Publications by authors named "Robert H Pierce"

71 Publications

IL-15 mediated expansion of rare durable memory T cells following adoptive cellular therapy.

J Immunother Cancer 2021 May;9(5)

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Clinical Research Division, Seattle, WA, USA

Background: Synovial sarcoma (SS) and myxoid/round cell liposarcoma (MRCL) are ideal solid tumors for the development of adoptive cellular therapy (ACT) targeting NY-ESO-1, as a high frequency of tumors homogeneously express this cancer-testes antigen. Data from early phase clinical trials have shown antitumor activity after the adoptive transfer of NY-ESO-1-specific T cells. In these studies, persistence of NY-ESO-1 specific T cells is highly correlated with response to ACT, but patients often continue to have detectable transferred cells in their peripheral blood following progression.

Method: We performed a phase I clinical trial evaluating the safety of NY-ESO-1-specific endogenous T cells (ETC) following cyclophosphamide conditioning. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from treated patients were evaluated by flow cytometry and gene expression analysis as well as through ex vivo culture assays with and without IL-15.

Results: Four patients were treated in a cohort using ETC targeting NY-ESO-1 following cyclophosphamide conditioning. Treatment was well tolerated without significant toxicity, but all patients ultimately had disease progression. In two of four patients, we obtained post-treatment tumor tissue and in both, NY-ESO-1 antigen was retained despite clear detectable persisting NY-ESO-1-specific T cells in the peripheral blood. Despite a memory phenotype, these persisting cells lacked markers of proliferation or activation. However, in ex vivo culture assays, they could be induced to proliferate and kill tumor using IL-15. These results were also seen in PBMCs from two patients who received gene-engineered T-cell receptor-based products at other centers.

Conclusions: ETC targeting NY-ESO-1 with single-agent cyclophosphamide alone conditioning was well tolerated in patients with SS and those with MRCL. IL-15 can induce proliferation and activity in persisting NY-ESO-1-specific T cells even in patients with disease progression following ACT. These results support future work evaluating whether IL-15 could be incorporated into ACT trials post-infusion or at the time of progression.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jitc-2020-002232DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8108691PMC
May 2021

Intratumoral Plasmid IL12 Expands CD8 T Cells and Induces a CXCR3 Gene Signature in Triple-negative Breast Tumors that Sensitizes Patients to Anti-PD-1 Therapy.

Clin Cancer Res 2021 May 16;27(9):2481-2493. Epub 2021 Feb 16.

Department of Surgery, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina.

Purpose: Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is an aggressive disease with limited therapeutic options. Antibodies targeting programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1)/PD-1 ligand 1 (PD-L1) have entered the therapeutic landscape in TNBC, but only a minority of patients benefit. A way to reliably enhance immunogenicity, T-cell infiltration, and predict responsiveness is critically needed.

Patients And Methods: Using mouse models of TNBC, we evaluate immune activation and tumor targeting of intratumoral IL12 plasmid followed by electroporation (tavokinogene telseplasmid; Tavo). We further present a single-arm, prospective clinical trial of Tavo monotherapy in patients with treatment refractory, advanced TNBC (OMS-I140). Finally, we expand these findings using publicly available breast cancer and melanoma datasets.

Results: Single-cell RNA sequencing of murine tumors identified a CXCR3 gene signature (CXCR3-GS) following Tavo treatment associated with enhanced antigen presentation, T-cell infiltration and expansion, and PD-1/PD-L1 expression. Assessment of pretreatment and posttreatment tissue from patients confirms enrichment of this CXCR3-GS in tumors from patients that exhibited an enhancement of CD8 T-cell infiltration following treatment. One patient, previously unresponsive to anti-PD-L1 therapy, but who exhibited an increased CXCR3-GS after Tavo treatment, went on to receive additional anti-PD-1 therapy as their immediate next treatment after OMS-I140, and demonstrated a significant clinical response.

Conclusions: These data show a safe, effective intratumoral therapy that can enhance antigen presentation and recruit CD8 T cells, which are required for the antitumor efficacy. We identify a Tavo treatment-related gene signature associated with improved outcomes and conversion of nonresponsive tumors, potentially even beyond TNBC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-20-3944DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8102331PMC
May 2021

Detection of engineered T cells in FFPE tissue by multiplex in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry.

J Immunol Methods 2021 May 29;492:112955. Epub 2020 Dec 29.

Immunopathology Lab, Clinical Research Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, United States of America.

Identifying engineered T cells in situ is important to understand the location, persistence, and phenotype of these cells in patients after adoptive T cell therapy. While engineered cells are routinely characterized in fresh tissue or blood from patients by flow cytometry, it is difficult to distinguish them from endogenous cells in formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue biopsies. To overcome this limitation, we have developed a method for characterizing engineered T cells in fixed tissue using in situ hybridization (ISH) to the woodchuck hepatitis post-transcriptional regulatory element (WPRE) common in many lentiviral vectors used to transduce chimeric antigen receptor T (CAR-T) and T cell receptor T (TCR-T) cells, coupled with alternative permeabilization conditions that allows subsequent multiplex immunohistochemical (mIHC) staining within the same image. This new method provides the ability to mark the cells by ISH, and simultaneously stain for cell-associated proteins to immunophenotype CAR/TCR modified T cells within tumors, as well as assess potential roles of these cells in on-target/off-tumor toxicity in other tissue.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jim.2020.112955DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7979489PMC
May 2021

Immunogenic Chemotherapy Enhances Recruitment of CAR-T Cells to Lung Tumors and Improves Antitumor Efficacy when Combined with Checkpoint Blockade.

Cancer Cell 2021 Feb 24;39(2):193-208.e10. Epub 2020 Dec 24.

Clinical Research Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA, USA; Department of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA.

