BACKGROUND. Immune checkpoint inhibitors provide significant clinical benefit to a subset of patients, but novel prognostic markers are needed to predict which patients will respond. This study was initiated to determine if features of patient T cell repertoires could provide insights into the mechanisms of immunotherapy, while also predicting outcomes. METHODS. We examined T cell receptor (TCR) repertoires in peripheral blood of 25 metastatic pancreatic cancer patients treated with ipilimumab with or without GVAX (a pancreatic cancer vaccine), as well as peripheral blood and tumor biopsies from 32 patients treated with GVAX and mesothelin-expressing Listeria monocytogenes with or without nivolumab. Statistics from these repertoires were then tested for their association with clinical response and treatment group. RESULTS. We demonstrate that, first, the majority of patients receiving these treatments experience a net diversification of their peripheral TCR repertoires. Second, patients receiving ipilimumab experienced larger changes in their repertoires, especially in combination with GVAX. Finally, both a low baseline clonality and a high number of expanded clones following treatment were associated with significantly longer survival in patients who received ipilimumab but not in patients receiving nivolumab. CONCLUSIONS. We show that these therapies have measurably different effects on the peripheral repertoire, consistent with their mechanisms of action, and demonstrate the potential for TCR repertoire profiling to serve as a biomarker of clinical response in pancreatic cancer patients receiving immunotherapy. In addition, our results suggest testing sequential administration of anti–CTLA-4 and anti–PD-1 antibodies to achieve optimal therapeutic benefit. TRIAL REGISTRATION. Samples used in this study were collected from the NCT00836407 and NCT02243371 clinical trials. FUNDING. Research supported by a Stand Up To Cancer Lustgarten Foundation Pancreatic Cancer Convergence Dream Team Translational Research grant (SU2C-AACR-DT14-14). Stand Up To Cancer is a program of the Entertainment Industry Foundation administered by the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR). Additional clinical trial funding was provided by AACR-Pancreatic Cancer Action Network Research Acceleration Network grant (14-90-25-LE), NCI SPORE in GI Cancer (CA062924), Quick-Trials for Novel Cancer Therapies: Exploratory Grants (R21CA126058-01A2), and the US Food and Drug Administration (R01FD004819). Research collaboration and financial support were provided by Adaptive Biotechnologies.
Alexander C. Hopkins, Mark Yarchoan, Jennifer N. Durham, Erik C. Yusko, Julie A. Rytlewski, Harlan S. Robins, Daniel A. Laheru, Dung T. Le, Eric R. Lutz, Elizabeth M. Jaffee
Recent years have witnessed the groundbreaking success of immune checkpoint blockage (ICB) in metastasized malignant melanoma. However, biomarkers predicting the response to ICB are still urgently needed. In the present study, we investigated CTLA4 promoter methylation (mCTLA4) in 470 malignant melanoma patients from The Cancer Genome Atlas (non-ICB cohort) and in 50 individuals with metastasized malignant melanomas under PD-1/CTLA-4–targeted immunotherapy (ICB cohort). mCTLA4 levels were quantified using the Infinium HumanMethylation450 BeadChip (non-ICB cohort) and methylation-specific quantitative real-time PCR in DNA formalin-fixed and paraffin-embedded tissues (ICB cohort). Methylation levels were associated with molecular and clinicopathological variables and analyzed with respect to response (irRECIST) and overall survival. CTLA-4 mRNA and mCTLA4 showed a significant inverse correlation (non-ICB cohort: Spearman’s ρ = –0.416, P < 0.001). In ICB-treated melanoma patients, low mCTLA4 was further strongly correlated with response to therapy (P = 0.009, ANOVA) and overall survival (hazard ratio = 2.06 [95% CI: 1.29–3.29], P = 0.003). Our data strongly support the assumption that mCTLA4 predicts response to both anti–PD-1 and anti–CTLA-4 targeted ICB in melanoma and provides paramount information for the selection of patients likely to respond to ICB.
