LAG-3 Blockade with Relatlimab (BMS-986016) Restores Anti-Leukemic Responses in Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia.
ABSTRACT: The inclusion of monoclonal antibodies targeting immune checkpoints such PD-1/PD-L1 or CTLA-4 has revolutionized the landscape of anti-cancer therapy. However, PD-1 and CTLA-4 blockade failed to achieve clinical benefit in CLL, thus attention has been focused on emerging checkpoints in this malignancy. LAG-3 is an immune checkpoint receptor that negatively regulates T cell-mediated responses by inducing an hyporesponsive state, thus promoting tumor escape. Patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) develop a profound immune suppression that leads to lessened immunosurveillance and increased risk of developing a secondary neoplasia. In the study herein, we report the profound dysregulation of LAG-3 on leukemic cells in CLL. Likewise, natural killer (NK) and T cells showed increased LAG-3 expression, hence suggesting a role for this checkpoint in CLL-associated immunosuppression. High LAG-3 expression, as well as high levels of soluble LAG-3 (sLAG-3), correlated with adverse cytogenetics and poor outcome in patients with CLL, highlighting the clinical relevance of this immune checkpoint. Treatment of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from patients with CLL with relatlimab, a new anti-LAG-3 blocking antibody currently evaluated in numerous clinical trials, depleted leukemic cells and restored NK cell- and T cell-mediated responses. Moreover, combination of LAG-3 with the immunomodulatory drug (IMiD) lenalidomide significantly increased IL-2 production by T cells and antibody-dependent cytotoxicity (ADCC) mediated by NK cells. Altogether, these data provide new insights into the potential anti-leukemic effects of relatlimab, currently in clinical trials in CLL, and provides the rationale to further investigate its combination with IMiDs for the management of hematological malignancies.
Project description:Immunotherapy, with an increasing number of therapeutic dimensions, is becoming an important mode of treatment for cancer patients. The inhibition of immune checkpoints, which are the source of immune escape for various cancers, is one such immunotherapeutic dimension. It has mainly been aimed at T cells in the past, but NK cells are a newly emerging target. Simultaneously, the number of checkpoints identified has been increasing in recent times. In addition to the classical NK cell receptors KIRs, LIRs, and NKG2A, several other immune checkpoints have also been shown to cause dysfunction of NK cells in various cancers and chronic infections. These checkpoints include the revolutionized CTLA-4, PD-1, and recently identified B7-H3, as well as LAG-3, TIGIT & CD96, TIM-3, and the most recently acknowledged checkpoint-members of the Siglecs family (Siglec-7/9), CD200 and CD47. An interesting dimension of immune checkpoints is their candidacy for dual-checkpoint inhibition, resulting in therapeutic synergism. Furthermore, the combination of immune checkpoint inhibition with other NK cell cytotoxicity restoration strategies could also strengthen its efficacy as an antitumor therapy. Here, we have undertaken a comprehensive review of the literature to date regarding NK cell-based immune checkpoints.
Project description:The discovery of immune checkpoints provided a breakthrough for cancer therapy. Immune checkpoints are inhibitory receptors that are up-regulated on chronically stimulated lymphocytes and have been shown to hinder immune responses to cancer. Monoclonal antibodies against the checkpoint molecules PD-1 and CTLA-4 have shown early clinical success against melanoma and are now approved to treat various cancers. Since then, the list of potential candidates for immune checkpoint blockade has dramatically increased. The current paradigm stipulates that immune checkpoint blockade therapy unleashes pre-existing T cell responses. However, there is accumulating evidence that some of these immune checkpoint molecules are also expressed on Natural Killer (NK) cells. In this review, we summarize our latest knowledge about targetable NK cell inhibitory receptors. We discuss the HLA-binding receptors KIRS and NKG2A, receptors binding to nectin and nectin-like molecules including TIGIT, CD96, and CD112R, and immune checkpoints commonly associated with T cells such as PD-1, TIM-3, and LAG-3. We also discuss newly discovered pathways such as IL-1R8 and often overlooked receptors such as CD161 and Siglecs. We detail how these inhibitory receptors might regulate NK cell responses to cancer, and, where relevant, we discuss their implications for therapeutic intervention.
