Jon M Wigginton

National Cancer Institute (USA), Maryland, United States

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Publications (63)375.56 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Programmed cell death 1 (PD-1) is an inhibitory receptor expressed by activated T cells that downmodulates effector functions and limits the generation of immune memory. PD-1 blockade can mediate tumor regression in a substantial proportion of patients with melanoma, but it is not known whether this is associated with extended survival or maintenance of response after treatment is discontinued. Patients with advanced melanoma (N = 107) enrolled between 2008 and 2012 received intravenous nivolumab in an outpatient setting every 2 weeks for up to 96 weeks and were observed for overall survival, long-term safety, and response duration after treatment discontinuation. Median overall survival in nivolumab-treated patients (62% with two to five prior systemic therapies) was 16.8 months, and 1- and 2-year survival rates were 62% and 43%, respectively. Among 33 patients with objective tumor regressions (31%), the Kaplan-Meier estimated median response duration was 2 years. Seventeen patients discontinued therapy for reasons other than disease progression, and 12 (71%) of 17 maintained responses off-therapy for at least 16 weeks (range, 16 to 56+ weeks). Objective response and toxicity rates were similar to those reported previously; in an extended analysis of all 306 patients treated on this trial (including those with other cancer types), exposure-adjusted toxicity rates were not cumulative. Overall survival following nivolumab treatment in patients with advanced treatment-refractory melanoma compares favorably with that in literature studies of similar patient populations. Responses were durable and persisted after drug discontinuation. Long-term safety was acceptable. Ongoing randomized clinical trials will further assess the impact of nivolumab therapy on overall survival in patients with metastatic melanoma.
    Journal of Clinical Oncology 03/2014; · 18.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: RAF inhibitors selectively block ERK signaling in BRAF-mutant melanomas and have defined a genotype-guided approach to care for this disease. RAF inhibitors have the opposite effect in BRAF wild-type tumor cells, where they cause hyperactivation of ERK signaling. Here, we predict that RAF inhibitors can enhance T cell activation, based upon the observation that these agents paradoxically activate ERK signaling in BRAF wild-type cells. To test this hypothesis, we have evaluated the effects of the RAF inhibitor BMS908662 on T cell activation and signaling in vitro and in vivo. We observe that T cell activation is enhanced in a concentration-dependent manner and that this effect corresponds with increased ERK signaling, consistent with paradoxical activation of the pathway. Furthermore, we find that the combination of BMS908662 with CTLA-4 blockade in vivo potentiates T cell expansion, corresponding with hyperactivation of ERK signaling in T cells detectable ex vivo. Lastly, this combination demonstrates superior anti-tumor activity, compared to either agent alone, in two transplantable tumor models. This study provides clear evidence that RAF inhibitors can modulate T cell function by potentiating T cell activation in vitro and in vivo. Paradoxical activation of ERK signaling in T cells offers one mechanism to explain the enhanced antitumor activity seen when RAF inhibitors are combined with CTLA-4 blockade in preclinical models.
    Cancer immunology research. 01/2014; 2(1).