Diane Goltz, Heidrun Gevensleben, Timo J. Vogt, Joern Dietrich, Carsten Golletz, Friedrich Bootz, Glen Kristiansen, Jennifer Landsberg, Dimo Dietrich
Success of immune checkpoint inhibitors in advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) has invigorated their use in the neoadjuvant setting for early-stage disease. However, the cellular and molecular mechanisms of the early immune responses to therapy remain poorly understood. Through an integrated analysis of early-stage NSCLC patients and a Kras mutant mouse model, we show a prevalent programmed cell death 1/programmed cell death 1 ligand 1 (PD-1/PD-L1) axis exemplified by increased intratumoral PD-1+ T cells and PD-L1 expression. Notably, tumor progression was associated with spatiotemporal modulation of the immune microenvironment with dominant immunosuppressive phenotypes at later phases of tumor growth. Importantly, PD-1 inhibition controlled tumor growth, improved overall survival, and reprogrammed tumor-associated lymphoid and myeloid cells. Depletion of T lymphocyte subsets demonstrated synergistic effects of those populations on PD-1 inhibition of tumor growth. Transcriptome analyses revealed T cell subset–specific alterations corresponding to degree of response to the treatment. These results provide insights into temporal evolution of the phenotypic effects of PD-1/PD-L1 activation and inhibition and motivate targeting of this axis early in lung cancer progression.
Geoffrey J. Markowitz, Lauren S. Havel, Michael J.P. Crowley, Yi Ban, Sharrell B. Lee, Jennifer S. Thalappillil, Navneet Narula, Bhavneet Bhinder, Olivier Elemento, Stephen T.C. Wong, Dingcheng Gao, Nasser K. Altorki, Vivek Mittal
Loss of the NF1 tumor suppressor gene causes the autosomal dominant condition, neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1). Children and adults with NF1 suffer from pathologies including benign and malignant tumors to cognitive deficits, seizures, growth abnormalities, and peripheral neuropathies. NF1 encodes neurofibromin, a Ras-GTPase activating protein, and NF1 mutations result in hyperactivated Ras signaling in patients. Existing NF1 mutant mice mimic individual aspects of NF1, but none comprehensively models the disease. We describe a potentially novel Yucatan miniswine model bearing a heterozygotic mutation in NF1 (exon 42 deletion) orthologous to a mutation found in NF1 patients. NF1+/ex42del miniswine phenocopy the wide range of manifestations seen in NF1 patients, including café au lait spots, neurofibromas, axillary freckling, and neurological defects in learning and memory. Molecular analyses verified reduced neurofibromin expression in swine NF1+/ex42del fibroblasts, as well as hyperactivation of Ras, as measured by increased expression of its downstream effectors, phosphorylated ERK1/2, SIAH, and the checkpoint regulators p53 and p21. Consistent with altered pain signaling in NF1, dysregulation of calcium and sodium channels was observed in dorsal root ganglia expressing mutant NF1. Thus, these NF1+/ex42del miniswine recapitulate the disease and provide a unique, much-needed tool to advance the study and treatment of NF1.
Katherine A. White, Vicki J. Swier, Jacob T. Cain, Jordan L. Kohlmeyer, David K. Meyerholz, Munir R. Tanas, Johanna Uthoff, Emily Hammond, Hua Li, Frank A. Rohret, Adam Goeken, Chun-Hung Chan, Mariah R. Leidinger, Shaikamjad Umesalma, Margaret R. Wallace, Rebecca D. Dodd, Karin Panzer, Amy H. Tang, Benjamin W. Darbro, Aubin Moutal, Song Cai, Wennan Li, Shreya S. Bellampalli, Rajesh Khanna, Christopher S. Rogers, Jessica C. Sieren, Dawn E. Quelle, Jill M. Weimer
Mucin 1 (MUC1) is a heterodimeric protein that is aberrantly overexpressed on the surface of diverse human carcinomas and is an attractive target for the development of mAb-based therapeutics. However, attempts at targeting the shed MUC1 N-terminal subunit have been unsuccessful. We report here the generation of mAb 3D1 against the nonshed oncogenic MUC1 C-terminal (MUC1-C) subunit. We show that mAb 3D1 binds with low nM affinity to the MUC1-C extracellular domain at the restricted α3 helix. mAb 3D1 reactivity is selective for MUC1-C–expressing human cancer cell lines and primary cancer cells. Internalization of mAb 3D1 into cancer cells further supported the conjugation of mAb 3D1 to monomethyl auristatin E (MMAE). The mAb 3D1-MMAE antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) (a) kills MUC1-C–positive cells in vitro, (b) is nontoxic in MUC1-transgenic (MUC1.Tg) mice, and (c) is active against human HCC827 lung tumor xenografts. Humanized mAb (humAb) 3D1 conjugated to MMAE also exhibited antitumor activity in (a) MUC1.Tg mice harboring syngeneic MC-38/MUC1 tumors, (b) nude mice bearing human ZR-75-1 breast tumors, and (c) NCG mice engrafted with a patient-derived triple-negative breast cancer. These findings and the absence of associated toxicities support clinical development of humAb 3D1-MMAE ADCs as a therapeutic for the many cancers with MUC1-C overexpression.
