Eissler N, Mao Y, Brodin D, Reuterswärd P, Andersson Svahn H, Johnsen JI, Kiessling R, Kogner P
Oncoimmunology 5 (12) e1232222 [2016-09-09; online 2016-09-09]
Removal of immuno-suppression has been reported to enhance antitumor immunity primed by checkpoint inhibitors. Although PD-1 blockade failed to control tumor growth in a transgenic murine neuroblastoma model, concurrent inhibition of colony stimulating factor 1 receptor (CSF-1R) by BLZ945 reprogrammed suppressive myeloid cells and significantly enhanced therapeutic effects. Microarray analysis of tumor tissues identified a significant increase of T-cell infiltration guided by myeloid cell-derived chemokines CXCL9, 10, and 11. Blocking the responsible chemokine receptor CXCR3 hampered T-cell infiltration and reduced antitumor efficacy of the combination therapy. Multivariate analysis of 59 immune-cell parameters in tumors and spleens detected the correlation between PD-L1-expressing myeloid cells and tumor burden. In vitro, anti-PD-1 antibody Nivolumab in combination with BLZ945 increased the activation of primary human T and NK cells. Importantly, we revealed a previously uncharacterized pathway, in which T cells secreted M-CSF upon PD-1 blockade, leading to enhanced suppressive capacity of monocytes by upregulation of PD-L1 and purinergic enzymes. In multiple datasets of neuroblastoma patients, gene expression of CD73 correlated strongly with myeloid cell markers CD163 and CSF-1R in neuroblastoma tumors, and associated with worse survival in high-risk patients. Altogether, our data reveal the dual role of activated T cells on myeloid cell functions and provide a rationale for the combination therapy of anti-PD-1 antibody with CSF-1R inhibitor.