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    ABSTRACT: Background In patients with melanoma, ipilimumab (an antibody against cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated antigen 4 [CTLA-4]) prolongs overall survival, and nivolumab (an antibody against the programmed death 1 [PD-1] receptor) produced durable tumor regression in a phase 1 trial. On the basis of their distinct immunologic mechanisms of action and supportive preclinical data, we conducted a phase 1 trial of nivolumab combined with ipilimumab in patients with advanced melanoma. Methods We administered intravenous doses of nivolumab and ipilimumab in patients every 3 weeks for 4 doses, followed by nivolumab alone every 3 weeks for 4 doses (concurrent regimen). The combined treatment was subsequently administered every 12 weeks for up to 8 doses. In a sequenced regimen, patients previously treated with ipilimumab received nivolumab every 2 weeks for up to 48 doses. Results A total of 53 patients received concurrent therapy with nivolumab and ipilimumab, and 33 received sequenced treatment. The objective-response rate (according to modified World Health Organization criteria) for all patients in the concurrent-regimen group was 40%. Evidence of clinical activity (conventional, unconfirmed, or immune-related response or stable disease for ≥24 weeks) was observed in 65% of patients. At the maximum doses that were associated with an acceptable level of adverse events (nivolumab at a dose of 1 mg per kilogram of body weight and ipilimumab at a dose of 3 mg per kilogram), 53% of patients had an objective response, all with tumor reduction of 80% or more. Grade 3 or 4 adverse events related to therapy occurred in 53% of patients in the concurrent-regimen group but were qualitatively similar to previous experience with monotherapy and were generally reversible. Among patients in the sequenced-regimen group, 18% had grade 3 or 4 adverse events related to therapy and the objective-response rate was 20%. Conclusions Concurrent therapy with nivolumab and ipilimumab had a manageable safety profile and provided clinical activity that appears to be distinct from that in published data on monotherapy, with rapid and deep tumor regression in a substantial proportion of patients. (Funded by Bristol-Myers Squibb and Ono Pharmaceutical; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01024231 .).
    New England Journal of Medicine 06/2013; · 51.66 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Blockade of programmed death 1 (PD-1), an inhibitory receptor expressed by T cells, can overcome immune resistance. We assessed the antitumor activity and safety of BMS-936558, an antibody that specifically blocks PD-1. We enrolled patients with advanced melanoma, non-small-cell lung cancer, castration-resistant prostate cancer, or renal-cell or colorectal cancer to receive anti-PD-1 antibody at a dose of 0.1 to 10.0 mg per kilogram of body weight every 2 weeks. Response was assessed after each 8-week treatment cycle. Patients received up to 12 cycles until disease progression or a complete response occurred. A total of 296 patients received treatment through February 24, 2012. Grade 3 or 4 drug-related adverse events occurred in 14% of patients; there were three deaths from pulmonary toxicity. No maximum tolerated dose was defined. Adverse events consistent with immune-related causes were observed. Among 236 patients in whom response could be evaluated, objective responses (complete or partial responses) were observed in those with non-small-cell lung cancer, melanoma, or renal-cell cancer. Cumulative response rates (all doses) were 18% among patients with non-small-cell lung cancer (14 of 76 patients), 28% among patients with melanoma (26 of 94 patients), and 27% among patients with renal-cell cancer (9 of 33 patients). Responses were durable; 20 of 31 responses lasted 1 year or more in patients with 1 year or more of follow-up. To assess the role of intratumoral PD-1 ligand (PD-L1) expression in the modulation of the PD-1-PD-L1 pathway, immunohistochemical analysis was performed on pretreatment tumor specimens obtained from 42 patients. Of 17 patients with PD-L1-negative tumors, none had an objective response; 9 of 25 patients (36%) with PD-L1-positive tumors had an objective response (P=0.006). Anti-PD-1 antibody produced objective responses in approximately one in four to one in five patients with non-small-cell lung cancer, melanoma, or renal-cell cancer; the adverse-event profile does not appear to preclude its use. Preliminary data suggest a relationship between PD-L1 expression on tumor cells and objective response. (Funded by Bristol-Myers Squibb and others; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00730639.).