Govind Panchamoorthy, Caining Jin, Deepak Raina, Ajit Bharti, Masaaki Yamamoto, Dennis Adeebge, Qing Zhao, Roderick Bronson, Shirley Jiang, Linjing Li, Yozo Suzuki, Ashujit Tagde, P. Peter Ghoroghchian, Kwok-Kin Wong, Surender Kharbanda, Donald Kufe
Adenosine-to-inosine (A-to-I) RNA editing, a process mediated by adenosine deaminases that act on the RNA (ADAR) gene family, is a recently discovered epigenetic modification dysregulated in human cancers. However, the clinical significance and the functional role of RNA editing in colorectal cancer (CRC) remain unclear. We have systematically and comprehensively investigated the significance of the expression status of ADAR1 and of the RNA editing levels of antizyme inhibitor 1 (AZIN1), one of the most frequently edited genes in cancers, in 392 colorectal tissues from multiple independent CRC patient cohorts. Both ADAR1 expression and AZIN1 RNA editing levels were significantly elevated in CRC tissues when compared with corresponding normal mucosa. High levels of AZIN1 RNA editing emerged as a prognostic factor for overall survival and disease-free survival and were an independent risk factor for lymph node and distant metastasis. Furthermore, elevated AZIN1 editing identified high-risk stage II CRC patients. Mechanistically, edited AZIN1 enhances stemness and appears to drive the metastatic processes. We have demonstrated that edited AZIN1 functions as an oncogene and a potential therapeutic target in CRC. Moreover, AZIN1 RNA editing status could be used as a clinically relevant prognostic indicator in CRC patients.
Kunitoshi Shigeyasu, Yoshinaga Okugawa, Shusuke Toden, Jinsei Miyoshi, Yuji Toiyama, Takeshi Nagasaka, Naoki Takahashi, Masato Kusunoki, Tetsuji Takayama, Yasuhide Yamada, Toshiyoshi Fujiwara, Leilei Chen, Ajay Goel
Multiple modes of immunosuppression restrain immune function within tumors. We previously reported that phosphoinositide 3-kinase δ (PI3Kδ) inactivation in mice confers resistance to a range of tumor models by disrupting immunosuppression mediated by regulatory T cells (Tregs). The PI3Kδ inhibitor idelalisib has proven highly effective in the clinical treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia and the potential to extend the use of PI3Kδ inhibitors to nonhematological cancers is being evaluated. In this work, we demonstrate that the antitumor effect of PI3Kδ inactivation is primarily mediated through the disruption of Treg function, and correlates with tumor dependence on Treg immunosuppression. Compared with Treg-specific PI3Kδ deletion, systemic PI3Kδ inactivation is less effective at conferring resistance to tumors. We show that PI3Kδ deficiency impairs the maturation and reduces the capacity of CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) to kill tumor cells in vitro, and to respond to tumor antigen–specific immunization in vivo. PI3Kδ inactivation antagonized the antitumor effects of tumor vaccines and checkpoint blockade therapies intended to boost the CD8+ T cell response. These findings provide insights into mechanisms by which PI3Kδ inhibition promotes antitumor immunity and demonstrate that the mechanism is distinct from that mediated by immune checkpoint blockade.
