[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Inhibitory receptors (iRs) are frequently associated with “T cell exhaustion”. However, the expression of iRs is also dependent on T cell differentiation and activation. Therapeutic blockade of various iRs, also referred to as "checkpoint blockade", is showing unprecendented results in the treatment of cancer patients. Consequently, the clinical potential in this field is broad, calling for increased research efforts and rapid refinements in the understanding of iR function. In this review we provide an overview on the significance of iR expression for the interpretation of T cell functionality. We summarize how iRs have been strongly associated with "T cell exhaustion" and illustrate the parallel evidence on the importance of T cell differentiation and activation for the expression of iRs. The differentiation subsets of CD8 T cells (naïve, effector and memory cells) show broad and inherent differences in iR expression, while activation leads to strong upregulation of iRs. Therefore, changes in iR expression during an immune response are often concomitant with T cell differentiation and activation. Sustained expression of iRs in chronic infection and in the tumor microenvironment likely reflects a specialized T cell differentiation. In these situations of prolonged antigen exposure and chronic inflammation, T cells are “downtuned” in order to limit tissue damage. Furthermore, we review the novel “checkpoint blockade” treatments and the potential of iRs as biomarkers. Finally, we provide recommendations for the immune monitoring of patients to interpret iR expression data combined with parameters of activation and differentiation of T cells.
Frontiers in Immunology 05/2015; 6. DOI:10.3389/fimmu.2015.00310
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In immune intervention trials, the comprehensive investigation of immunogenicity or T-cell epitope-mapping is challenging especially when a large set of epitopes needs to be screened and limited sample material is available. To this end, T-cell responses are often monitored using peptide pools. Here, we assessed the magnitude and sensitivity of detection of antigen-specific CD8 and CD4 T-cells using a single peptide alone or mixed into large pools. Interestingly the magnitude of ex-vivo anti-viral and anti-tumor T cell-responses was identical irrespective of the presence and number of irrelevant peptides, in different functional assays with PBMCs from healthy donors and cancer patients. Moreover, the presence of up to 300 irrelevant peptides did not affect the threshold of responsiveness of antigen-specific CD8 T-cells to single cognate peptides. These data demonstrate the relevance of using very large peptide pools for the sensitive and specific immune-monitoring of epitope-specific T-cells in natural or immune-modulated context.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The 29th annual meeting of the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) was held November 7-9, 2014 in National Harbor, MD and was organized by Dr. Arthur A. Hurwitz (National Cancer Institute), Dr. Kim A. Margolin (Stanford University), Dr. Daniel E. Speiser (Ludwig Center for Cancer Research, University of Lausanne) and Dr. Walter J. Urba (Earle A. Chiles Research Institute, Providence Cancer Center). This meeting included over 1,600 registered participants from 28 separate countries, making it the largest SITC meeting held to date. It highlighted significant worldwide progress in the development and application of cancer immunology to the practice of clinical oncology, including advances in diagnosis, prognosis and therapy, utilizing several immunological pathways and mechanisms for a variety of oncologic conditions. Presentations and posters demonstrated that many concepts that had been pursued preclinically in the past are now being translated into clinical practice, with clear benefits for patients.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Enhancing immune responses with immune-modulatory monoclonal antibodies directed to inhibitory immune receptors is a promising modality in cancer therapy. Clinical efficacy has been demonstrated with antibodies blocking inhibitory immune checkpoints such as cytotoxic T lymphocyte-associated antigen 4 (CTLA-4) or PD-1/PD-L1. Treatment with ipilimumab, a fully human CTLA-4-specific mAb, showed durable clinical efficacy in metastatic melanoma; its mechanism of action is, however, only partially understood. This is a study of 29 patients with advanced cutaneous melanoma treated with ipilimumab. We analyzed peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and matched melanoma metastases from 15 patients responding and 14 not responding to ipilimumab by multicolor flow cytometry, antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC) assay, and immunohistochemistry. PBMCs and matched tumor biopsies were collected 24 h before (i.e., baseline) and up to 4 wk after ipilimumab. Our findings show, to our knowledge for the first time, that ipilimumab can engage ex vivo FcγRIIIA (CD16)-expressing, nonclassical monocytes resulting in ADCC-mediated lysis of regulatory T cells (Tregs). In contrast, classical CD14(++)CD16(-) monocytes are unable to do so. Moreover, we show that patients responding to ipilimumab display significantly higher baseline peripheral frequencies of nonclassical monocytes compared with nonresponder patients. In the tumor microenvironment, responders have higher CD68(+)/CD163(+) macrophage ratios at baseline and show decreased Treg infiltration after treatment. Together, our results suggest that anti-CTLA-4 therapy may target Tregs in vivo. Larger translational studies are, however, warranted to substantiate this mechanism of action of ipilimumab in patients.