    New England Journal of Medicine 06/2012; 366(26):2443-54. · 51.66 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Programmed death 1 (PD-1) protein, a T-cell coinhibitory receptor, and one of its ligands, PD-L1, play a pivotal role in the ability of tumor cells to evade the host's immune system. Blockade of interactions between PD-1 and PD-L1 enhances immune function in vitro and mediates antitumor activity in preclinical models. In this multicenter phase 1 trial, we administered intravenous anti-PD-L1 antibody (at escalating doses ranging from 0.3 to 10 mg per kilogram of body weight) to patients with selected advanced cancers. Anti-PD-L1 antibody was administered every 14 days in 6-week cycles for up to 16 cycles or until the patient had a complete response or confirmed disease progression. As of February 24, 2012, a total of 207 patients--75 with non-small-cell lung cancer, 55 with melanoma, 18 with colorectal cancer, 17 with renal-cell cancer, 17 with ovarian cancer, 14 with pancreatic cancer, 7 with gastric cancer, and 4 with breast cancer--had received anti-PD-L1 antibody. The median duration of therapy was 12 weeks (range, 2 to 111). Grade 3 or 4 toxic effects that investigators considered to be related to treatment occurred in 9% of patients. Among patients with a response that could be evaluated, an objective response (a complete or partial response) was observed in 9 of 52 patients with melanoma, 2 of 17 with renal-cell cancer, 5 of 49 with non-small-cell lung cancer, and 1 of 17 with ovarian cancer. Responses lasted for 1 year or more in 8 of 16 patients with at least 1 year of follow-up. Antibody-mediated blockade of PD-L1 induced durable tumor regression (objective response rate of 6 to 17%) and prolonged stabilization of disease (rates of 12 to 41% at 24 weeks) in patients with advanced cancers, including non-small-cell lung cancer, melanoma, and renal-cell cancer. (Funded by Bristol-Myers Squibb and others; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00729664.).
    New England Journal of Medicine 06/2012; 366(26):2455-65. · 51.66 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Using two MYCN transgenic mouse strains, we established 10 transplantable neuroblastoma cell lines via serial orthotopic passage in the adrenal gland. Tissue arrays demonstrate that by histochemistry, vascularity, immunohistochemical staining for neuroblastoma markers, catecholamine analysis, and concurrent cDNA microarray analysis, there is a close correspondence between the transplantable lines and the spontaneous tumors. Several genes closely associated with the pathobiology and immune evasion of neuroblastoma, novel targets that warrant evaluation, and decreased expression of tumor suppressor genes are demonstrated. These studies describe a unique and generalizable approach to expand the utility of transgenic models of spontaneous tumor, providing new tools for preclinical investigation.
    Cancer Investigation 06/2012; 30(5):343-63. · 2.24 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Scientific discoveries that provide strong evidence of antitumor effects in preclinical models often encounter significant delays before being tested in patients with cancer. While some of these delays have a scientific basis, others do not. We need to do better. Innovative strategies need to move into early stage clinical trials as quickly as it is safe, and if successful, these therapies should efficiently obtain regulatory approval and widespread clinical application. In late 2009 and 2010 the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC), convened an "Immunotherapy Summit" with representatives from immunotherapy organizations representing Europe, Japan, China and North America to discuss collaborations to improve development and delivery of cancer immunotherapy. One of the concepts raised by SITC and defined as critical by all parties was the need to identify hurdles that impede effective translation of cancer immunotherapy. With consensus on these hurdles, international working groups could be developed to make recommendations vetted by the participating organizations. These recommendations could then be considered by regulatory bodies, governmental and private funding agencies, pharmaceutical companies and academic institutions to facilitate changes necessary to accelerate clinical translation of novel immune-based cancer therapies. The critical hurdles identified by representatives of the collaborating organizations, now organized as the World Immunotherapy Council, are presented and discussed in this report. Some of the identified hurdles impede all investigators; others hinder investigators only in certain regions or institutions or are more relevant to specific types of immunotherapy or first-in-humans studies. Each of these hurdles can significantly delay clinical translation of promising advances in immunotherapy yet if overcome, have the potential to improve outcomes of patients with cancer.