Adoptive therapy using chimeric antigen receptor-modified T cells (CAR-T cells) is effective in hematologic but not epithelial malignancies, which cause the greatest mortality. In breast and lung cancer patients, CAR-T cells targeting the tumor-associated antigen receptor tyrosine kinase-like orphan receptor 1 (ROR1) infiltrate tumors poorly and become dysfunctional. To test strategies for enhancing efficacy, we adapted the Kras;p53 autochthonous model of lung adenocarcinoma to express the CAR target ROR1. Murine ROR1 CAR-T cells transferred after lymphodepletion with cyclophosphamide (Cy) transiently control tumor growth but infiltrate tumors poorly and lose function, similar to what is seen in patients. Adding oxaliplatin (Ox) to the lymphodepletion regimen activates tumor macrophages to express T-cell-recruiting chemokines, resulting in improved CAR-T cell infiltration, remodeling of the tumor microenvironment, and increased tumor sensitivity to anti-PD-L1. Combination therapy with Ox/Cy and anti-PD-L1 synergistically improves CAR-T cell-mediated tumor control and survival, providing a strategy to improve CAR-T cell efficacy in the clinic.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ccell.2020.11.005DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7878409PMC
February 2021

Sustained infection accelerates gastric dysplasia in a mouse model.

Life Sci Alliance 2021 02 11;4(2). Epub 2020 Dec 11.

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Human Biology Division, Seattle, WA, USA

More than 80% of gastric cancer is attributable to stomach infection with (). Gastric preneoplastic progression involves sequential tissue changes, including loss of parietal cells, metaplasia and dysplasia. In transgenic mice, active KRAS expression recapitulates these tissue changes in the absence of infection. This model provides an experimental system to investigate additional roles of in preneoplastic progression, beyond its known role in initiating inflammation. Tissue histology, gene expression, the immune cell repertoire, and metaplasia and dysplasia marker expression were assessed in KRAS+ mice +/- infection. +/KRAS+ mice had severe T-cell infiltration and altered macrophage polarization; a different trajectory of metaplasia; more dysplastic glands; and greater proliferation of metaplastic and dysplastic glands. Eradication of with antibiotics, even after onset of metaplasia, prevented or reversed these tissue phenotypes. These results suggest that gastric preneoplastic progression differs between + and - cases, and that sustained infection can promote the later stages of gastric preneoplastic progression.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.26508/lsa.202000967DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7768197PMC
February 2021

Microdissected "cuboids" for microfluidic drug testing of intact tissues.

Lab Chip 2021 01;21(1):122-142

Department of Bioengineering, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA.

As preclinical animal tests often do not accurately predict drug effects later observed in humans, most drugs under development fail to reach the market. Thus there is a critical need for functional drug testing platforms that use human, intact tissues to complement animal studies. To enable future multiplexed delivery of many drugs to one small biopsy, we have developed a multi-well microfluidic platform that selectively treats cuboidal-shaped microdissected tissues or "cuboids" with well-preserved tissue microenvironments. We create large numbers of uniformly-sized cuboids by semi-automated sectioning of tissue with a commercially available tissue chopper. Here we demonstrate the microdissection method on normal mouse liver, which we characterize with quantitative 3D imaging, and on human glioma xenograft tumors, which we evaluate after time in culture for viability and preservation of the microenvironment. The benefits of size uniformity include lower heterogeneity in future biological assays as well as facilitation of their physical manipulation by automation. Our prototype platform consists of a microfluidic circuit whose hydrodynamic traps immobilize the live cuboids in arrays at the bottom of a multi-well plate. Fluid dynamics simulations enabled the rapid evaluation of design alternatives and operational parameters. We demonstrate the proof-of-concept application of model soluble compounds such as dyes (CellTracker, Hoechst) and the cancer drug cisplatin. Upscaling of the microfluidic platform and microdissection method to larger arrays and numbers of cuboids could lead to direct testing of human tissues at high throughput, and thus could have a significant impact on drug discovery and personalized medicine.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/d0lc00801jDOI Listing
January 2021

Genetically engineered macrophages persist in solid tumors and locally deliver therapeutic proteins to activate immune responses.

J Immunother Cancer 2020 10;8(2)

Ben Towne Center for Childhood Cancer Research, Seattle Children's Research Institute, Seattle, Washington, USA

Background: Though currently approved immunotherapies, including chimeric antigen receptor T cells and checkpoint blockade antibodies, have been successfully used to treat hematological and some solid tumor cancers, many solid tumors remain resistant to these modes of treatment. In solid tumors, the development of effective antitumor immune responses is hampered by restricted immune cell infiltration and an immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment (TME). An immunotherapy that infiltrates and persists in the solid TME, while providing local, stable levels of therapeutic to activate or reinvigorate antitumor immunity could overcome these challenges faced by current immunotherapies.

Methods: Using lentivirus-driven engineering, we programmed human and murine macrophages to express therapeutic payloads, including Interleukin (IL)-12. In vitro coculture studies were used to evaluate the effect of genetically engineered macrophages (GEMs) secreting IL-12 on T cells and on the GEMs themselves. The effects of IL-12 GEMs on gene expression profiles within the TME and tumor burden were evaluated in syngeneic mouse models of glioblastoma and melanoma and in human tumor slices isolated from patients with advanced gastrointestinal malignancies.

Results: Here, we present a cellular immunotherapy platform using lentivirus-driven genetic engineering of human and mouse macrophages to constitutively express proteins, including secreted cytokines and full-length checkpoint antibodies, as well as cytoplasmic and surface proteins that overcomes these barriers. GEMs traffic to, persist in, and express lentiviral payloads in xenograft mouse models of glioblastoma, and express a non-signaling truncated CD19 surface protein for elimination. IL-12-secreting GEMs activated T cells and induced interferon-gamma (IFNγ) in vitro and slowed tumor growth resulting in extended survival in vivo. In a syngeneic glioblastoma model, IFNγ signaling cascades were also observed in mice treated with mouse bone-marrow-derived GEMs secreting murine IL-12. These findings were reproduced in ex vivo tumor slices comprised of intact MEs. In this setting, IL-12 GEMs induced tumor cell death, chemokines and IFNγ-stimulated genes and proteins.

