Tumor Regression and Cure Depends on Sustained Th1 Responses

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Abstract

While immunomodulatory monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) have therapeutic efficacy against many tumors, few patients are cured. Attempting to improve their therapeutic efficacy we have applied the TC1 mouse lung carcinoma model and injected established subcutaneous tumors intratumorally with 3 weekly doses of various combinations of mAbs. Combinations of mAbs to CTLA4/PD1/CD137 (the 3 mAb combination) and to CTLA4/PD1/CD137/CD19 (the 4 mAb combination) were most efficacious to induce complete regression of both the injected tumor and an untreated tumor in the same mouse. Tumor cure was consistently associated with shifting a Th2 to a Th1 response in tumor-draining lymph nodes and spleen and it involved epitope specific and long-lived memory T cells as well as M1 macrophages. This shift and accompanying tumor rejection was harder to achieve as the treated tumors increased in size. Relapse of tumors which had initially regressed following treatment with immunomodulatory mAbs was associated with return of a Th2 microenvironment in tumors, tumor-draining lymph nodes and spleens rather than the emergence of immune-resistant tumor cells. While mAbs to CTLA4 plus PD-1 were therapeutically ineffective, combining the 2 of them with intraperitoneal cisplatin, 10 mg/kg, induced long-term complete tumor regression in most mice with small TC1 tumors and the therapeutic efficacy against larger tumors improved by administrating cisplatin together with the 3 or 4 mAb combination.

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