    Journal of Translational Medicine 12/2011; 9(1):214. · 3.46 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To facilitate development of innovative immunotherapy approaches, especially for treatment concepts exploiting the potential benefits of personalized therapy, there is a need to develop and validate tools to identify patients who can benefit from immunotherapy. Despite substantial effort, we do not yet know which parameters of antitumor immunity to measure and which assays are optimal for those measurements. The iSBTc-SITC (International Society for Biological Therapy of Cancer-Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer), FDA (Food and Drug Administration), and NCI (National Cancer Institute) partnered to address these issues for immunotherapy of cancer. Here, we review the major challenges, give examples of approaches and solutions, and present our recommendations. Although specific immune parameters and assays are not yet validated, we recommend following standardized (accurate, precise, and reproducible) protocols and use of functional assays for the primary immunologic readouts of a trial; consideration of central laboratories for immune monitoring of large, multi-institutional trials; and standardized testing of several phenotypic and functional potential potency assays specific to any cellular product. When reporting results, the full QA (quality assessment)/QC (quality control) should be conducted and selected examples of truly representative raw data and assay performance characteristics should be included. Finally, to promote broader analysis of multiple aspects of immunity, and gather data on variability, we recommend that in addition to cells and serum, RNA and DNA samples be banked (under standardized conditions) for later testing. We also recommend that sufficient blood be drawn to allow for planned testing of the primary hypothesis being addressed in the trial, and that additional baseline and posttreatment blood is banked for testing novel hypotheses (or generating new hypotheses) that arise in the field.
    Clinical Cancer Research 05/2011; 17(10):3064-76. · 7.84 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We studied the effectiveness of monoclonal anti-CD40 + cytosine-phosphate-guanosine-containing oligodeoxynucleotide 1826 (CpG-ODN) immunotherapy (IT) in mice treated with multidrug chemotherapy (CT) consisting of vincristine, cyclophosphamide and doxorubicin. Combining CT with IT led to synergistic anti-tumour effects in C57BL/6 mice with established B16 melanoma or 9464D neuroblastoma. CT suppressed the functions of T cells and natural killer (NK) cells, but primed naïve peritoneal macrophages (Mφ) to in vitro stimulation with lipopolysaccharide (LPS), resulting in augmented nitric oxide (NO) production. IT, given after CT, did not restore the responsiveness of T cells and NK cells, but further activated Mφ to secrete NO, interferon-γ (IFN-γ) and interleukin (IL)-12p40 and to suppress the proliferation of tumour cells in vitro. These functional changes were accompanied by immunophenotype alterations on Mφ, including the up-regulation of Gr-1. CD11b(+) F4/80(+) Mφ comprised the major population of B16 tumour-infiltrating leucocytes. CT + IT treatment up-regulated molecules associated with the M1 effector Mφ phenotype [CD40, CD80, CD86, major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II, IFN-γ, tumour necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and IL-12] and down-regulated molecules associated with the M2 inhibitory Mφ phenotype (IL-4Rα, B7-H1, IL-4 and IL-10) on the tumour-associated Mφ compared with untreated controls. Together, the results show that CT and anti-CD40 + CpG-ODN IT synergize in the induction of anti-tumour effects which are associated with the phenotypic repolarization of tumour-associated Mφ.
