To modulate T-cell function for cancer therapy, one challenge is to selectively attenuate regulatory but not conventional CD4+ T-cell subsets [regulatory T cell (Treg) and conventional T cell (Tconv)]. In this study, we show how a functional dichotomy in Class IA PI3K isoforms in these two subsets of CD4+ T cells can be exploited to target Treg while leaving Tconv intact. Studies employing isoform-specific PI3K inhibitors and a PI3Kδ-deficient mouse strain revealed that PI3Kα and PI3Kβ were functionally redundant with PI3Kδ in Tconv. Conversely, PI3Kδ was functionally critical in Treg, acting there to control T-cell receptor signaling, cell proliferation, and survival. Notably, in a murine model of lung cancer, coadministration of a PI3Kδ-specific inhibitor with a tumor-specific vaccine decreased numbers of suppressive Treg and increased numbers of vaccine-induced CD8 T cells within the tumor microenvironment, eliciting potent antitumor efficacy. Overall, our results offer a mechanistic rationale to employ PI3Kδ inhibitors to selectively target Treg and improve cancer immunotherapy.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2017 American Association for Cancer Research.