Conclusions: Our data demonstrate that GEMs can precisely deliver titratable doses of therapeutic proteins to the TME to improve safety, tissue penetrance, targeted delivery and pharmacokinetics.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jitc-2020-001356DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7594542PMC
October 2020

Durable tumor regression in highly refractory metastatic  wild-type GIST following treatment with nivolumab.

Oncoimmunology 2020 13;9(1):1710064. Epub 2020 Jan 13.

Clinical Research Division, Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA, USA.

Gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST) is a devastating disease, especially in the setting of metastasis. The natural progression of GIST has been significantly altered by the development of small molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs), including imatinib, sunitinib, and regorafenib, all of which are FDA approved. However, TKIs are not always well-tolerated, and the refractory disease continues to be a problem. For these reasons, alternative treatments are needed. In this report, we discuss a patient with metastatic wild-type (WT) GIST refractory to multiple TKIs, but with a durable clinical response to the anti-programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) antibody, nivolumab. This report suggests that continued research evaluating checkpoint inhibitors in GIST is warranted.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/2162402X.2019.1710064DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6959429PMC
January 2020

Neutrophil content predicts lymphocyte depletion and anti-PD1 treatment failure in NSCLC.

JCI Insight 2019 12 19;4(24). Epub 2019 Dec 19.

Fred Hutchinson Clinical Research Division, Seattle, Washington, USA.

Immune checkpoint inhibitor (ICI) treatment has recently become a first-line therapy for many non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients. Unfortunately, most NSCLC patients are refractory to ICI monotherapy, and initial attempts to address this issue with secondary therapeutics have proven unsuccessful. To identify entities precluding CD8+ T cell accumulation in this process, we performed unbiased analyses on flow cytometry, gene expression, and multiplexed immunohistochemical data from a NSCLC patient cohort. The results revealed the presence of a myeloid-rich subgroup, which was devoid of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. Of all myeloid cell types assessed, neutrophils were the most highly associated with the myeloid phenotype. Additionally, the ratio of CD8+ T cells to neutrophils (CD8/PMN) within the tumor mass optimally distinguished between active and myeloid cases. This ratio was also capable of showing the separation of patients responsive to ICI therapy from those with stable or progressive disease in 2 independent cohorts. Tumor-bearing mice treated with a combination of anti-PD1 and SX-682 (CXCR1/2 inhibitor) displayed relocation of lymphocytes from the tumor periphery into a malignant tumor, which was associated with induction of IFN-γ-responsive genes. These results suggest that neutrophil antagonism may represent a viable secondary therapeutic strategy to enhance ICI treatment outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1172/jci.insight.130850DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6975266PMC
December 2019

Intratumoral Plasmid IL12 Electroporation Therapy in Patients with Advanced Melanoma Induces Systemic and Intratumoral T-cell Responses.

Cancer Immunol Res 2020 02 18;8(2):246-254. Epub 2019 Dec 18.

Division of Hematology and Oncology, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California.

Whereas systemic IL12 is associated with potentially life-threatening toxicity, intratumoral delivery of IL12 through tavokinogene telseplasmid electroporation (tavo) is safe and can induce tumor regression at distant sites. The mechanism by which these responses are mediated is unknown but is presumed to result from a cellular immune response. In a phase II clinical trial of tavo (NCT01502293), samples from 29 patients with cutaneous melanoma with in-transit disease were assessed for immune responses induced with this treatment. Within the blood circulating immune cell population, we found that the frequencies of circulating PD-1 CD4 and CD8 T cells declined with treatment. Circulating immune responses to gp100 were also detected following treatment as measured by IFNγ ELISpot. Patients with a greater antigen-specific circulating immune response also had higher numbers of CD8 T cells within the tumor. Clinical response was also associated with increased intratumoral CD3 T cells. Finally, intratumoral T-cell clonality and convergence were increased after treatment, indicating a focusing of the T-cell receptor repertoire. These results indicated that local treatment with tavo can induce a systemic T-cell response and recruit T cells to the tumor microenvironment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/2326-6066.CIR-19-0359DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7002232PMC
February 2020

Anti-PD-L1 antibody direct activation of macrophages contributes to a radiation-induced abscopal response in glioblastoma.

Neuro Oncol 2020 05;22(5):639-651

Department of Neurological Surgery, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington.

Background: Most glioblastomas recur near prior radiation treatment sites. Future clinical success will require achieving and optimizing an "abscopal effect," whereby unirradiated neoplastic cells outside treatment sites are recognized and attacked by the immune system. Radiation combined with anti-programmed cell death ligand 1 (PD-L1) demonstrated modest efficacy in phase II human glioblastoma clinical trials, but the mechanism and relevance of the abscopal effect during this response remain unknown.

Methods: We modified an immune-competent, genetically driven mouse glioma model (forced platelet derived growth factor [PDGF] expression + phosphatase and tensin homolog loss) where a portion of the tumor burden is irradiated (PDGF) and another unirradiated luciferase-expressing tumor (PDGF + luciferase) is used as a readout of the abscopal effect following systemic anti-PD-L1 immunotherapy. We assessed relevance of tumor neoepitope during the abscopal response by inducing expression of epidermal growth factor receptor variant III (EGFRvIII) (PDGF + EGFRvIII). Statistical tests were two-sided.

