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Targeted Delivery of IL2 to the Tumor Stroma Potentiates the Action of Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors by Preferential Activation of NK and CD8 T Cells


Hutmacher, Cornelia; Núñez, Nicolás Gonzalo; Liuzzi, Anna Rita; Becher, Burkhard; Neri, Dario (2019). Targeted Delivery of IL2 to the Tumor Stroma Potentiates the Action of Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors by Preferential Activation of NK and CD8 T Cells. Cancer Immunology Research, 7(4):572-583.

Abstract

Recombinant human IL2 is being considered as a combination partner for immune checkpoint inhibitors in cancer therapy, but the product only has a narrow therapeutic window. Therefore, we used F8-IL2, an antibody-IL2 fusion protein capable of selective localization to the tumor site, in combination with antibodies against murine CTLA-4, PD-1, and PD-L1. In immunocompetent mice bearing CT26 tumors, the combination of F8-IL2 with CTLA-4 blockade was efficacious, leading to increased progression-free survival and protective immunity against subsequent tumor rechallenges. The combination with anti-PD-1 induced substantial tumor growth retardation, but tumor clearance was rare, whereas the combination with anti-PD-L1 exhibited the lowest activity. A detailed high-parametric single-cell analysis of the tumor leukocyte composition revealed that F8-IL2 had a strong impact on NK-cell activity without collateral immune activation in the systemic immune compartment, whereas CTLA-4 blockade led to significant changes in the T-cell compartment. Leukocyte depletion studies revealed that CD8 T and NK cells were the main drivers of the therapeutic activity. We extended the experimental observations to a second model, treating MC38 tumor-bearing mice with F8-IL2 and/or CTLA-4 blockade. Only the combination treatment displayed potent anticancer activity, characterized by an increase in cytolytic CD8 T and NK cells in tumors and draining lymph nodes. A decrease in the regulatory T cell frequency, within the tumors, was also observed. The results provide a rationale for the combined use of engineered IL2 therapeutics with immune checkpoint inhibitors for cancer therapy.

Abstract

Recombinant human IL2 is being considered as a combination partner for immune checkpoint inhibitors in cancer therapy, but the product only has a narrow therapeutic window. Therefore, we used F8-IL2, an antibody-IL2 fusion protein capable of selective localization to the tumor site, in combination with antibodies against murine CTLA-4, PD-1, and PD-L1. In immunocompetent mice bearing CT26 tumors, the combination of F8-IL2 with CTLA-4 blockade was efficacious, leading to increased progression-free survival and protective immunity against subsequent tumor rechallenges. The combination with anti-PD-1 induced substantial tumor growth retardation, but tumor clearance was rare, whereas the combination with anti-PD-L1 exhibited the lowest activity. A detailed high-parametric single-cell analysis of the tumor leukocyte composition revealed that F8-IL2 had a strong impact on NK-cell activity without collateral immune activation in the systemic immune compartment, whereas CTLA-4 blockade led to significant changes in the T-cell compartment. Leukocyte depletion studies revealed that CD8 T and NK cells were the main drivers of the therapeutic activity. We extended the experimental observations to a second model, treating MC38 tumor-bearing mice with F8-IL2 and/or CTLA-4 blockade. Only the combination treatment displayed potent anticancer activity, characterized by an increase in cytolytic CD8 T and NK cells in tumors and draining lymph nodes. A decrease in the regulatory T cell frequency, within the tumors, was also observed. The results provide a rationale for the combined use of engineered IL2 therapeutics with immune checkpoint inhibitors for cancer therapy.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Experimental Immunology
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Life Sciences > Immunology
Life Sciences > Cancer Research
Language:English
Date:April 2019
Deposited On:15 Nov 2019 10:05
Last Modified:29 Jul 2020 11:46
Publisher:American Association for Cancer Research
ISSN:2326-6066
OA Status:Closed
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1158/2326-6066.CIR-18-0566
PubMed ID:30782667

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