Cancers 2021 January 14 [Link]
Elly Marcq, Jonas R M Van Audenaerde, Jorrit De Waele, Céline Merlin, Patrick Pauwels, Jan P van Meerbeeck, Scott A Fisher, Evelien L J Smits
Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is an aggressive cancer that is causally associated with previous asbestos exposure in most afflicted patients. The prognosis of patients remains dismal, with a median overall survival of only 9-12 months, due to the limited effectiveness of any conventional anti-cancer treatment. New therapeutic strategies are needed to complement the limited armamentarium against MPM. We decided to focus on the combination of different immune checkpoint (IC) blocking antibodies (Abs). Programmed death-1 (PD-1), programmed death ligand-1 (PD-L1), T-cell immunoglobulin mucin-3 (TIM-3), and lymphocyte activation gene-3 (LAG-3) blocking Abs were tested as monotherapies, and as part of a combination strategy with a second IC inhibitor. We investigated their effect in vitro by examining the changes in the immune-related cytokine secretion profile of supernatant collected from treated allogeneic MPM-peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) co-cultures. Based on our in vitro results of cytokine secretion, and flow cytometry data that showed a significant upregulation of PD-L1 on PBMC after co-culture, we chose to further investigate the combinations of anti PD-L1 + anti TIM-3 versus anti PD-L1 + anti LAG-3 therapies in vivo in the AB1-HA BALB/cJ mesothelioma mouse model. PD-L1 monotherapy, as well as its combination with LAG-3 blockade, resulted in in-vivo delayed tumor growth and significant survival benefit.