Project description:Intrinsic immune responses to acute leukemia are inhibited by a variety of mechanisms, such as aberrant antigen expression by leukemia cells, secretion of immunosuppressive cytokines and expression of inhibitory enzymes in the tumor microenvironment, expansion of immunoregulatory cells, and activation of immune checkpoint pathways, all leading to T cell dysfunction and/or exhaustion. Leukemic cells, similar to other tumor cells, hijack these inhibitory pathways to evade immune recognition and destruction by cytotoxic T lymphocytes. Thus, blockade of immune checkpoints has emerged as a highly promising approach to augment innate anti-tumor immunity in order to treat malignancies. Most evidence for the clinical efficacy of this immunotherapeutic strategy has been seen in patients with metastatic melanoma, where anti-CTLA-4 and anti-PD-1 antibodies have recently revolutionized treatment of this lethal disease with otherwise limited treatment options. To meet the high demand for new treatment strategies in acute leukemia, clinical testing of these promising therapies is commencing. Herein, we review the biology of multiple inhibitory checkpoints (including CTLA-4, PD-1, TIM-3, LAG-3, BTLA, and CD200R) and their contribution to immune evasion by acute leukemias. In addition, we discuss the current state of preclinical and clinical studies of immune checkpoint inhibition in acute leukemia, which seek to harness the body's own immune system to fight leukemic cells.
Project description:High expression of immune checkpoints in tumor microenvironment plays significant roles in inhibiting anti-tumor immunity, which is associated with poor prognosis and cancer progression. Major epigenetic modifications in both DNA and histone could be involved in upregulation of immune checkpoints in cancer.Expressions of different immune checkpoint genes and PD-L1 were assessed using qRT-PCR, and the underlying epigenetic modifications including CpG methylation and repressive histone abundance were determined using bisulfite sequencing, and histone 3 lysine 9 trimethylation (H3K9me3) and histone 3 lysine 27 trimethylation (H3K27me3) chromatin immunoprecipitation assays (ChIP), respectively.We first assessed the expression level of six immune checkpoints/ligands and found that PD-1, CTLA-4, TIM-3, and LAG-3 were significantly upregulated in breast tumor tissues (TT), compared with breast normal tissues (NT). We investigated the epigenetic modifications beyond this upregulation in immune checkpoint genes. Interestingly, we found that CpG islands in the promoter regions of PD-1, CTLA-4, and TIM-3 were significantly hypomethylated in tumor compared with normal tissues. Additionally, CpG islands of PD-L1 promoter were completely demethylated (100%), LAG-3 were highly hypomethylated (80-90%), and TIGIT were poorly hypomethylated (20-30%), in both NT and TT. These demethylation findings are in accordance with the relative expression data that, out of all these genes, PD-L1 was highly expressed and completely demethylated and TIGIT was poorly expressed and hypermethylated in both NT and TT. Moreover, bindings of H3K9me3 and H3K27me3 were found to be reduced in the promoter loci of PD-1, CTLA-4, TIM-3, and LAG-3 in tumor tissues.Our data demonstrate that both DNA and histone modifications are involved in upregulation of PD-1, CTLA-4, TIM-3, and LAG-3 in breast tumor tissue and these epigenetic modifications could be useful as diagnostic/prognostic biomarkers and/or therapeutic targets in breast cancer.
Project description:Immunotherapy is a new pillar of cancer therapy that provides novel opportunities to treat solid tumors. In this context, the development of new drugs targeting immune checkpoints is considered a promising approach in colorectal cancer (CRC) treatment because it can be induce specific and durable anti-cancer effects. Despite many advances in the immunotherapy of CRC, there are still limitations and obstacles to successful treatment. The immunosuppressive function of the tumor microenvironment (TME) is one of the causes of poor response to treatment in CRC patients. For this reason, checkpoint-blocking antibodies have shown promising outcomes in CRC patients by blocking inhibitory immune checkpoints and enhancing immune responses against tumors. This review summarizes recent advances in immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs), such as CTLA-4, PD-1, PD-L1, LAG-3, and TIM-3 in CRC, and it discusses various therapeutic strategies with ICIs, including the double blockade of ICIs, combination therapy of ICIs with other immunotherapies, and conventional treatments. This review also delineates a new hopeful path in the combination of anti-PD-1/anti-PD-L1 with other ICIs such as anti-CTLA-4, anti-LAG-3, and anti-TIM-3 for CRC treatment.
Project description:The development of cancer and chronic infections is facilitated by many subversion mechanisms, among which enhanced expression of immune checkpoints molecules, such as programmed death-1 (PD-1) and cytotoxic T lymphocyte-associated antigen 4 (CTLA-4), on exhausted T cells. Recently, immune checkpoint inhibitors have shown remarkable efficiency in the treatment of a number of cancers. However, expression of immune checkpoints on natural killer (NK) cells and its functional consequences on NK cell effector functions are much less explored. In this review, we focus on the current knowledge on expression of various immune checkpoints in NK cells, how it can alter NK cell-mediated cytotoxicity and cytokine production. Dissecting the role of these inhibitory mechanisms in NK cells is critical for the full understanding of the mode of action of immunotherapies using checkpoint inhibitors in the treatment of cancers and chronic infections.