Results: Following radiation of one lesion, anti-PD-L1 immunotherapy enhanced the abscopal response to the unirradiated lesion. In PDGF-driven gliomas without tumor neoepitope (PDGF + luciferase, n = 8), the abscopal response occurred via anti-PD-L1 driven, extracellular signal-regulated kinase-mediated, bone marrow-derived macrophage phagocytosis of adjacent unirradiated tumor cells, with modest survival implications (median survival 41 days vs radiation alone 37.5 days, P = 0.03). In PDGF-driven gliomas with tumor neoepitope (PDGF + EGFRvIII, n = 8), anti-PD-L1 enhanced abscopal response was associated with macrophage and T-cell infiltration and increased survival benefit (median survival 36 days vs radiation alone 28 days, P = 0.001).

Conclusion: Our results indicate that anti-PD-L1 immunotherapy enhances a radiation- induced abscopal response via canonical T-cell activation and direct macrophage activation in glioblastoma.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/neuonc/noz226DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7229244PMC
May 2020

Intratumoral Delivery of Plasmid IL12 Via Electroporation Leads to Regression of Injected and Noninjected Tumors in Merkel Cell Carcinoma.

Clin Cancer Res 2020 02 3;26(3):598-607. Epub 2019 Oct 3.

Clinical Research Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington.

Purpose: IL12 promotes adaptive type I immunity and has demonstrated antitumor efficacy, but systemic administration leads to severe adverse events (AE), including death. This pilot trial investigated safety, efficacy, and immunologic activity of intratumoral delivery of IL12 plasmid DNA (tavo) via electroporation (i.t.-tavo-EP) in patients with Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC), an aggressive virus-associated skin cancer.

Patients And Methods: Fifteen patients with MCC with superficial injectable tumor(s) received i.t.-tavo-EP on days 1, 5, and 8 of each cycle. Patients with locoregional MCC (cohort A, = 3) received one cycle before definitive surgery in week 4. Patients with metastatic MCC (cohort B, = 12) received up to four cycles total, administered at least 6 weeks apart. Serial tumor and blood samples were collected.

Results: All patients successfully completed at least one cycle with transient, mild (grades 1 and 2) AEs and without significant systemic toxicity. Sustained (day 22) intratumoral expression of IL12 protein was observed along with local inflammation and increased tumor-specific CD8 T-cell infiltration, which led to systemic immunologic and clinical responses. The overall response rate was 25% (3/12) in cohort B, with 2 patients experiencing durable clinical benefit (16 and 55+ months, respectively). Two cohort A patients (1 with pathologic complete remission) were recurrence-free at 44+ and 75+ months, respectively.

Conclusions: I.t.-tavo-EP was safe and feasible without systemic toxicity. Sustained local expression of IL12 protein and local inflammation led to systemic immune responses and clinically meaningful benefit in some patients. Gene electrotransfer, specifically i.t.-tavo-EP, warrants further investigation for immunotherapy of cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-19-0972DOI Listing
February 2020

Arming oHSV with ULBP3 drives abscopal immunity in lymphocyte-depleted glioblastoma.

JCI Insight 2019 07 11;4(13). Epub 2019 Jul 11.

Human Biology Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington, USA.

Oncolytic viruses induce local tumor destruction and inflammation. Whether virotherapy can also overcome immunosuppression in noninfected tumor areas is under debate. To address this question, we have explored immunologic effects of oncolytic herpes simplex viruses (oHSVs) in a genetically engineered mouse model of isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH) wild-type glioblastoma, the most common and most malignant primary brain tumor in adults. Our model recapitulates the genomics, the diffuse infiltrative growth pattern, and the extensive macrophage-dominant immunosuppression of human glioblastoma. Infection with an oHSV that was armed with a UL16-binding protein 3 (ULBP3) expression cassette inhibited distant tumor growth in the absence of viral spreading (abscopal effect) and yielded accumulation of activated macrophages and T cells. There was also abscopal synergism of oHSVULBP3 with anti-programmed cell death 1 (anti-PD-1) against distant, uninfected tumor areas; albeit consistent with clinical trials in patients with glioblastoma, monotherapy with anti-PD-1 was ineffective in our model. Arming oHSV with ULBP3 led to upregulation of antigen processing and presentation gene sets in myeloid cells. The cognate ULBP3 receptor NKG2D, however, is not present on myeloid cells, suggesting a noncanonical mechanism of action of ULBP3. Overall, the myeloid-dominant, anti-PD-1-sensitive abscopal effect of oHSVULBP3 warrants further investigation in patients with IDH wild-type glioblastoma.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1172/jci.insight.128217DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6629248PMC
July 2019

Intratumoral delivery of an HPV vaccine elicits a broad anti-tumor immune response that translates into a potent anti-tumor effect in a preclinical murine HPV model.

Cancer Immunol Immunother 2019 Aug 26;68(8):1273-1286. Epub 2019 Jun 26.

Department of Surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.

Therapeutic cancer vaccines have met limited clinical success. In the setting of cancer, the immune system is either tolerized and/or has a limited tumor-specific T cell repertoire. In this study, we explore whether intratumoral (IT) vaccination with an HPV vaccine can elicit quantitative and qualitative differences in immune response as compared to intramuscular (IM) vaccination to overcome immune resistance in established tumors. We report that IT administration of an HPV-16 E7 peptide vaccine formulated with polyinosinic-polycytidylic acid [poly(I:C)] generated an enhanced antitumor effect relative to IM delivery. The elicited anti-tumor effect with IT vaccination was consistent among the vaccinated groups and across various C57BL/6 substrains. IT vaccination resulted in an increased frequency of PD-1 TILs, which represented both vaccine-targeted and non-vaccine-targeted tumor-specific CD8 T cells. Overall, the CD8/Treg ratio was increased within the tumor microenvironment using IT vaccination. We also assessed transcriptional changes in several immune-related genes in the tumor microenvironment of the various treated groups, and our data suggest that IT vaccination leads to upregulation of a broad complement of immunomodulatory genes, including upregulation of interferon gamma (IFNγ) and antigen presentation and processing machine (APM) components. IT vaccine delivery is superior to traditional IM vaccination routes with the potential to improve tumor immunogenicity, which has potential clinical application in the setting of accessible lesions such as head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCCs).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00262-019-02357-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6684362PMC
August 2019

Systemic Interferon-γ Increases MHC Class I Expression and T-cell Infiltration in Cold Tumors: Results of a Phase 0 Clinical Trial.

