A central issue for adoptive cellular immunotherapy is overcoming immunosuppressive signals to achieve tumor clearance. While γδ T cells are known to be potent cytolytic effectors that can kill a variety of cancers, it is not clear whether they are inhibited by suppressive ligands expressed in tumor microenvironments. Here, we have used a powerful preclinical model where EBV infection drives the de novo generation of human B cell lymphomas in vivo, and autologous T lymphocytes are held in check by PD-1/CTLA-4–mediated inhibition. We show that a single dose of adoptively transferred Vδ2+ T cells has potent antitumor effects, even in the absence of checkpoint blockade or activating compounds. Vδ2+ T cell immunotherapy given within the first 5 days of EBV infection almost completely prevented the outgrowth of tumors. Vδ2+ T cell immunotherapy given more than 3 weeks after infection (after neoplastic transformation is evident) resulted in a dramatic reduction in tumor burden. The immunotherapeutic Vδ2+ T cells maintained low cell surface expression of PD-1 in vivo, and their recruitment to tumors was followed by a decrease in B cells expressing PD-L1 and PD-L2 inhibitory ligands. These results suggest that adoptively transferred PD-1lo Vδ2+ T cells circumvent the tumor checkpoint environment in vivo.
Nicholas A. Zumwalde, Akshat Sharma, Xuequn Xu, Shidong Ma, Christine L. Schneider, James C. Romero-Masters, Amy W. Hudson, Annette Gendron-Fitzpatrick, Shannon C. Kenney, Jenny E. Gumperz