    Immunology 10/2010; 132(2):226-39. · 3.71 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Supported by the Office of International Affairs, National Cancer Institute (NCI), the "US-Japan Workshop on Immunological Biomarkers in Oncology" was held in March 2009. The workshop was related to a task force launched by the International Society for the Biological Therapy of Cancer (iSBTc) and the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to identify strategies for biomarker discovery and validation in the field of biotherapy. The effort will culminate on October 28th 2009 in the "iSBTc-FDA-NCI Workshop on Prognostic and Predictive Immunologic Biomarkers in Cancer", which will be held in Washington DC in association with the Annual Meeting. The purposes of the US-Japan workshop were a) to discuss novel approaches to enhance the discovery of predictive and/or prognostic markers in cancer immunotherapy; b) to define the state of the science in biomarker discovery and validation. The participation of Japanese and US scientists provided the opportunity to identify shared or discordant themes across the distinct immune genetic background and the diverse prevalence of disease between the two Nations. Converging concepts were identified: enhanced knowledge of interferon-related pathways was found to be central to the understanding of immune-mediated tissue-specific destruction (TSD) of which tumor rejection is a representative facet. Although the expression of interferon-stimulated genes (ISGs) likely mediates the inflammatory process leading to tumor rejection, it is insufficient by itself and the associated mechanisms need to be identified. It is likely that adaptive immune responses play a broader role in tumor rejection than those strictly related to their antigen-specificity; likely, their primary role is to trigger an acute and tissue-specific inflammatory response at the tumor site that leads to rejection upon recruitment of additional innate and adaptive immune mechanisms. Other candidate systemic and/or tissue-specific biomarkers were recognized that might be added to the list of known entities applicable in immunotherapy trials. The need for a systematic approach to biomarker discovery that takes advantage of powerful high-throughput technologies was recognized; it was clear from the current state of the science that immunotherapy is still in a discovery phase and only a few of the current biomarkers warrant extensive validation. It was, finally, clear that, while current technologies have almost limitless potential, inadequate study design, limited standardization and cross-validation among laboratories and suboptimal comparability of data remain major road blocks. The institution of an interactive consortium for high throughput molecular monitoring of clinical trials with voluntary participation might provide cost-effective solutions.
    Journal of Translational Medicine 07/2009; 7:45. · 3.46 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: IL-27 exerts antitumor activity in murine orthotopic neuroblastoma, but only partial antitumor effect in disseminated disease. This study demonstrates that combined treatment with IL-2 and IL-27 induces potent antitumor activity in disseminated neuroblastoma metastasis. Complete durable tumor regression was achieved in 90% of mice bearing metastatic TBJ-IL-27 tumors treated with IL-2 compared with only 40% of mice bearing TBJ-IL-27 tumors alone and 0% of mice bearing TBJ-FLAG tumors with or without IL-2 treatment. Comparable antitumor effects were achieved by IL-27 protein produced upon hydrodynamic IL-27 plasmid DNA delivery when combined with IL-2. Although delivery of IL-27 alone, or in combination with IL-2, mediated pronounced regression of neuroblastoma metastases in the liver, combined delivery of IL-27 and IL-2 was far more effective than IL-27 alone against bone marrow metastases. Combined exposure to IL-27 produced by tumor and IL-2 synergistically enhances the generation of tumor-specific CTL reactivity. Potentiation of CTL reactivity by IL-27 occurs via mechanisms that appear to be engaged during both the initial sensitization and effector phase. Potent immunologic memory responses are generated in mice cured of their disseminated disease by combined delivery of IL-27 and IL-2, and depletion of CD8(+) ablates the antitumor efficacy of this combination. Moreover, IL-27 delivery can inhibit the expansion of CD4(+)CD25(+)Foxp3(+) regulatory and IL-17-expressing CD4(+) cells that are otherwise observed among tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes from mice treated with IL-2. These studies demonstrate that IL-27 and IL-2 synergistically induce complete tumor regression and long-term survival in mice bearing widely metastatic neuroblastoma tumors.
    The Journal of Immunology 05/2009; 182(7):4328-38. · 5.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The International Society for the Biological Therapy of Cancer (iSBTc) has initiated in collaboration with the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) a programmatic look at innovative avenues for the identification of relevant parameters to assist clinical and basic scientists who study the natural course of host/tumor interactions or their response to immune manipulation. The task force has two primary goals: 1) identify best practices of standardized and validated immune monitoring procedures and assays to promote inter-trial comparisons and 2) develop strategies for the identification of novel biomarkers that may enhance our understating of principles governing human cancer immune biology and, consequently, implement their clinical application. Two working groups were created that will report the developed best practices at an NCI/FDA/iSBTc sponsored workshop tied to the annual meeting of the iSBTc to be held in Washington DC in the Fall of 2009. This foreword provides an overview of the task force and invites feedback from readers that might be incorporated in the discussions and in the final document.