Cancer Immunol Res 2019 08 6;7(8):1237-1243. Epub 2019 Jun 6.

Clinical Research Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington.

Interferon-γ (IFNγ) has been studied as a cancer treatment with limited evidence of clinical benefit. However, it could play a role in cancer immunotherapy combination treatments. Despite high expression of immunogenic cancer-testis antigens, synovial sarcoma (SS) and myxoid/round cell liposarcoma (MRCL) have a cold tumor microenvironment (TME), with few infiltrating T cells and low expression of major histocompatibility complex class I (MHC-I). We hypothesized that IFNγ treatment could drive inflammation in a cold TME, facilitating further immunotherapy. We conducted a phase 0 clinical trial treating 8 SS or MRCL patients with weekly systemic IFNγ. We performed pre- and posttreatment biopsies. IFNγ changed the SS and MRCL TME, inducing tumor-surface MHC-I expression and significant T-cell infiltration ( < 0.05). Gene-expression analysis suggested increased tumor antigen presentation and less exhausted phenotypes of the tumor-infiltrating T cells. Newly emergent antigen-specific humoral and/or T-cell responses were found in 3 of 7 evaluable patients. However, increased expression of PD-L1 was observed on tumor-infiltrating myeloid cells and in some cases tumor cells. These findings suggest that systemic IFNγ used to convert SS and MRCL into "hot" tumors will work in concert with anti-PD-1 therapy to provide patient benefit.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/2326-6066.CIR-18-0940DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6677581PMC
August 2019

Differential Effects of Depleting versus Programming Tumor-Associated Macrophages on Engineered T Cells in Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma.

Cancer Immunol Res 2019 06 26;7(6):977-989. Epub 2019 Apr 26.

Clinical Research Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington.

Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) is a lethal malignancy resistant to therapies, including immune-checkpoint blockade. We investigated two distinct strategies to modulate tumor-associated macrophages (TAM) to enhance cellular therapy targeting mesothelin in an autochthonous PDA mouse model. Administration of an antibody to colony-stimulating factor (anti-Csf1R) depleted Ly6C protumorigenic TAMs and significantly enhanced endogenous T-cell intratumoral accumulation. Despite increasing the number of endogenous T cells at the tumor site, as previously reported, TAM depletion had only minimal impact on intratumoral accumulation and persistence of T cells engineered to express a murine mesothelin-specific T-cell receptor (TCR). TAM depletion interfered with the antitumor activity of the infused T cells in PDA, evidenced by reduced tumor cell apoptosis. In contrast, TAM programming with agonistic anti-CD40 increased both Ly6C TAMs and the intratumoral accumulation and longevity of TCR-engineered T cells. Anti-CD40 significantly increased the frequency and number of proliferating and granzyme B engineered T cells, and increased tumor cell apoptosis. However, anti-CD40 failed to rescue intratumoral engineered T-cell IFNγ production. Thus, although functional modulation, rather than TAM depletion, enhanced the longevity of engineered T cells and increased tumor cell apoptosis, ultimately, anti-CD40 modulation was insufficient to rescue key effector defects in tumor-reactive T cells. This study highlights critical distinctions between how endogenous T cells that evolve , and engineered T cells with previously acquired effector activity, respond to modifications of the tumor microenvironment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/2326-6066.CIR-18-0448DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6548612PMC
June 2019

Mobilization of CD8 T Cells via CXCR4 Blockade Facilitates PD-1 Checkpoint Therapy in Human Pancreatic Cancer.

Clin Cancer Res 2019 Jul 2;25(13):3934-3945. Epub 2019 Apr 2.

Department of Surgery, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington.

Purpose: Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) is rarely cured, and single-agent immune checkpoint inhibition has not demonstrated clinical benefit despite the presence of large numbers of CD8 T cells. We hypothesized that tumor-infiltrating CD8 T cells harbor latent antitumor activity that can be reactivated using combination immunotherapy.

Experimental Design: Preserved human PDA specimens were analyzed using multiplex IHC (mIHC) and T-cell receptor (TCR) sequencing. Fresh tumor was treated in organotypic slice culture to test the effects of combination PD-1 and CXCR4 blockade. Slices were analyzed using IHC, flow cytometry, and live fluorescent microscopy to assess tumor kill, in addition to T-cell expansion and mobilization.

Results: mIHC demonstrated fewer CD8 T cells in juxtatumoral stroma containing carcinoma cells than in stroma devoid of them. Using TCR sequencing, we found clonal expansion in each tumor; high-frequency clones had multiple DNA rearrangements coding for the same amino acid binding sequence, which suggests response to common tumor antigens. Treatment of fresh human PDA slices with combination PD-1 and CXCR4 blockade led to increased tumor cell death concomitant with lymphocyte expansion. Live microscopy after combination therapy demonstrated CD8 T-cell migration into the juxtatumoral compartment and rapid increase in tumor cell apoptosis.

Conclusions: Endogenous tumor-reactive T cells are present within the human PDA tumor microenvironment and can be reactivated by combined blockade of PD-1 and CXCR4. This provides a new basis for the rational selection of combination immunotherapy for PDA..
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-19-0081DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6606359PMC
July 2019

Logic-Gated ROR1 Chimeric Antigen Receptor Expression Rescues T Cell-Mediated Toxicity to Normal Tissues and Enables Selective Tumor Targeting.

