Recent advances in the understanding of innate immunity suggest that an orchestrated sequence of events is required to elicit a productive immune response against cancer. We studied the systemic administration of the Toll-like receptor 7 agonist 852A, a small-molecule imidazoquinoline, in patients with advanced cancer. Preclinical studies showed that 852A stimulates plasmacytoid dendritic cells to produce multiple cytokines, such as IFN-alpha, interleukin-1 receptor antagonist, and IFN-inducible protein-10. Our goal was to define the tolerated dose, pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, and immunologic effects of 852A in humans.
Eligible adult patients with refractory solid organ tumors received i.v. 852A thrice weekly for 2 weeks. Patients who had responses or stable disease were eligible for additional cycles.
Twenty-five patients (median age, 55.0 years; 72% male) were enrolled in six cohorts at dose levels of 0.15 to 2.0 mg/m(2). Serum drug levels showed dose proportionality and no evidence of drug accumulation. The maximum tolerated dose was 1.2 mg/m(2); higher doses were limited by fatigue and constitutional symptoms. Increases in IFN-alpha, interleukin-1 receptor antagonist, and IFN-inducible protein-10, immunologic activity, and clinical symptoms were observed in all patients receiving dose levels > or =0.6 mg/m(2). Significant correlations were found between pharmacodynamic biomarkers and pharmacokinetic variables, and an objective clinical response was seen.
852A was safely administered i.v. at doses up to 1.2 mg/m(2) thrice weekly for 2 weeks with transient or reversible adverse effects. This novel Toll-like receptor 7 agonist is biologically active and holds promise for stimulating innate immune responses. Future trials are warranted to assess its therapeutic role in patients with cancer.
"Although there is precedent for TLR7 agonists to modulate allergic reactions, an issue with currently available TLR7 agonists is that, although they are safe and tolerated, they induce systemic cytokines resulting in undesirable side effects. In clinical studies, the TLR7 agonists resiquimod (Pockros et al., 2007), isatoribine (Horsmans et al., 2005) and PF-4878691 (852A) (Fidock et al., 2011) have been tested for the treatment of hepatitis C and 852A (Dudek et al., 2007) has been tested in cancer patients. While demonstrating efficacy, levels of compound in the plasma were linked to cytokine induction and side effects included fever, fatigue, headache, shivering and influenza-like symptoms. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE Toll-like receptor 7 (TLR7) agonists have potential in the treatment of allergic diseases. However, the therapeutic utility of current low molecular weight TLR7 agonists is limited by their systemic activity, resulting in unwanted side effects. We have developed a series of TLR7-selective 'antedrugs', including SM-324405 and AZ12441970, which contain an ester group rapidly cleaved in plasma to reduce systemic exposure. EXPERIMENTAL APPROACH Agonist activity at TLR7 of the parent ester and acid metabolite was assessed in vitro in reporter cells and primary cells from a number of species. Pharmacokinetics following a dose to the lungs was assessed in mice and efficacy evaluated in vivo with a mouse allergic airway model. KEY RESULTS Compounds were selective agonists for TLR7 with no crossover to TLR8 and were metabolically unstable in plasma with the acid metabolite showing substantially reduced activity in a number of assays. The compounds inhibited IL-5 production and induced IFN-α, which mediated the inhibition of IL-5. When dosed into the lung the compounds were rapidly metabolized and short-term exposure of the 'antedrug' was sufficient to activate the IFN pathway. AZ12441970 showed efficacy in a mouse allergic airway model with minimal induction of systemic IFN-α, consistent with the low plasma levels of compound. CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS The biological and metabolic profiles of these TLR7-selective agonist 'antedrug' compounds are consistent with a new class of compound that could be administered locally for the treatment of allergic diseases, while reducing the risk of systemic side effects. LINKED ARTICLE This article is commented on by Kaufman and Jacoby, pp. 569-572 of this issue. To view this commentary visit http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1476-5381.2011.01758.x.
