PURPOSE: Monoclonal antibodies (mAb) that block programmed death (PD)-1 or cytotoxic T lymphocyte antigen (CTLA-4) receptors have been associated with durable clinical responses against a variety of cancer types and hold great potential as novel cancer therapeutics. Recent evidence suggest that targeted blockade of multiple immunosuppressive pathways can induce synergistic antitumor responses.
EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: In this study, we investigated whether targeted blockade of CD73, an ectonucleotidase that catabolizes the hydrolysis of extracellular adenosine monophosphate (AMP) to adenosine, can enhance the antitumor activity of anti-CTLA-4 and anti-PD-1 mAbs against transplanted and chemically induced mouse tumors.
RESULTS: Anti-CD73 mAb significantly enhanced the activity of both anti-CTLA-4 and anti-PD-1 mAbs against MC38-OVA (colon) and RM-1 (prostate) subcutaneous tumors, and established metastatic 4T1.2 breast cancer. Anti-CD73 mAb also significantly enhanced the activity of anti-PD-1 mAb against 3-methylcholanthrene (MCA)-induced fibrosarcomas. Gene-targeted mice revealed that single-agent therapies and combinatorial treatments were dependent on host IFN-γ and CD8(+) T cells, but independent of perforin. Interestingly, anti-CD73 mAb preferentially synergized with anti-PD-1 mAb. We investigated the effect of extracellular adenosine on tumor-infiltrating T cells and showed that activation of A2A adenosine receptor enhances PD-1 expression, but not CTLA-4 expression, on tumor-specific CD8+ T cells and CD4+ Foxp3+ T regulatory cells.
CONCLUSIONS: Taken together, our study revealed that targeted blockade of CD73 can enhance the therapeutic activity of anti-PD-1 and anti-CTLA-4 mAbs and may thus potentiate therapeutic strategies targeting immune checkpoint inhibitors in general.
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