Cancer Cell 2019 03;35(3):489-503.e8

Program in Immunology, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, 1100 Fairview Avenue N, D3-100, Seattle, WA 98109-1024, USA; Department of Immunology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98109, USA; Department of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98109, USA.

Many potential targets for CAR-T cells in solid tumors are expressed in some normal tissues, raising concern for off-tumor toxicity. Following lymphodepletion, CAR-T cells targeting the tumor-associated antigen ROR1 lysed tumors in mice but induced lethal bone marrow failure due to recognition of ROR1 stromal cells. To improve selectivity, we engineered T cells with synthetic Notch (synNotch) receptors specific for EpCAM or B7-H3, which are expressed on ROR1 tumor cells but not ROR1 stromal cells. SynNotch receptors induced ROR1 CAR expression selectively within the tumor, resulting in tumor regression without toxicity when tumor cells were segregated from, but not when co-localized with, normal ROR1 cells. This strategy, thus, permits safe targeting of tumors that are sufficiently separated from normal cells.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ccell.2019.02.003DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6450658PMC
March 2019

Successful Anti-PD-1 Cancer Immunotherapy Requires T Cell-Dendritic Cell Crosstalk Involving the Cytokines IFN-γ and IL-12.

Immunity 2018 12 11;49(6):1148-1161.e7. Epub 2018 Dec 11.

Center for Systems Biology, Massachusetts General Hospital, 185 Cambridge St, CPZN 5206, Boston, MA 02114, USA; Department of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital, 185 Cambridge St, CPZN 5206, Boston, MA 02114, USA. Electronic address:

Anti-PD-1 immune checkpoint blockers can induce sustained clinical responses in cancer but how they function in vivo remains incompletely understood. Here, we combined intravital real-time imaging with single-cell RNA sequencing analysis and mouse models to uncover anti-PD-1 pharmacodynamics directly within tumors. We showed that effective antitumor responses required a subset of tumor-infiltrating dendritic cells (DCs), which produced interleukin 12 (IL-12). These DCs did not bind anti-PD-1 but produced IL-12 upon sensing interferon γ (IFN-γ) that was released from neighboring T cells. In turn, DC-derived IL-12 stimulated antitumor T cell immunity. These findings suggest that full-fledged activation of antitumor T cells by anti-PD-1 is not direct, but rather involves T cell:DC crosstalk and is licensed by IFN-γ and IL-12. Furthermore, we found that activating the non-canonical NF-κB transcription factor pathway amplified IL-12-producing DCs and sensitized tumors to anti-PD-1 treatment, suggesting a therapeutic strategy to improve responses to checkpoint blockade.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.immuni.2018.09.024DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6301092PMC
December 2018

Characterization of abscopal effects of intratumoral electroporation-mediated IL-12 gene therapy.

Gene Ther 2019 02 15;26(1-2):1-15. Epub 2018 Oct 15.

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, 1100 Fairview Avenue N, Seattle, WA, 98109, USA.

Intratumoral electroporation-mediated IL-12 gene therapy (IT-pIL12/EP) has been shown to be safe and effective in clinical trials, demonstrating systemic antitumor effects with local delivery of this potent cytokine. We recently optimized our IL-12 gene delivery platform to increase transgene expression and efficacy in preclinical models. Here we analyze the immunological changes induced with the new IT-pIL12/EP platform in both electroporated and distant, non-electroporated lesions. IT-pIL12/EP-treated tumors demonstrated rapid induction of IL-12-regulated pathways, as well as other cytokines and chemokines pathways, and upregulation of antigen presentation machinery. The distant tumors showed an increase in infiltrating lymphocytes and gene expression changes indicative of a de novo immune response in these untreated lesions. Flow cytometric analyses revealed a KLRG1 CD8 effector T-cell population uniquely present in mice treated with IT-pIL12/EP. Despite being highly activated, this population expressed diminished levels of PD-1 when re-exposed to antigen in the PD-L1-rich tumor. Other T-cell exhaustion markers appeared to be downregulated in concert, suggesting an orchestrated "armoring" of these effector T cells against T-cell checkpoints when primed in the presence of IL-12 in situ. These cells may represent an important mechanism by which local IL-12 gene therapy can induce a systemic antitumor immune response without the associated toxicity of systemic IL-12 exposure.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41434-018-0044-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6514882PMC
February 2019

Development of an adaptive electroporation system for intratumoral plasmid DNA delivery.

Bioelectrochemistry 2018 Aug 9;122:191-198. Epub 2018 Apr 9.

OncoSec Medical Incorporated, 5820 Nancy Ridge Drive, San Diego, CA, USA. Electronic address:

Intratumoral electroporation of plasmid DNA encoding the proinflammatory cytokine interleukin 12 promotes innate and adaptive immune responses correlating with anti-tumor effects. Clinical electroporation conditions are fixed parameters optimized in preclinical tumors, which consist of cells implanted into skin. These conditions have little translatability to clinically relevant tumors, as implanted models cannot capture the heterogeneity encountered in genetically engineered mouse models or clinical tumors. Variables affecting treatment outcome include tumor size, degree of vascularization, fibrosis, and necrosis, which can result in suboptimal gene transfer and variable therapeutic outcomes. To address this, a feedback controlled electroporation generator was developed, which is capable of assessing the electrochemical properties of tissue in real time. Determination of these properties is accomplished by impedance spectroscopy and equivalent circuit model parameter estimation. Model parameters that estimate electrical properties of cell membranes are used to adjust electroporation parameters for each applied pulse. Studies performed in syngeneic colon carcinoma tumors (MC38) and spontaneous mammary tumors (MMTV-PyVT) demonstrated feedback-based electroporation is capable of achieving maximum expression of reporter genes with significantly less variability and applied energy. These findings represent an advancement to the practice of gene electro-transfer, as reducing variability and retaining transfected cell viability is paramount to treatment success.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bioelechem.2018.04.005DOI Listing
August 2018

Safety and Efficacy of Intratumoral Injections of Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T Cells in Metastatic Breast Cancer.

