Although an immune response to tumors may be generated using vaccines, so far, this approach has only shown minimal clinical success. This is attributed to the tendency of cancer to escape immune surveillance via multiple immune suppressive mechanisms. Successful cancer immunotherapy requires targeting these inhibitory mechanisms along with enhancement of antigen-specific immune responses to promote sustained tumor-specific immunity. Here, we evaluated the effect of indoximod, an inhibitor of the immunosuppressive indoleamine-(2,3)-dioxygenase (IDO) pathway, on antitumor efficacy of anti-OX40 agonist in the context of vaccine in the IDO TC-1 tumor model. We demonstrate that although the addition of anti-OX40 to the vaccine moderately enhances therapeutic efficacy, incorporation of indoximod into this treatment leads to enhanced tumor regression and cure of established tumors in 60% of treated mice. We show that the mechanisms by which the IDO inhibitor leads to this therapeutic potency include (i) an increment of vaccine-induced tumor-infiltrating effector T cells that is facilitated by anti-OX40 and (ii) a decrease of IDO enzyme activity produced by nontumor cells within the tumor microenvironment that results in enhancement of the specificity and the functionality of vaccine-induced effector T cells. Our findings suggest a translatable strategy to enhance the overall efficacy of cancer immunotherapy.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
M. Mkrtichyan is a scientist at FivePrime Therapeutics Inc. J.E. Janik is executive director at Incyte. S.N. Khleif reports receiving a commercial research grant from MedImmune and is a consultant/advisory board member for New-Link. No potential conflicts of interest were disclosed by the other authors.
© 2018 American Association for Cancer Research.