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 04/2015; 112(19). DOI:10.1073/pnas.1417320112 · 9.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Whereas preclinical investigations and clinical studies have established that CD8(+) T cells can profoundly affect cancer progression, the underlying mechanisms are still elusive. Challenging the prevalent view that the beneficial effect of CD8(+) T cells in cancer is solely attributable to their cytotoxic activity, several reports have indicated that the ability of CD8(+) T cells to promote tumor regression is dependent on their cytokine secretion profile and their ability to self-renew. Evidence has also shown that the tumor microenvironment can disarm CD8(+) T cell immunity, leading to the emergence of dysfunctional CD8(+) T cells. The existence of different types of CD8(+) T cells in cancer calls for a more precise definition of the CD8(+) T cell immune phenotypes in cancer and the abandonment of the generic terms "pro-tumor" and "antitumor." Based on recent studies investigating the functions of CD8(+) T cells in cancer, we here propose some guidelines to precisely define the functional states of CD8(+) T cells in cancer.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: During the past decades, anticancer immunotherapy has evolved from a promising therapeutic option to a robust clinical reality. Many immunotherapeutic regimens are now approved by the US Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicines Agency for use in cancer patients, and many others are being investigated as standalone therapeutic interventions or combined with conventional treatments in clinical studies. Immunotherapies may be subdivided into "passive" and "active" based on their ability to engage the host immune system against cancer. Since the anticancer activity of most passive immunotherapeutics (including tumor-targeting monoclonal antibodies) also relies on the host immune system, this classification does not properly reflect the complexity of the drug-host-tumor interaction. Alternatively, anticancer immunotherapeutics can be classified according to their antigen specificity. While some immunotherapies specifically target one (or a few) defined tumor-associated antigen(s), others operate in a relatively non-specific manner and boost natural or therapy-elicited anticancer immune responses of unknown and often broad specificity. Here, we propose a critical, integrated classification of anticancer immunotherapies and discuss the clinical relevance of these approaches.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Metastatic melanomas are frequently refractory to most adjuvant therapies such as chemotherapies and radiotherapies. Recently, immunotherapies have shown good results in the treatment of some metastatic melanoma. Immune cell infiltration in the tumor has been associated with successful immunotherapy. More generally, tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) in primary tumor and in metastases of melanoma patients have been demonstrated to correlate positively with favorable clinical outcomes. Altogether, these findings suggest the importance of being able to identify, quantify and characterize immune infiltration at the tumor site for a better diagnostic and treatment choice. In this paper, we used Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) imaging to identify and quantify different subpopulations of T cells: the cytotoxic T cells (CD8+), the helper T cells (CD4+) and the regulatory T cells (T reg). As a proof of concept, we investigated pure populations isolated from human peripheral blood from 6 healthy donors. These subpopulations were isolated from blood samples by magnetic labeling and purities were assessed by Fluorescence Activated Cell Sorting (FACS). Results presented here show that Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) imaging followed by supervised Partial Least Square Discriminant Analysis (PLS-DA) allows an accurate identification of CD4+ T cells and CD8+ T cells (> 86%). We then developed a PLS regression allowing the quantification of T reg in different mix of immune cells (e.g. Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells (PBMC)). Altogether, these results demonstrate the sensitivity of infrared imaging to detect low biological variability observed in T cell subpopulations.