Ee Lyn Lim, Fiorella M. Cugliandolo, Dalya R. Rosner, David Gyori, Rahul Roychoudhuri, Klaus Okkenhaug
Redundancy and compensation provide robustness to biological systems but may contribute to therapy resistance. Both tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) and Foxp3+ regulatory T (Treg) cells promote tumor progression by limiting antitumor immunity. Here we show that genetic ablation of CSF1 in colorectal cancer cells reduces the influx of immunosuppressive CSF1R+ TAMs within tumors. This reduction in CSF1-dependent TAMs resulted in increased CD8+ T cell attack on tumors, but its effect on tumor growth was limited by a compensatory increase in Foxp3+ Treg cells. Similarly, disruption of Treg cell activity through their experimental ablation produced moderate effects on tumor growth and was associated with elevated numbers of CSF1R+ TAMs. Importantly, codepletion of CSF1R+ TAMs and Foxp3+ Treg cells resulted in an increased influx of CD8+ T cells, augmentation of their function, and a synergistic reduction in tumor growth. Further, inhibition of Treg cell activity either through systemic pharmacological blockade of PI3Kδ, or its genetic inactivation within Foxp3+ Treg cells, sensitized previously unresponsive solid tumors to CSF1R+ TAM depletion and enhanced the effect of CSF1R blockade. These findings identify CSF1R+ TAMs and PI3Kδ-driven Foxp3+ Treg cells as the dominant compensatory cellular components of the immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment, with implications for the design of combinatorial immunotherapies.
David Gyori, Ee Lyn Lim, Francis M. Grant, Dominik Spensberger, Rahul Roychoudhuri, Stephen J. Shuttleworth, Klaus Okkenhaug, Len R. Stephens, Phillip T. Hawkins
Lung cancer patients treated with tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) often develop resistance. More effective and safe therapeutic agents are urgently needed to overcome TKI resistance. Here, we propose a medical genetics–based approach to identify indications for over 1,000 US Food and Drug Administration–approved (FDA-approved) drugs with high accuracy. We identified a potentially novel indication for an approved antidepressant drug, sertraline, for the treatment of non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). We found that sertraline inhibits the viability of NSCLC cells and shows a synergy with erlotinib. Specifically, the cotreatment of sertraline and erlotinib effectively promotes autophagic flux in cells, as indicated by LC3-II accumulation and autolysosome formation. Mechanistic studies further reveal that dual treatment of sertraline and erlotinib reciprocally regulates the AMPK/mTOR pathway in NSCLC cells. The blockade of AMPK activation decreases the anticancer efficacy of either sertraline alone or the combination. Efficacy of this combination regimen is decreased by pharmacological inhibition of autophagy or genetic knockdown of ATG5 or Beclin 1. Importantly, our results suggest that sertraline and erlotinib combination suppress tumor growth and prolong mouse survival in an orthotopic NSCLC mouse model (P = 0.0005). In summary, our medical genetics–based approach facilitates discovery of new anticancer indications for FDA-approved drugs for the treatment of NSCLC.
Xingwu Jiang, Weiqiang Lu, Xiaoyang Shen, Quan Wang, Jing Lv, Mingyao Liu, Feixiong Cheng, Zhongming Zhao, Xiufeng Pang
Myeloid leukocytes are essentially involved in both tumor progression and control. We show that neo-adjuvant treatment of mice with an inhibitor of CSF1 receptor (CSF1R), a drug that is used to deplete tumor-associated macrophages, unexpectedly promoted metastasis. CSF1R blockade indirectly diminished the number of NK cells due to a paucity of myeloid cells that provide the survival factor IL-15 to NK cells. Reduction of the number of NK cells resulted in increased seeding of metastatic tumor cells to the lungs but did not impact on progression of established metastases. Supplementation of mice treated with CSF1R-inhibitor with IL-15 restored numbers of NK cells and diminished metastasis. Our data suggest that CSF1R blockade should be combined with administration of IL-15 to reduce the risk of metastasis.
Michal Beffinger, Paulino Tallón de Lara, Sònia Tugues, Marijne Vermeer, Yannick Montagnolo, Isabel Ohs, Virginia Cecconi, Giulia Lucchiari, Aron Gagliardi, Nikola Misljencevic, James Sutton, Roman Spörri, Burkhard Becher, Anurag Gupta, Maries van den Broek
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