Cancer Immunol Res 2017 12 6;5(12):1152-1161. Epub 2017 Nov 6.

Abramson Cancer Center, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Chimeric antigen receptors (CAR) are synthetic molecules that provide new specificities to T cells. Although successful in treatment of hematologic malignancies, CAR T cells are ineffective for solid tumors to date. We found that the cell-surface molecule c-Met was expressed in ∼50% of breast tumors, prompting the construction of a CAR T cell specific for c-Met, which halted tumor growth in immune-incompetent mice with tumor xenografts. We then evaluated the safety and feasibility of treating metastatic breast cancer with intratumoral administration of mRNA-transfected c-Met-CAR T cells in a phase 0 clinical trial (NCT01837602). Introducing the CAR construct via mRNA ensured safety by limiting the nontumor cell effects (on-target/off-tumor) of targeting c-Met. Patients with metastatic breast cancer with accessible cutaneous or lymph node metastases received a single intratumoral injection of 3 × 10 or 3 × 10 cells. CAR T mRNA was detectable in peripheral blood and in the injected tumor tissues after intratumoral injection in 2 and 4 patients, respectively. mRNA c-Met-CAR T cell injections were well tolerated, as none of the patients had study drug-related adverse effects greater than grade 1. Tumors treated with intratumoral injected mRNA c-Met-CAR T cells were excised and analyzed by immunohistochemistry, revealing extensive tumor necrosis at the injection site, cellular debris, loss of c-Met immunoreactivity, all surrounded by macrophages at the leading edges and within necrotic zones. We conclude that intratumoral injections of mRNA c-Met-CAR T cells are well tolerated and evoke an inflammatory response within tumors. .
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/2326-6066.CIR-17-0189DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5712264PMC
December 2017

Dramatic enhancement of the detection limits of bioassays via ultrafast deposition of polydopamine.

Nat Biomed Eng 2017 5;1. Epub 2017 Jun 5.

Department of Bioengineering, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA.

The ability to detect biomarkers with ultrahigh sensitivity radically transformed biology and disease diagnosis. However, owing to incompatibilities with infrastructure in current biological and medical laboratories, recent innovations in analytical technology have not received broad adoption. Here, we report a simple, universal 'add-on' technology (dubbed EASE) that can be directly plugged into the routine practices of current research and clinical laboratories and that converts the ordinary sensitivities of common bioassays to extraordinary ones. The assay relies on the bioconjugation capabilities and ultrafast and localized deposition of polydopamine at the target site, which permit a large number of reporter molecules to be captured and lead to detection-sensitivity enhancements exceeding 3 orders of magnitude. The application of EASE in the enzyme-linked-immunosorbent-assay-based detection of the HIV antigen in blood from patients leads to a sensitivity lower than 3 fg ml. We also show that EASE allows for the direct visualization, in tissues, of the Zika virus and of low-abundance biomarkers related to neurological diseases and cancer immunotherapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41551-017-0082DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5654575PMC
June 2017

T-cell Localization, Activation, and Clonal Expansion in Human Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma.

Cancer Immunol Res 2017 11 24;5(11):978-991. Epub 2017 Oct 24.

Clinical Research Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington.

Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) is a lethal malignancy resistant to most therapies, including immune checkpoint blockade. To elucidate mechanisms of immunotherapy resistance, we assessed immune parameters in resected human PDA. We demonstrate significant interpatient variability in T-cell number, localization, and phenotype. CD8 T cells, Foxp3 regulatory T cells, and PD-1 and PD-L1 cells were preferentially enriched in tertiary lymphoid structures that were found in most tumors compared with stroma and tumor cell nests. Tumors containing more CD8 T cells also had increased granulocytes, CD163 (M2 immunosuppressive phenotype) macrophages, and FOXP3 regulatory T cells. PD-L1 was rare on tumor cells, but was expressed by CD163 macrophages and an additional stromal cell subset commonly found clustered together adjacent to tumor epithelium. The majority of tumoral CD8 T cells did not express molecules suggestive of recent T-cell receptor (TCR) signaling. However, 41BBPD-1 T cells were still significantly enriched in tumors compared with circulation. Tumoral CD8PD-1 T cells commonly expressed additional inhibitory receptors, yet were mostly T-BET and EOMES, consistent with a less terminally exhausted state. Analysis of gene expression and rearranged TCR genes by deep sequencing suggested most patients have a limited tumor-reactive T-cell response. Multiplex immunohistochemistry revealed variable T-cell infiltration based on abundance and location, which may result in different mechanisms of immunotherapy resistance. Overall, the data support the need for therapies that either induce endogenous, or provide engineered, tumor-specific T-cell responses, and concurrently relieve suppressive mechanisms operative at the tumor site. .
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/2326-6066.CIR-16-0322DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5802342PMC
November 2017

Melanoma treatment with intratumoral electroporation of tavokinogene telseplasmid (pIL-12, tavokinogene telseplasmid).

Immunotherapy 2017 12 24;9(16):1309-1321. Epub 2017 Oct 24.

UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, 1600 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94115, USA.