Project description:Tumor-associated or -infiltrating lymphocytes (TALs or TILs) co-express multiple immune inhibitory receptors that contribute to immune suppression in the ovarian tumor microenvironment (TME). Dual blockade of PD-1 along with LAG-3 or CTLA-4 has been shown to synergistically enhance T-cell effector function, resulting in a delay in murine ovarian tumor growth. However, the mechanisms underlying this synergy and the relative contribution of other inhibitory receptors to immune suppression in the ovarian TME are unknown. Here, we report that multiple immune checkpoints are expressed in TALs and TILs isolated from ovarian tumor-bearing mice. Importantly, blockade of PD-1, LAG-3, or CTLA-4 alone using genetic ablation or blocking antibodies conferred a compensatory upregulation of the other checkpoint pathways, potentiating their capacity for local T-cell suppression that, in turn, could be overcome through combinatorial blockade strategies. Whereas single-agent blockade led to tumor outgrowth in all animals, dual antibody blockade against PD-1/CTLA-4 or triple blockade against PD-1/LAG-3/CTLA-4 resulted in tumor-free survival in 20% of treated mice. In contrast, dual blockade of LAG-3 and CTLA-4 pathways using PD-1 knockout mice led to tumor-free survival in 40% of treated mice, suggesting a hierarchical ordering of checkpoint function. Durable antitumor immunity was most strongly associated with increased numbers of CD8<sup>+</sup> T cells, the frequency of cytokine-producing effector T cells, reduced frequency of Tregs and arginine-expressing monocytic myeloid-derived suppressor cells in the peritoneal TME. These data provide a basis for combinatorial checkpoint blockade in clinical intervention for ovarian cancer.
Project description:The inhibitory regulators, known as immune checkpoints, prevent overreaction of the immune system, avoid normal tissue damage, and maintain immune homeostasis during the antimicrobial or antiviral immune response. Unfortunately, cancer cells can mimic the ligands of immune checkpoints to evade immune surveillance. Application of immune checkpoint blockade can help dampen the ligands expressed on cancer cells, reverse the exhaustion status of effector T cells, and reinvigorate the antitumor function. Here, we briefly introduce the structure, expression, signaling pathway, and targeted drugs of several inhibitory immune checkpoints (PD-1/PD-L1, CTLA-4, TIM-3, LAG-3, VISTA, and IDO1). And we summarize the application of immune checkpoint inhibitors in tumors, such as single agent and combination therapy and adverse reactions. At the same time, we further discussed the correlation between immune checkpoints and microorganisms and the role of immune checkpoints in microbial-infection diseases. This review focused on the current knowledge about the role of the immune checkpoints will help in applying immune checkpoints for clinical therapy of cancer and other diseases.
Project description:Immune checkpoint inhibitors targeting coinhibitory pathways in T cells possess efficacy in combating cancer. In addition to PD-1/PD-L1 and CTLA-4 antibodies which are already established in tumor immunotherapy, immune checkpoints such as LAG-3 or BTLA are emerging, which may have the potential to enhance T-cell responses alone or in combination with PD-1 blockers. CD4<sup>+</sup> T cells play a central role in the immune system and contribute to productive immune responses in multiple ways. The effects of immune checkpoint inhibitors on this cell subset may thus critically influence therapeutic outcomes. Here, we have used in vitro responses to tetanus toxoid (TT) as a model system to study the effects of immune checkpoint inhibitors on CD4<sup>+</sup> T-cell responses. CFSE-labeled PBMCs of 65 donors were stimulated with TT in the presence of blocking antibodies to PD-L1, CTLA-4, LAG-3, or BTLA for 7 days. We found that the PD-L1 antibody greatly enhanced cytokine production and antigen-specific CD4<sup>+</sup> T-cell proliferation, whereas blocking antibodies to BTLA or LAG-3 did not augment responses to TT. Surprisingly, the presence of the therapeutic CTLA-4 antibody ipilimumab resulted in a significant reduction of CD4<sup>+</sup> T-cell proliferation and cytokine production. Stimulation experiments with an IgG4 variant of ipilimumab indicated that the inhibitory effect of ipilimumab was dependent on its IgG1 isotype. Our results indicate that the therapeutic CTLA-4 antibody ipilimumab can impair CD4<sup>+</sup> effector T-cell responses and that this activity is mediated by its Fc part and CD16-expressing cells.
Project description:Immunotherapy has recently become widely used in lung cancer. Many oncologists are focused on cytotoxic T lymphocyte antigen-4 (CTLA-4), programmed cell death ligand-1 (PD-L1) and programmed cell death-1 (PD-1). Immunotherapy targeting the PD-1/PD-L1 checkpoints has shown promising efficacy in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), but questions remain to be answered. Among them is whether the simultaneous inhibition of other checkpoints could improve outcomes. Lymphocyte-activation gene-3 (LAG-3) is another vital checkpoint that may have a synergistic interaction with PD-1/PD-L1. Here we review the LAG-3 function in cancer, clinical trials with agents targeting LAG-3 and the correlation of LAG-3 with other checkpoints.