The following articles have been recommended for further reading in the field of cancer immunotherapy by JITC's Immunotherapy Biomarkers co-Section Editor Dr. Ignacio Melero.
“Antibodies against endogenous retroviruses promote lung cancer immunotherapy” by Kevin W Ng et al
B cells are frequently found in the margins of solid tumours as organized follicles in ectopic lymphoid organs called tertiary lymphoid structures (TLS)1,2. Although TLS have been found to correlate with improved patient survival and response to immune checkpoint blockade (ICB), the underlying mechanisms of this association remain elusive1,2. Here we investigate lung-resident B cell responses in patients from the TRACERx 421 (Tracking Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer Evolution Through Therapy) and other lung cancer cohorts, and in a recently established immunogenic mouse model for lung adenocarcinoma3. We find that both human and mouse lung adenocarcinomas elicit local germinal centre responses and tumour-binding antibodies, and further identify endogenous retrovirus (ERV) envelope glycoproteins as a dominant anti-tumour antibody target. ERV-targeting B cell responses are amplified by ICB in both humans and mice, and by targeted inhibition of KRAS(G12C) in the mouse model. ERV-reactive antibodies exert anti-tumour activity that extends survival in the mouse model, and ERV expression predicts the outcome of ICB in human lung adenocarcinoma. Finally, we find that effective immunotherapy in the mouse model requires CXCL13-dependent TLS formation. Conversely, therapeutic CXCL13 treatment potentiates anti-tumour immunity and synergizes with ICB. Our findings provide a possible mechanistic basis for the association of TLS with immunotherapy response.
“IL-5-producing CD4+ T cells and eosinophils cooperate to enhance response to immune checkpoint blockade in breast cancer” by Olga S Blomberg et al
Cancer Cell (2023)
Immune checkpoint blockade (ICB) has heralded a new era in cancer therapy. Research into the mechanisms underlying response to ICB has predominantly focused on T cells; however, effective immune responses require tightly regulated crosstalk between innate and adaptive immune cells. Here, we combine unbiased analysis of blood and tumors from metastatic breast cancer patients treated with ICB with mechanistic studies in mouse models of breast cancer. We observe an increase in systemic and intratumoral eosinophils in patients and mice responding to ICB treatment. Mechanistically, ICB increased IL-5 production by CD4+ T cells, stimulating elevated eosinophil production from the bone marrow, leading to systemic eosinophil expansion. Additional induction of IL-33 by ICB-cisplatin combination or recombinant IL-33 promotes intratumoral eosinophil infiltration and eosinophil-dependent CD8+ T cell activation to enhance ICB response. This work demonstrates the critical role of eosinophils in ICB response and provides proof-of-principle for eosinophil engagement to enhance ICB efficacy.
“CD8+ T cell-intrinsic IL-6 signaling promotes resistance to anti-PD-L1 immunotherapy” by Mahrukh A Huseni et al
Cell Rep Med. (2023)
Although immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) are established as effective cancer therapies, overcoming therapeutic resistance remains a critical challenge. Here we identify interleukin 6 (IL-6) as a correlate of poor response to atezolizumab (anti-PD-L1) in large clinical trials of advanced kidney, breast, and bladder cancers. In pre-clinical models, combined blockade of PD-L1 and the IL-6 receptor (IL6R) causes synergistic regression of large established tumors and substantially improves anti-tumor CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) responses compared with anti-PD-L1 alone. Circulating CTLs from cancer patients with high plasma IL-6 display a repressed functional profile based on single-cell RNA sequencing, and IL-6-STAT3 signaling inhibits classical cytotoxic differentiation of CTLs in vitro. In tumor-bearing mice, CTL-specific IL6R deficiency is sufficient to improve anti-PD-L1 activity. Thus, based on both clinical and experimental evidence, agents targeting IL-6 signaling are plausible partners for combination with ICIs in cancer patients.
“Neoantigen-targeted CD8+ T cell responses with PD-1 blockade therapy” by Cristina Puig-Saus et al
Neoantigens are peptides derived from non-synonymous mutations presented by human leukocyte antigens (HLAs), which are recognized by antitumour T cells. The large HLA allele diversity and limiting clinical samples have restricted the study of the landscape of neoantigen-targeted T cell responses in patients over their treatment course. Here we applied recently developed technologies to capture neoantigen-specific T cells from blood and tumours from patients with metastatic melanoma with or without response to anti-programmed death receptor 1 (PD-1) immunotherapy. We generated personalized libraries of neoantigen–HLA capture reagents to single-cell isolate the T cells and clone their T cell receptors (neoTCRs). Multiple T cells with different neoTCR sequences (T cell clonotypes) recognized a limited number of mutations in samples from seven patients with long-lasting clinical responses. These neoTCR clonotypes were recurrently detected over time in the blood and tumour. Samples from four patients with no response to anti-PD-1 also demonstrated neoantigen-specific T cell responses in the blood and tumour to a restricted number of mutations with lower TCR polyclonality and were not recurrently detected in sequential samples. Reconstitution of the neoTCRs in donor T cells using non-viral CRISPR–Cas9 gene editing demonstrated specific recognition and cytotoxicity to patient-matched melanoma cell lines. Thus, effective anti-PD-1 immunotherapy is associated with the presence of polyclonal CD8+ T cells in the tumour and blood specific for a limited number of immunodominant mutations, which are recurrently recognized over time.