Anti–programmed cell death protein 1 (anti–PD-1) therapy has become an immunotherapeutic backbone for treating many cancer types. Although many studies have aimed to characterize the immune response to anti–PD-1 therapy in the tumor and in the peripheral blood, relatively less is known about the changes in the tumor-draining lymph nodes (TDLNs). TDLNs are primary sites of tumor antigen exposure that are critical to both regulation and cross-priming of the antitumor immune response. We used multipanel mass cytometry to obtain a high-parameter proteomic (39 total unique markers) immune profile of the TDLNs in a well-studied PD-1–responsive, immunocompetent mouse model. Based on combined hierarchal gating and unsupervised clustering analyses, we found that anti–PD-1 therapy enhances remodeling of both B and T cell compartments toward memory phenotypes. Functionally, expression of checkpoint markers was increased in conjunction with production of IFN-γ, TNF-α, or IL-2 in key cell types, including B and T cell subtypes, and rarer subsets, such as Tregs and NKT cells. A deeper profiling of the immunologic changes that occur in the TDLN milieu during effective anti–PD-1 therapy may lead to the discovery of novel biomarkers for monitoring response and provide key insights toward developing combination immunotherapeutic strategies.
Won Jin Ho, Mark Yarchoan, Soren Charmsaz, Rebecca M. Munday, Ludmila Danilova, Marcelo B. Sztein, Elana J. Fertig, Elizabeth M. Jaffee