Background: Despite the recent progress in the treatment and outcome of Non Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC), immunotherapy has still significant limitations reporting a significant proportion of patients not benefiting from therapy, even in patients with high PD-L1 expression. We have previously demonstrated that the combined inhibition of MEK and PD-L1 in NSCLC patients derived three dimensional cultures exerted significant synergistic effect in terms of immune-dependent cancer cell death. However, subsequent experiments analyzing the expression of Indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase-1 (Ido-1) gene expression demonstrated that Ido-1 resulted unaffected by the MEK inhibition and even increased after the combined inhibition of MEK and PD-L1 thus representing a potential escape mechanism to this combination. Methods: We analyzed transcriptomic profile of NSCLC lung adenocarcinoma cohort of TCGA (The Cancer Genome Atlas), stratifying tumors based on EMT (Epithelial mesenchymal Transition) score; in parallel, we investigated the activation of Ido-1 pathway and modulation of immune cytokines productions both in NSCLC cells lines, in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and in ex-vivo NSCLC spheroids induced by triple inhibition with an anti-PD-L1 monoclonal antibody, the MEK inhibitor and the Ido-1 inhibitor. Results: In NSCLC lung adenocarcinoma patient cohort (from TCGA) Ido-1 gene expression was significantly higher in samples classified as mesenchymal according EMT score. Similarly, on a selected panel of NSCLC cell lines higher expression of MEK and Ido-1 related genes was detected in cells with mesenchymal phenotype according EMT score, thus suggesting a potential correlation of co-activation of these two pathways in the context of EMT, with cancer cells sustaining an immune-suppressive microenvironment. While exerting an antitumor activity, the dual blockade of MEK and PD-L1 enhances the secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines (IFNγ, TNFα, IL-12 and IL-6) and, consequently, the expression of new immune checkpoints such as Ido-1. The triple inhibition with an anti-PD-L1 monoclonal antibody, the MEK inhibitor and the Ido-1 inhibitor demonstrated significant antiproliferative and proapoptotic activity on ex-vivo NSCLC samples; at the same time the triple combination kept increased the levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines produced by both PBMCs and tumor spheroids in order to sustain the immune response and simultaneously decreased the expression of other checkpoint (such as CTLA-4, Ido-1 and TIM-3) thus promoting an immune-reactive and inflamed micro-environment. Conclusions: We show that Ido-1 activation is a possible escape mechanism to immune-mediated cell death induced by combination of PD-L1 and MEK inhibitors: also, we show that triple combination of anti-PD-L1, anti-MEK and anti-Ido-1 drugs may overcome this negative feedback and restore anti-tumor immune response in NSCLC patients’ derived three dimensional cultures.

Triple blockade of Ido-1, PD-L1 and MEK as a potential therapeutic strategy in NSCLC

Della Corte C. M.;Vicidomini G.;Fiorelli A.;Nardone V.;Cappabianca S.;Zito Marino F.;Ciardiello D.;Martinelli E.;Troiani T.;Martini G.;Napolitano S.;Ciardiello F.;Morgillo F.
2022

Abstract

Background: Despite the recent progress in the treatment and outcome of Non Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC), immunotherapy has still significant limitations reporting a significant proportion of patients not benefiting from therapy, even in patients with high PD-L1 expression. We have previously demonstrated that the combined inhibition of MEK and PD-L1 in NSCLC patients derived three dimensional cultures exerted significant synergistic effect in terms of immune-dependent cancer cell death. However, subsequent experiments analyzing the expression of Indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase-1 (Ido-1) gene expression demonstrated that Ido-1 resulted unaffected by the MEK inhibition and even increased after the combined inhibition of MEK and PD-L1 thus representing a potential escape mechanism to this combination. Methods: We analyzed transcriptomic profile of NSCLC lung adenocarcinoma cohort of TCGA (The Cancer Genome Atlas), stratifying tumors based on EMT (Epithelial mesenchymal Transition) score; in parallel, we investigated the activation of Ido-1 pathway and modulation of immune cytokines productions both in NSCLC cells lines, in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and in ex-vivo NSCLC spheroids induced by triple inhibition with an anti-PD-L1 monoclonal antibody, the MEK inhibitor and the Ido-1 inhibitor. Results: In NSCLC lung adenocarcinoma patient cohort (from TCGA) Ido-1 gene expression was significantly higher in samples classified as mesenchymal according EMT score. Similarly, on a selected panel of NSCLC cell lines higher expression of MEK and Ido-1 related genes was detected in cells with mesenchymal phenotype according EMT score, thus suggesting a potential correlation of co-activation of these two pathways in the context of EMT, with cancer cells sustaining an immune-suppressive microenvironment. While exerting an antitumor activity, the dual blockade of MEK and PD-L1 enhances the secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines (IFNγ, TNFα, IL-12 and IL-6) and, consequently, the expression of new immune checkpoints such as Ido-1. The triple inhibition with an anti-PD-L1 monoclonal antibody, the MEK inhibitor and the Ido-1 inhibitor demonstrated significant antiproliferative and proapoptotic activity on ex-vivo NSCLC samples; at the same time the triple combination kept increased the levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines produced by both PBMCs and tumor spheroids in order to sustain the immune response and simultaneously decreased the expression of other checkpoint (such as CTLA-4, Ido-1 and TIM-3) thus promoting an immune-reactive and inflamed micro-environment. Conclusions: We show that Ido-1 activation is a possible escape mechanism to immune-mediated cell death induced by combination of PD-L1 and MEK inhibitors: also, we show that triple combination of anti-PD-L1, anti-MEK and anti-Ido-1 drugs may overcome this negative feedback and restore anti-tumor immune response in NSCLC patients’ derived three dimensional cultures.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11591/483775
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