British Journal of Pharmacology 11/2011; 166(2):573-86. DOI:10.1111/j.1476-5381.2011.01790.x · 4.84 Impact Factor
"The potency and TLR7 vs. TLR8 selectivity profiles of the IRMs used in this study were previously demonstrated [6,19]. At the concentrations used, 852A preferentially activates NF-κB through TLR7, 3M-002 preferentially activates NF-κB through TLR8, and 3M-003 activates NF-κB through both TLR7 and TLR8. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Human B cells and plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDC) are the only cells known to express both TLR7 and TLR9. Plasmacytoid dendritic cells are the primary IFN-alpha producing cells in response to TLR7 and TLR9 agonists. The direct effects of TLR7 stimulation on human B cells is less understood. The objective of this study was to compare the effects of TLR7 and TLR9 stimulation on human B cell function.
Gene expression and protein production of cytokines, chemokines, various B cell activation markers, and immunoglobulins were evaluated. Purified human CD19+ B cells (99.9%, containing both naïve and memory populations) from peripheral blood were stimulated with a TLR7-selective agonist (852A), TLR7/8 agonist (3M-003), or TLR9 selective agonist CpG ODN (CpG2006). TLR7 and TLR9 agonists similarly modulated the expression of cytokine and chemokine genes (IL-6, MIP1 alpha, MIP1 beta, TNF alpha and LTA), co-stimulatory molecules (CD80, CD40 and CD58), Fc receptors (CD23, CD32), anti-apoptotic genes (BCL2L1), certain transcription factors (MYC, TCFL5), and genes critical for B cell proliferation and differentiation (CD72, IL21R). Both agonists also induced protein expression of the above cytokines and chemokines. Additionally, TLR7 and TLR9 agonists induced the production of IgM and IgG. A TLR8-selective agonist was comparatively ineffective at stimulating purified human B cells.
These results demonstrate that despite their molecular differences, the TLR7 and TLR9 agonists induce similar genes and proteins in purified human B cells.
"Synthetic imidazoquinoline-like molecules exemplified by imiquimod (R-837) and resiquimod (R-848) have been identified as TLR7 agonists based on their inability to induce the cytokines TNFα, IL-12, or IFNα in TLR7-deficient mice . In HEK293 cells transfected with TLR7 or TLR8, imiquimod and 3M-852A have been shown to posses a much higher potency at activating NFκB through TLR7 compared to TLR8, thus showing selectivity for TLR7 [14,15]. Resiquimod on the other hand activated NFκB through TLR7 and TLR8 at comparable levels  as did 3M-011 . "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Plasmacytoid Dendritic Cells (pDC) comprise approximately 0.2 to 0.8% of the blood mononuclear cells and are the primary type 1 interferon (IFN), producing cells, secreting high levels of IFN in response to viral infections. Plasmacytoid dendritic cells express predominantly TLRs 7 & 9, making them responsive to ssRNA and CpG DNA. The objective of this study was to evaluate the molecular and cellular processes altered upon stimulation of pDC with synthetic TLR 7 and TLR 7/8 agonists. To this end, we evaluated changes in global gene expression upon stimulation of 99.9% pure human pDC with the TLR7 selective agonists 3M-852A, and the TLR7/8 agonist 3M-011.
Global gene expression was evaluated using the Affymetrix U133A GeneChip(R) and selected genes were confirmed using real time TaqMan(R) RTPCR. The gene expression profiles of the two agonists were similar indicating that changes in gene expression were solely due to stimulation through TLR7. Type 1 interferons were among the highest induced genes and included IFNB and multiple IFNalpha subtypes, IFNalpha2, alpha5, alpha6, alpha8, alpha1/13, alpha10, alpha14, alpha16, alpha17, alpha21. A large number of chemokines and co-stimulatory molecules as well as the chemokine receptor CCR7 were increased in expression indicating maturation and change in the migratory ability of pDC. Induction of an antiviral state was shown by the expression of several IFN-inducible genes with known anti-viral activity. Further analysis of the data using the pathway analysis tool MetaCore gave insight into molecular and cellular processes impacted. The analysis revealed transcription networks that show increased expression of signaling components in TLR7 and TLR3 pathways, and the cytosolic anti-viral pathway regulated by RIG1 and MDA5, suggestive of optimization of an antiviral state targeted towards RNA viruses. The analysis also revealed increased expression of a network of genes important for protein ISGylation as well as an anti-apoptotic and pro-survival gene expression program.
Thus this study demonstrates that as early as 4 hr post stimulation, synthetic TLR7 agonists induce a complex transcription network responsible for activating pDC for innate anti-viral immune responses with optimized responses towards RNA viruses, increased co-stimulatory capacity, and increased survival.
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