Recombinant orthopoxvirus primes colon cancer for checkpoint inhibitor and cross-primes t cells for antitumor and antiviral immunity

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Abstract

Although it is known that oncolytic viruses can inflame and recruit immune cells to otherwise immunosuppressed tumor microenvironments, the influence of the antiviral immune response on antitumor immunity is less clear across viral platforms and tumor types. CF33 is a recombinant orthopoxvirus backbone effective against colon cancer. We tested derivatives of CF33 with and without immune-checkpoint inhibition (anti–PD-L1) in mouse models of colon cancer. Results showed that the efficacy of CF33 backbone with J2R deletion (single-deleted) against colon cancer is not altered by additional deletion of F14.5L in vitro or in vivo. CF33 infection upregulated PD-L1 expression on tumor cells and led to an increased influx of lymphocytes and macrophages in tumors. Also, the levels of active CD8þ (IFNgþ) T cells in the virus-treated tumors were higher than those in control-treated tumors. Furthermore, a combination of CF33 derivatives with anti–PD-L1 resulted in durable tumor regression and long-term survival, resistant to tumor rechallenge. Analysis of immune cells from the treated mice showed that tumor-specific T cell activation occurred more robustly in tumors treated with the virus and that T cells were more strongly activated against the virus than against tumor, in an MHC-I–dependent manner. Our findings warrant further studies on the role of cross-priming of T cells against viral and tumor antigens, in the overall success of viroimmunotherapy.

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Kim, S. I., Park, A. K., Chaurasiya, S., Kang, S., Lu, J., Yang, A., … Warner, S. G. (2021). Recombinant orthopoxvirus primes colon cancer for checkpoint inhibitor and cross-primes t cells for antitumor and antiviral immunity. Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, 20(1), 173–182. https://doi.org/10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-20-0405

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