Antitumor activity of epigenetic immunomodulation combined with CTLA-4 blockade in syngeneic mouse models.

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Antitumor activity of epigenetic immunomodulation combined with CTLA-4 blockade in syngeneic mouse models.

Oncoimmunology. 2015 Aug;4(8):e1019978

Authors: Covre A, Coral S, Nicolay H, Parisi G, Fazio C, Colizzi F, Fratta E, Di Giacomo AM, Sigalotti L, Natali PG, Maio M

The multifaceted immunomodulatory activity of DNA hypomethylating agents improves immunogenicity and immune recognition of neoplastic cells; thus, we predicted they could be utilized to design new immunotherapeutic combinations in cancer. Testing this hypothesis, the antitumor efficacy of the DNA hypomethylating agent 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine (5-AZA-CdR) combined with the anti-CTLA-4 monoclonal antibody (mAb) 9H10 in syngeneic transplantable murine models was investigated. Murine mammary carcinoma TS/A or mesothelioma AB1 cells were injected in BALB/c, athymic nude, and SCID/Beige mice that were treated with 5-AZA-CdR, mAb 9H10, or their combination. Tumor volumes were captured at different time-points; molecular and immunohistochemical assays investigated changes in neoplastic and normal tissues. A significant antitumor effect of 5-AZA-CdR combined with mAb 9H10 was found: compared to controls, a 77% (p < 0.01), 54% (p < 0.01) and 33% (p = 0.2) decrease in TS/A tumor growth was induced by 5-AZA-CdR combined with mAb 9H10, 5-AZA-CdR or mAb 9H10, respectively. These antitumor activities were confirmed utilizing the AB1 model. 5-AZA-CdR-based regimens induced a promoter-demethylation-sustained tumor expression of cancer testis antigens. MHC class I expression was up-regulated by 5-AZA-CdR. Antitumor efficacy of 5-AZA-CdR in athymic nude and SCID/Beige mice was not increased by mAb 9H10. In BALB/c mice, combined treatment induced the highest tumor infiltration by CD3(+) lymphocytes, which included both CD8(+) and CD4(+) T cells; no such infiltrates were observed in normal tissues. This significant immune-related antitumor activity of 5-AZA-CdR combined with CTLA-4 blockade, demonstrated in highly aggressive mouse tumor models, provides a strong scientific rationale to implement epigenetically-based immunotherapies in cancer patients.

PMID: 26405573 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]