    Journal of Translational Medicine 01/2009; 6:81. · 3.46 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cancer is a multi-faceted disease comprising complex interactions between neoplastic and normal cells. Over the past decade, there has been considerable progress in defining the molecular, cellular and environmental contributions to the pathophysiology of tumor development. Despite these advances, the conventional treatment of patients still generally involves surgery, radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy, and the clinical outcome for many of these efforts remains unsatisfactory. Recent studies have highlighted the feasibility of using immunotherapeutic approaches that seek to enhance host immune responses to developing tumors. These strategies include immunomodulatory cytokines, with TNF-alpha, type I or type II IFNs, IL-2, IL-12, IL-15 and IL-18 being among the most potent inducers of anti-tumor activity in a variety of preclinical studies. More recently, some exciting new cytokines have been characterized, such as IL-21, IL-23, IL-27 and their immunomodulatory and antitumor effects in vitro and in vivo suggest that they may have considerable promise for future immunotherapy protocols. The promise of cytokine therapy does indeed derive from the identification of these novel cytokines but even more fundamentally, the field is greatly benefiting from the ever-expanding amount of preclinical data that convincingly demonstrate synergistic and/or novel biologic effects, which may be achieved through the use of several combinations of cytokines with complementary immune-stimulating capabilities. One cytokine in particular, IL-12, holds considerable promise by virtue of the fact that it plays a central role in regulating both innate and adaptive immune responses, can by itself induce potent anticancer effects, and synergizes with several other cytokines for increased immunoregulatory and antitumor activities. This review discusses the antitumor activity of IL-12, with a special emphasis on its ability to synergize with other cytokines for enhancement of immune effector cell populations and regulation of host-tumor cell interactions and the overall tumor microenvironment.
    Expert opinion on biological therapy 12/2007; 7(11):1705-21. · 3.22 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This paper covers highlights from the International Society for Biological Therapy of Cancer (iSBTc) 21st Annual Meeting, including the associated iSBTc Primer on Tumor Immunology and Biological Therapy, and the iSBTc Mini-Symposium on the Biologic Effects of Targeted Therapies. The programs ran from 26 – 29 October 2006 and were held at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Los Angeles, CA, USA. Focussed on the varying aspects of biological cancer therapies and tumor immunology, the iSBTc 21st Annual Meeting featured 131 scientific posters, 29 oral abstract presentations, 20 invited speaker lectures and 2 keynote addresses. The 21st Annual Meeting, Primer and Mini-Symposium were attended by > 400 clinicians and basic scientists from academia, industry and government. The iSBTc was founded in 1984 as the Society for Biological Therapy with 40 charter members. At present, the Society has > 500 members consisting primarily of MDs, PhDs, RNs and corporate representatives. Scientific and business meetings have been held annually since the Society’s first Annual Meeting in 1986.
    02/2007; 7(3):419-422.
  • Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 12/2006; 795(1):266 - 274. · 4.38 Impact Factor
  • Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 12/2006; 795(1):434 - 439. · 4.38 Impact Factor
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    Journla of Immunotherapy 10/2006; 29(6):642. · 3.46 Impact Factor
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    Journla of Immunotherapy 10/2006; 29(6):682-683. · 3.46 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Human neuroblastomas possess several mechanisms of self-defense that may confer an ability to resist apoptosis and contribute to the observed difficulty in treating these tumors in the clinical setting. These molecular alterations may include defects in proapoptotic genes as well as the overexpression of prosurvival factors, such as Akt among others. As a key regulator of the turnover of proteins that modulate the cell cycle and mechanisms of apoptosis, the proteasome could serve as an important target for the treatment of neuroblastoma. The present studies provide the first evidence that bortezomib, a newly approved inhibitor of proteasome function, inhibits phosphorylation of Akt, induces the translocation of proapoptotic Bid, and potently enhances the apoptosis of murine neuroblastoma tumor cells in vitro. Furthermore, in that inhibitors of the Akt pathway can sensitize otherwise resistant TBJ/Neuro-2a cells to apoptosis induced by IFN-gamma plus TNF-alpha, we hypothesized that bortezomib also could sensitize these cells to IFN-gamma plus TNF-alpha. We demonstrate for the first time that bortezomib not only up-regulates the expression of receptors for IFN-gamma and TNF-alpha on both TBJ neuroblastoma and EOMA endothelial cell lines, but also markedly enhances the sensitivity of these cells to apoptosis induced by IFN-gamma plus TNF-alpha in vitro. Furthermore, bortezomib enhances the in vivo antitumor efficacy of IFN-gamma/TNF-alpha-inducing cytokines, including both IL-2 and IL-12 in mice bearing well-established primary and/or metastatic TBJ neuroblastoma tumors. Collectively, these studies suggest that bortezomib could be used therapeutically to enhance the proapoptotic and overall antitumor activity of systemic cytokine therapy in children with advanced neuroblastoma.
