaptive resistance to anti-PD-1 immunotherapy. Genetic alterations that influence the activity of the NLRP3 signaling axis are likely to impact T cell-mediated tumor cell killing and may indicate which tumors rely on this pathway for immune escape. These studies suggest that the NLRP3 inflammasome and its secreted product, HSP70, represent promising pharmacologic targets for manipulating innate immune cell populations in the TME while enhancing responses to anti-PD-1 immunotherapy. Additional studies are needed to better understand tumor-specific regulatory mechanisms of NLRP3 to enable the development of tumor-selective pharmacologic strategies capable of augmenting responses to checkpoint inhibitor immunotherapy while minimizing unwanted off-target effects. The execution of upcoming clinical trials investigating this strategy to overcome anti-PD-1 resistance promises to provide novel insight into the role of this pathway in immuno-oncology.
Project description:Glioblastoma (GBM) remains an aggressive brain tumor with a high rate of mortality. Immune checkpoint (IC) molecules are expressed on tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) and promote T cell exhaustion upon binding to IC ligands expressed by the tumor cells. Interfering with IC pathways with immunotherapy has promoted reactivation of anti-tumor immunity and led to success in several malignancies. However, IC inhibitors have achieved limited success in GBM patients, suggesting that other checkpoint molecules may be involved with suppressing TIL responses. Numerous IC pathways have been described, with current testing of inhibitors underway in multiple clinical trials. Identification of the most promising checkpoint pathways may be useful to guide the future trials for GBM. Here, we analyzed the The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) transcriptomic database and identified PD1 and TIGIT as top putative targets for GBM immunotherapy. Additionally, dual blockade of PD1 and TIGIT improved survival and augmented CD8<sup>+</sup> TIL accumulation and functions in a murine GBM model compared with either single agent alone. Furthermore, we demonstrated that this combination immunotherapy affected granulocytic/polymorphonuclear (PMN) myeloid derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) but not monocytic (Mo) MDSCs in in our murine gliomas. Importantly, we showed that suppressive myeloid cells express PD1, PD-L1, and TIGIT-ligands in human GBM tissue, and demonstrated that antigen specific T cell proliferation that is inhibited by immunosuppressive myeloid cells can be restored by TIGIT/PD1 blockade. Our data provide new insights into mechanisms of GBM αPD1/αTIGIT immunotherapy.
Project description:Programmed death-1 (PD-1) is a cell surface receptor that functions as a T cell checkpoint and plays a central role in regulating T cell exhaustion. Binding of PD-1 to its ligand, programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1), activates downstream signaling pathways and inhibits T cell activation. Moreover abnormally high PD-L1 expression on tumor cells and antigen-presenting cells in the tumor microenvironment mediates tumor immune escape, and the development of anti-PD-1/PD-L1 antibodies has recently become a hot topic in cancer immunotherapy. Here, we review the structure of PD-1 and PD-L1, the function of the PD-1/PD-L1 signaling pathway, the application of PD-1 or PD-L1 monoclonal antibodies and future directions for anti-PD-1/PD-L1 antibodies with combination therapies. Cancer immunotherapy using PD-1/PD-L1 immune checkpoint blockade may require more studies, and this approach may be curative for patients with many types of cancer in the future.
Project description:Programmed cell death protein‑1 (PD‑1)/programmed death protein ligand‑1 (PD‑L1) inhibitors for treatment of a various types of cancers have revolutionized cancer immunotherapy. However, PD‑1/PD‑L1 inhibitors are associated with a low response rate and are only effective on a small number of patients with cancer. Development of an anti‑PD‑1/PD‑L1 sensitizer for improving response rate and effectiveness of immunotherapy is a challenge. The present study reviews the synergistic effects of PD‑1/PD‑L1 inhibitor with oncolytic virus, tumor vaccine, molecular targeted drugs, immunotherapy, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, intestinal flora and traditional Chinese medicine, to provide information for development of effective combination therapies.
