Late administration of murine CTLA-4 blockade prolongs CD8-mediated anti-tumor effects following stimulatory cancer immunotherapy

Gail D. Sckisel, Annie Mirsoian, Myriam N. Bouchlaka, Julia K. Tietze, Mingyi Chen, Bruce R. Blazar, William J. Murphy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


We have demonstrated that immunostimulatory therapies such as interleukin-2 (IL-2) and anti-CD40 (αCD40) can be combined to deliver synergistic anti-tumor effects. While this strategy has shown success, efficacy varies depending on a number of factors including tumor type and severe toxicities can be seen. We sought to determine whether blockade of negative regulators such as cytotoxic T lymphocyte antigen-4 (CTLA-4) could simultaneously prolong CD8+ T cell responses and augment T cell anti-tumor effects. We devised a regimen in which anti-CTLA-4 was administered late so as to delay contraction and minimize toxicities. This late administration both enhanced and prolonged CD8 T cell activation without the need for additional IL-2. The quality of the T cell response was improved with increased frequency of effector/effector memory phenotype cells along with improved lytic ability and bystander expansion. This enhanced CD8 response translated to improved anti-tumor responses both at the primary and metastatic sites. Importantly, toxicities were not exacerbated with combination. This study provides a platform for rational design of immunotherapy combinations to maximize anti-tumor immunity while minimizing toxicities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1541-1552
Number of pages12
JournalCancer Immunology, Immunotherapy
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to acknowledge both Monja Dawson-Metcalf and Weihong Ma for their excellent technical assistance. We would also like to acknowledge A. A. Hurwitz for helpful discussions and guidance with the preparation of this manuscript. This work was funded by a Grant from the NIH R01 CA095572.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.


  • Anti-CTLA-4
  • Bystander activation
  • Checkpoint blockade
  • Immunotherapy
  • Toxicities


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