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Simultaneous inhibition of two regulatory T-cell subsets enhanced Interleukin-15 efficacy in a prostate tumor model

Yu, Ping, Steel, Jason C., Zhang, Meili, Morris, John C., Waitz, Rebecca, Fasso, Marcella, Allison, James P., Waldmann, Thomas A.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2012 v.109 no.16 pp. 6187-6192
adenocarcinoma, antibodies, anticarcinogenic activity, antigens, clinical trials, cytotoxic T-lymphocytes, death, immune response, immunotherapy, interferon-gamma, mice, models
IL-15 has potential as an immunotherapeutic agent for cancer treatment because of its ability to effectively stimulate CD8 T cell, natural killer T cell, and natural killer cell immunity. However, its effectiveness may be limited by negative immunological checkpoints that attenuate immune responses. Recently a clinical trial of IL-15 in cancer immunotherapy was initiated. Finding strategies to conquer negative regulators and enhance efficacy of IL-15 is critical and meaningful for such clinical trials. In a preclinical study, we evaluated IL-15 combined with antibodies to block negative immune regulator cytotoxic T lymphocyte antigen 4 (CTLA-4) and programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1) in an established murine transgenic adenocarcinoma of mouse prostate (TRAMP)-C2 prostate tumor model. IL-15 treatment resulted in a significant prolongation of survival in tumor-bearing animals. Coadministration of anti-PD-L1 or anti-CTLA-4 singly with IL-15 did not improve animal survival over that of IL-15 alone. However, simultaneous administration of IL-15 with anti-CTLA-4 and anti-PD-L1 was associated with increased numbers of tumor antigen-specific tetramer-positive CD8 T cells, increased CD8 T-cell tumor lytic activity, augmented antigen-specific IFN-γ release, decreased rates of tumor growth, and improved animal survival compared with IL-15 alone. Furthermore, triple combination therapy was associated with inhibition of suppressive functions of CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells and CD8+CD122+ regulatory T cells. Thus, simultaneous blockade of CTLA-4 and PD-L1 protected CD4 and/or CD8 T-cell activity from these regulatory T cells. Combining the immune stimulatory properties of IL-15 with simultaneous removal of two critical immune inhibitory checkpoints, we showed enhancement of immune responses, leading to increased antitumor activity.