Project description:Programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) and its receptor programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) modulate antitumor immunity and are major targets of checkpoint blockade immunotherapy. However, clinical trials of anti-PD-L1 and anti-PD-1 antibodies in breast cancer demonstrate only modest efficacy. Furthermore, specific PD-L1 contributions in various tissue and cell compartments to antitumor immunity remain incompletely elucidated. Here we show that PD-L1 expression is markedly elevated in mature adipocytes versus preadipocytes. Adipocyte PD-L1 prevents anti-PD-L1 antibody from activating important antitumor functions of CD8<sup>+</sup> T cells <i>in vitro</i>. Adipocyte PD-L1 ablation obliterates, whereas forced preadipocyte PD-L1 expression confers, these inhibitory effects. Pharmacologic inhibition of adipogenesis selectively reduces PD-L1 expression in mouse adipose tissue and enhances the antitumor efficacy of anti-PD-L1 or anti-PD-1 antibodies in syngeneic mammary tumor models. Our findings provide a previously unappreciated approach to bolster anticancer immunotherapy efficacy and suggest a mechanism for the role of adipose tissue in breast cancer progression.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Programmed death-1 (PD-1) and programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) blockade immunotherapies have changed the landscape of cancer therapy. However, the main limitation of these therapies is the lack of definitively predictive biomarkers to predict treatment response. Whether PD-L1 expression on circulating tumor cells (CTCs) is associated with the clinical outcomes of immunotherapy remains to be extensively investigated.<h4>Materials and methods</h4>One hundred fifty-five patients with different advanced cancers were enrolled in this study and treated with anti-PD-1/PD-L1 monoclonal antibodies. Using the Pep@MNPs method, CTCs were isolated and enumerated. The PD-L1 expression levels were analyzed by an immunofluorescence assay for semiquantitative assessment with four categories (negative, low, medium, and high).<h4>Results</h4>Prior to immunotherapy, 81.93% (127/155) of patients had PD-L1-positive CTCs, and 71.61% (111/155) had at least one PD-L1-high CTC. The group with PD-L1-positive CTCs had a higher disease control rate (DCR) (71.56%, 91/127), with a DCR of only 39.29% (11/28) for the remaining individuals (p = .001). The objective response rate and DCR in PD-L1-high patients were higher than those in the other patients (32.44% vs. 13.64%, p = .018 and 75.68% vs. 40.91%, p < .0001, respectively). The reduction in the counts and ratios of PD-L1-positive CTCs and PD-L1-high CTCs reflected a beneficial response to PD-1/PD-L1 inhibitors. Furthermore, patients with PD-L1-high CTCs had significantly longer progression-free survival (4.9 vs. 2.2 months, p < .0001) and overall survival (16.1 vs. 9.0 months, p = .0235) than those without PD-L1-high CTCs.<h4>Conclusion</h4>The PD-L1 level on CTCs may serve as a clinically actionable biomarker for immunotherapy, and its dynamic changes could predict the therapeutic response.<h4>Implications for practice</h4>This study was designed to investigate the role of programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) expression on circulating tumor cells in predicting and monitoring response to programmed death-1 (PD-1)/PD-L1 blockade immunotherapies in patients with advanced cancer. The results of the study showed that PD-L1-high-expression circulating tumor cells (CTCs) were both a predictive biomarker and a prognostic factor in patients with advanced cancer treated with anti-PD-1/PD-L1 monoclonal antibodies. These observations suggest that PD-L1 level on CTCs is a potential clinical biomarker for immunotherapy.
Project description:Immunotherapy strategies targeting the programmed cell death ligand 1 (PD-L1)/programmed cell death 1 (PD-1) pathway in clinical treatments have achieved remarkable success in treating multiple types of cancer. However, owing to the heterogeneity of tumors and individual immune systems, PD-L1/PD-1 blockade still shows slow response rates in controlling malignancies in many patients. Accumulating evidence has shown that an effective response to anti-PD-L1/anti-PD-1 therapy requires establishing an integrated immune cycle. Damage in any step of the immune cycle is one of the most important causes of immunotherapy failure. Impairments in the immune cycle can be restored by epigenetic modification, including reprogramming the environment of tumor-associated immunity, eliciting an immune response by increasing the presentation of tumor antigens, and by regulating T cell trafficking and reactivation. Thus, a rational combination of PD-L1/PD-1 blockade and epigenetic agents may offer great potential to retrain the immune system and to improve clinical outcomes of checkpoint blockade therapy.
Project description:Over the past 10 years, cancer immunotherapy has made significant progress in multiple cancer types and has been gradually been applied to clinical cancer care, in which the programmed cell death protein-1 (PD-1)/programmed cell death ligand 1 (PD-L1) pathway is one of the most attractive targets. Compared with traditional therapies, the emerging PD-1/PD-L1 blockade immunotherapy exhibited more satisfactory curative effects and lower toxicity for patients with advanced head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). This review analyzes the expression characteristics and clinical significance of PD-1/PD-L1 in HNSCC, the immunosuppressive roles of tumor cell and stromal cell expressing PD-1/PD-L1 in this disease, and presents the development landscape of PD-1/PD-L1 inhibitors, which may provide new curative alternatives for recurrent or metastatic HNSCC.
Project description:Immunotherapies have revolutionized the treatment of a variety of cancers. Epithelial ovarian cancer is the most lethal gynecologic malignancy, and the rate of advanced tumor progression or recurrence is as high as 80%. Current salvage strategies for patients with recurrent ovarian cancer are rarely curative. Recurrent ovarian cancer is a “cold tumor”, predominantly due to a lack of tumor antigens and an immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment. In trials testing programmed death-1 (PD-1)/programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1) blockade as a monotherapy, the response rate was only 8.0-22.2%. In this review, we illustrate the status of cold tumors in ovarian cancer and summarize the existing clinical trials investigating PD-1/PD-L1 blockade in recurrent ovarian cancer. Increasing numbers of immunotherapy combination trials have been set up to improve the response rate of EOC. The current preclinical and clinical development of immunotherapy combination therapy to convert an immune cold tumor into a hot tumor and their underlying mechanisms are also reviewed. The combination of anti-PD-1/PD-L1 with other immunomodulatory drugs or therapies, such as chemotherapy, antiangiogenic therapies, poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibitors, adoptive cell therapy, and oncolytic therapy, could be beneficial. Further efforts are merited to transfer these results to a broader clinical application.