    The Journal of Immunology 06/2006; 176(10):6302-12. · 5.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Patients with advanced neuroblastoma have a poor prognosis. The antiapoptotic protein Akt has been implicated as a possible mediator of the resistance of human neuroblastoma cells to apoptosis; the proapoptotic protein Bid, is inhibited by activated Akt. Neuroblastoma has demonstrated responsiveness to immunotherapeutic approaches in preclinical studies, prompting investigation of new therapeutic strategies based on potentiation of the host immune response, including the use of systemic cytokines. We examined the antitumor efficacy and mechanisms of action of the central immunoregulatory cytokine interleukin-12 (IL-12) in mice bearing established orthotopic neuroblastoma tumors derived from murine TBJ and Neuro-2a cells. Cohorts of mice (10 mice/group) bearing established orthotopic neuroblastoma tumors were injected intraperitoneally with IL-12 or vehicle and monitored for survival. IL-12-induced apoptosis within the tumor microenvironment was investigated using ribonuclease protection assays, nuclear staining, and electron microscopy. Protein expression was determined via Western blot analysis and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. Confocal microscopy was used to examine the distribution of overexpressed Bid-enhanced green fluorescent protein fusion protein (Bid-EGFP) in TBJ cells. All statistical tests were two-sided. IL-12 induced complete tumor regression and long-term survival of 8 (80%) of 10 mice bearing established neuroblastoma tumors compared with 1 (10%) of 10 control mice (P = .0055) and profound tumor cell apoptosis in vivo despite the fact that TBJ and Neuro-2a cells were resistant to receptor-mediated apoptosis in vitro. These cells expressed high levels of phosphorylated Akt, a key prosurvival molecule, and Akt inhibitors sensitized neuroblastoma cells to apoptosis mediated by IL-12-inducible cytokines including tumor necrosis factor-alpha and interferon-gamma in vitro. IL-12 increased the expression of proapoptotic genes and decreased Akt phosphorylation within established TBJ tumors in conjunction with activation and subcellular translocation of Bid. Our results suggest that IL-12 overcomes a potentially critical mechanism of tumor self-defense in vivo by inhibiting Akt activity and imply that IL-12 may possess unique therapeutic activity against tumors that express high levels of activated Akt.
    CancerSpectrum Knowledge Environment 03/2006; 98(3):190-202. · 14.07 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

2k Citations
375.56 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 1996–2012
    • National Cancer Institute (USA)
      • • Pediatric Oncology Branch
      • • Laboratory of Experimental Immunology
      Maryland, United States
  • 2009
    • Bristol-Myers Squibb
      New York City, New York, United States
  • 1998–2009
    • Leidos Biomedical Research
      Maryland, United States
  • 2003
    • University of Nevada School of Medicine
      Reno, Nevada, United States
  • 1999–2002
    • National Institutes of Health
      • Branch of Pediatric Oncology
      Bethesda, MD, United States