The Analyst 12/2014; 140(7). DOI:10.1039/C4AN02247E · 4.11 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cancer immunotherapy has come a long way. The hope that immunological approaches may help cancer patients has sparked many initiatives in research and development (R&D). For many years, progress was modest and disappointments were frequent. Today, the increasing scientific and medical knowledge has established a solid basis for improvements. Considerable clinical success was first achieved for patients with hematological cancers. More recently, immunotherapy has entered center stage in the development of novel therapies against solid cancers. Together with R&D in angiogenesis, the field of immunology has fundamentally extended the scientific scope, which has evolved from a cancer-cell-centered view to a comprehensive and integrated vision of tumor biology. Current R&D is focused on a large array of possible disease mechanisms, driven by cancer cells, and amplified by tumor stroma, inflammatory and immunological actors, blood and lymph vessels, and the "macroenvironment," i.e. systemic mechanisms of the host, particularly of the haematopoietic system. Contrasting to this large spectrum of pathophysiological events promoting tumor growth, only a small number of biological mechanisms, namely of the immune system, have the potential to counteract tumor growth. They are of prime interest because therapeutic enhancement may result in clinical benefit for patients. This special issue is dedicated to immunotherapeutics against cancer, with particular emphasis on vaccination and combination therapies, providing updates and extended insight in this booming field.
Human Vaccines and Immunotherapeutics 11/2014; 10(11):3107-10. DOI:10.4161/21645515.2014.983000 · 3.64 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Autoimmune side effects are frequent in cancer patients treated with "immune checkpoint" targeting antibodies, but are rare with cancer vaccines. Here we report on a metastatic melanoma patient who developed pulmonary sarcoid-like granulomatosis following repetitive vaccinations with peptides and CpG. Despite multiple metastases, including the brain, the patient is alive and well more than 13 years after diagnosis of metastatic disease. The strongly activated tumor specific CD8+ T cells showed robust and long-term memory and effector functions. Possibly, long-term survival and adverse autoimmune events may become more common for vaccines inducing robust anticancer immune responses as in this patient.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Chronic viral infections and malignant tumours induce T cells that have a reduced ability to secrete effector cytokines and have upregulated expression of the inhibitory receptor PD1 (programmed cell death protein 1). These features have so far been considered to mark terminally differentiated 'exhausted' T cells. However, several recent clinical and experimental observations indicate that phenotypically exhausted T cells can still mediate a crucial level of pathogen or tumour control. In this Opinion article, we propose that the exhausted phenotype results from a differentiation process in which T cells stably adjust their effector capacity to the needs of chronic infection. We argue that this phenotype is optimized to cause minimal tissue damage while still mediating a critical level of pathogen control. In contrast to the presently held view of functional exhaustion, this new concept better reflects the pathophysiology and clinical manifestations of persisting infections, and it provides a rationale for emerging therapies that enhance T cell activity in chronic infection and cancer by blocking inhibitory receptors.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Anti-CTLA-4 treatment improves the survival of patients with advanced-stage melanoma. However, although the anti-CTLA-4 antibody ipilimumab is now an approved treatment for patients with metastatic disease, it remains unknown by which mechanism it boosts tumor-specific T cell activity. In particular, it is unclear whether treatment amplifies previously induced T cell responses or whether it induces new tumor-specific T cell reactivities. Using a combination ultraviolet (UV)-induced peptide exchange and peptide-major histocompatibility complex (pMHC) combinatorial coding, we monitored immune reactivity against a panel of 145 melanoma-associated epitopes in a cohort of patients receiving anti-CTLA-4 treatment. Comparison of pre- and posttreatment T cell reactivities in peripheral blood mononuclear cell samples of 40 melanoma patients demonstrated that anti-CTLA-4 treatment induces a significant increase in the number of detectable melanoma-specific CD8 T cell responses (P = 0.0009). In striking contrast, the magnitude of both virus-specific and melanoma-specific T cell responses that were already detected before start of therapy remained unaltered by treatment (P = 0.74). The observation that anti-CTLA-4 treatment induces a significant number of newly detected T cell responses-but only infrequently boosts preexisting immune responses-provides strong evidence for anti-CTLA-4 therapy-enhanced T cell priming as a component of the clinical mode of action.
Science translational medicine 09/2014; 6(254-254):254ra128. DOI:10.1126/scitranslmed.3008918 · 14.41 Impact Factor