Scientific publications

Synergistic effects of CTLA-4 blockade with tremelimumab and elimination of regulatory T lymphocytes in vitro and in vivo

Jul 15, 2011 | Magazine: International Journal of Cancer

Suarez N, Alfaro C, Dubrot J, Palazon A, Bolaños E, Erro L, Hervas-Stubbs S, Martinez-Forero I, Morales-Kastresana A, Martin-Algarra S, Sangro B, Lecanda F, Perez-Gracia JL, Gonzalez A, Melero I.
Biochemistry Department, Clínica Universidad de Navarra, Pamplona, Spain


Abstract

Anti-CTLA-4 monoclonal antibodies (mAb) that block the interaction of CTLA-4 with CD80 and CD86 such as tremelimumab and ipilimumab are currently being tested in the clinic for cancer treatment exploiting their properties to de-repress tumor-specific cellular immunity.

Addition of the fully human anti-CTLA-4 (tremelimumab) to cultures of human T cells with allogenic dendritic cells (DCs) did not increase proliferation. Magnetic bead-mediated elimination of CD4(+) CD25(+) regulatory T cells (T(reg)) before setting up those alloreactive cultures also largely failed to increase primary proliferation. In contrast, predepletion of CD4(+) CD25(+) T(reg) and culture in the presence of tremelimumab synergistically resulted in increased proliferation and DC:T-cell aggregation.

These effects were much more prominent in CD4 than in CD8 T cells. The synergy mechanism can be traced to enhanced CTLA-4 expression in effector cells as a result of T(reg) elimination, thereby offering more targets to the blocking antibody. Human T cells and allogenic DCs (derived both from healthy donors and advanced cancer patients) were coinjected in the peritoneum of Rag2(-/-) IL-2R?(-/-) mice. In these conditions, tremelimumab injected intravenously did not significantly enhance alloreactive proliferation unless T(reg) cells had been predepleted.

Synergistic effects in vivo were again largely restricted to the CD4 T-cell compartment. In addition, T(reg) depletion and CTLA-4 blockade synergistically enhanced specific cytotoxicity raised in culture against autologous EBV-transformed cell lines. Taken together, these experiments indicate that tremelimumab therapy may benefit from previous or concomitant T(reg) depletion.

CITATION  Int J Cancer. 2011 Jul 15;129(2):374-86. doi:0.1002/ijc.25681