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Immune Checkpoint Blockade Improves Chemotherapy in the PyMT Mammary Carcinoma Mouse Model

: Sirait-Fischer, E.; Olesch, C.; Fink, A.F.; Berkefeld, M.; Huard, A.; Schmid, T.; Takeda, K.; Brüne, B.; Weigert, A.

Volltext ()

Frontiers in oncology 10 (2020), Art. 1771, 14 S.
ISSN: 2234-943X
Zeitschriftenaufsatz, Elektronische Publikation
Fraunhofer IME ()

Despite the success of immune checkpoint blockade in cancer, the number of patients that benefit from this revolutionary treatment option remains low. Therefore, efforts are being undertaken to sensitize tumors for immune checkpoint blockade, which includes combining immune checkpoint blocking agents such as anti-PD-1 antibodies with standard of care treatments. Here we report that a combination of chemotherapy (doxorubicin) and immune checkpoint blockade (anti-PD-1 antibodies) induces superior tumor control compared to chemotherapy and immune checkpoint blockade alone in the murine autochthonous polyoma middle T oncogene-driven (PyMT) mammary tumor model. Using whole transcriptome analysis, we identified a set of genes that were upregulated specifically upon chemoimmunotherapy. This gene signature and, more specifically, a condensed four-gene signature predicted favorable survival of human mammary carcinoma patients in the METABRIC cohort. Moreover, PyMT tumors treated with chemoimmunotherapy contained higher levels of cytotoxic lymphocytes, particularly natural killer cells (NK cells). Gene set enrichment analysis and bead-based ELISA measurements revealed increased IL-27 production and signaling in PyMT tumors upon chemoimmunotherapy. Moreover, IL-27 signaling improved NK cell cytotoxicity against PyMT cells in vitro. Taken together, our data support recent clinical observations indicating a benefit of chemoimmunotherapy compared to monotherapy in breast cancer and suggest potential underlying mechanisms.