Combination of PD-1/PD-L1 checkpoint inhibition and dendritic cell therapy in mice models and in patients with mesothelioma

International Journal of Cancer 2022 September 14 [Link]

Mandy van Gulijk, Bob Belderbos, Daphne Dumoulin, Robin Cornelissen, Koen Bezemer, Larissa Klaase, Floris Dammeijer, Joachim Aerts


Immunotherapy with anti-PD1/PD-L1 is effective in only a subgroup of patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM). We investigated the efficacy of a combination of anti-PD1/PD-L1 and dendritic cell (DC) therapy to optimally induce effective anti-tumor immunity in MPM in both humans and mice. Data of nine MPM patients treated with DC therapy and sequential anti-PD1 treatment were collected and analyzed for progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS). Survival and T-cell responses were monitored in AC29 mesothelioma-bearing mice treated concurrently with the combination therapy; additionally, the role of the tumor-draining lymph node (TDLN) was investigated. The combination therapy resulted in a median OS and PFS of 17.7 and 8.0 months, respectively. Grade 3 to 4 treatment-related adverse events had not been reported. Survival of the mesothelioma-bearing mice treated with the combination therapy was longer than that of untreated mice, and coincided with improved T-cell activation in peripheral blood and less T-cell exhaustion in end stage tumors. Comparable results were obtained when solely the TDLN was targeted. We concluded that this combination therapy is safe and shows promising OS and PFS. The murine data support that PD-L1 treatment may reinvigorate the T-cell responses induced by DC therapy, which may primarily be the result of TDLN targeting.