CD25 is expressed at high levels on regulatory T (Treg) cells and was initially proposed as a target for cancer immunotherapy. However, anti-CD25 antibodies have displayed limited activity against established tumors. We demonstrated that CD25 expression is largely restricted to tumor-infiltrating Treg cells in mice and humans. While existing anti-CD25 antibodies were observed to deplete Treg cells in the periphery, upregulation of the inhibitory Fc gamma receptor (FcγR) IIb at the tumor site prevented intra-tumoral Treg cell depletion, which may underlie the lack of anti-tumor activity previously observed in pre-clinical models. Use of an anti-CD25 antibody with enhanced binding to activating FcγRs led to effective depletion of tumor-infiltrating Treg cells, increased effector to Treg cell ratios, and improved control of established tumors. Combination with anti-programmed cell death protein-1 antibodies promoted complete tumor rejection, demonstrating the relevance of CD25 as a therapeutic target and promising substrate for future combination approaches in immune-oncology.
Anti-CD25 antibodies have displayed only modest therapeutic activity against established tumors. Arce Vargas et al. demonstrate that existing anti-CD25 antibodies fail to deplete intra-tumoral Treg cells due to upregulation of FcγRIIb within tumors. Fc-optimized anti-CD25 mediates effective depletion of tumor-infiltrating Treg cells and synergizes with PD-1 blockade to promote tumor eradication.