Background: We previously demonstrated that in addition to generating an antigen-specific immune response, Listeria monocytogenes (Lm)-based immunotherapy significantly reduces the ratio of regulatory T cells (Tregs)/CD4+ and myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) in the tumor microenvironment. Since Lm-based immunotherapy is able to inhibit the immune suppressive environment, we hypothesized that combining this treatment with agonist antibody to a co-stimulatory receptor that would further boost the effector arm of immunity will result in significant improvement of anti-tumor efficacy of treatment. Methods: Here we tested the immune and therapeutic efficacy of Listeria-based immunotherapy combination with agonist antibody to glucocorticoid-induced tumor necrosis factor receptor-related protein (GITR) in TC-1 mouse tumor model. We evaluated the potency of combination on tumor growth and survival of treated animals and profiled tumor microenvironment for effector and suppressor cell populations. Results: We demonstrate that combination of Listeria-based immunotherapy with agonist antibody to GITR synergizes to improve immune and therapeutic efficacy of treatment in a mouse tumor model. We show that this combinational treatment leads to significant inhibition of tumor-growth, prolongs survival and leads to complete regression of established tumors in 60% of treated animals. We determined that this therapeutic benefit of combinational treatment is due to a significant increase in tumor infiltrating effector CD4+ and CD8+ T cells along with a decrease of inhibitory cells. Conclusion: To our knowledge, this is the first study that exploits Lm-based immunotherapy combined with agonist anti-GITR antibody as a potent treatment strategy that simultaneously targets both the effector and suppressor arms of the immune system, leading to significantly improved anti-tumor efficacy. We believe that our findings depicted in this manuscript provide a promising and translatable strategy that can enhance the overall efficacy of cancer immunotherapy.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2017 The Author(s).
- Anti-GITR antibody
- Immune tolerance
- Listeria vaccine