Tumors evade detection and/or clearance by the immune system via multiple mechanisms. IL-12 is a potent immunomodulatory cytokine that plays a central role in immune priming. However, systemic delivery of IL-12 can result in life-threatening toxicity and therefore has shown limited efficacy at doses that can be safely administered. We developed an electroporation technique to produce highly localized IL-12 expression within tumors leading to regression of both treated and untreated lesions in animal models and in patients with a favorable safety profile. Furthermore, intratumoral tavokinogene telseplasmid electroporation can drive cellular immune responses, converting 'cold' tumors into 'hot' tumors. Clinical trials are ongoing to determine whether intratumoral tavokinogene telseplasmid electroporation synergizes with checkpoint blockade therapy in immunologically cold tumors predicted not to respond to PD-1 antibody monotherapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2217/imt-2017-0096DOI Listing
December 2017

PD-1 Expression in Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinomas Derives Primarily from Functionally Anergic CD4 TILs in the Presence of PD-L1 TAMs.

Cancer Res 2017 11 25;77(22):6365-6374. Epub 2017 Sep 25.

Department of Surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.

Oral tongue squamous cell carcinoma (OTSCC) is the most common oral cavity tumor. In this study, we examined the basis for the activity of programmed cell death protein (PD-1)-based immune checkpoint therapy that is being explored widely in head and neck cancers. Using multispectral imaging, we systematically investigated the OTSCC tumor microenvironment (TME) by evaluating the frequency of PD-1 expression in CD8, CD4, and FoxP3 tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL). We also defined the cellular sources of PD-1 ligand (PD-L1) to evaluate the utility of PD-1:PD-L1 blocking antibody therapy in this patient population. PD-L1 was expressed in 79% of the OTSCC specimens examined within the TME. Expression of PD-L1 was associated with moderate to high levels of CD4 and CD8 TILs. We found that CD4 TILs were present in equal or greater frequencies than CD8 TILs in 94% of OTSCC and that CD4FOXP3neg TILs were colocalized with PD-1/PD-L1/CD68 more frequently than CD8 TILs. Both CD4PD1 and CD8PD1 TILs were anergic in the setting of PD-L1 expression. Overall, our results highlight the importance of CD4 TILs as pivotal regulators of PD-L1 levels and in determining the responsiveness of OTSCC to PD1-based immune checkpoint therapy. .
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-16-3453DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5690870PMC
November 2017

Assessing Tumor-Infiltrating Lymphocytes in Solid Tumors: A Practical Review for Pathologists and Proposal for a Standardized Method from the International Immuno-Oncology Biomarkers Working Group: Part 2: TILs in Melanoma, Gastrointestinal Tract Carcinomas, Non-Small Cell Lung Carcinoma and Mesothelioma, Endometrial and Ovarian Carcinomas, Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Head and Neck, Genitourinary Carcinomas, and Primary Brain Tumors.

Adv Anat Pathol 2017 Nov;24(6):311-335

Departments of *Pathology §§§Medical Oncology, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne †The Sir Peter MacCallum Department of Oncology Departments of **Pathology ∥∥Medicine, University of Melbourne ¶¶Department of Anatomical Pathology, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Parkville #Department of Anatomical Pathology, St Vincent's Hospital Melbourne, Fitzroy ††Department of Medical Oncology, Austin Health ‡‡Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute, Heidelberg §§School of Cancer Medicine, La Trobe University, Bundoora §§§§§Centre for Clinical Research and School of Medicine, The University of Queensland ∥∥∥∥∥Pathology Queensland, Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital, Brisbane §§§§§§§§§§The Cancer Research Program, Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Darlinghurst ∥∥∥∥∥∥∥∥∥∥Australian Clinical Labs, Bella Vista ‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡Directorate of Surgical Pathology, SA Pathology §§§§§§§§§§§§Discipline of Medicine, Adelaide University, Adelaide, Australia ***********Department of Surgical Oncology, Netherlands Cancer Institute †††††††††††††Department of Pathology ##Divisions of Diagnostic Oncology & Molecular Pathology, Netherlands Cancer Institute-Antoni van Leeuwenhoek, Amsterdam, The Netherlands ###Université Paris-Est ****INSERM, UMR 955 ††††Département de pathologie, APHP, Hôpital Henri-Mondor, Créteil ∥∥∥∥∥∥∥∥∥Service de Biostatistique et d'Epidémiologie, Gustave Roussy, CESP, Inserm U1018, Université-Paris Sud, Université Paris-Saclay ¶¶¶¶¶¶¶¶¶¶INSERM Unit U981, and Department of Medical Oncology, Gustave Roussy, Villejuif ##########Faculté de Médecine, Université Paris Sud, Kremlin-Bicêtre †††††††Department of Surgical Pathology and Biopathology, Jean Perrin Comprehensive Cancer Centre ‡‡‡‡‡‡‡University of Auvergne UMR1240, Clermont-Ferrand, France ‡‡‡‡Department of Medicine, Clinical Division of Oncology §§§§Institute of Neurology, Comprehensive Cancer Centre Vienna, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna ††††††††††††††Institute of Pathology, Medical University of Graz, Austria ∥∥∥∥European Institute of Oncology ¶¶¶¶School of Medicine ######Department of Pathology, Istituto Europeo di Oncologia, University of Milan, Milan ¶¶¶¶¶¶¶¶¶¶¶¶¶Department of Surgery, Oncology and Gastroenterology, University of Padova #############Medical Oncology 2, Veneto Institute of Oncology IOV-IRCCS, Padua, Italy †††††Molecular Oncology Group, Vall d'Hebron Institute of Oncology, Barcelona †††††††††††Pathology Department, IIS-Fundacion Jimenez Diaz, UAM, Madrid, Spain §Department of Pathology and TCRU, GZA ¶¶¶Department of Pathology, GZA Ziekenhuizen, Antwerp ∥Laboratory of Experimental Urology, Department of Development and Regeneration, KU Leuven ‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡Department of Pathology, University Hospital Leuven, Leuven, Belgium ¶Department of Pathology, AZ Klina, Brasschaat ††††††Department of Pathology, GZA Ziekenhuizen, Sint-Augustinus, Wilrijk ∥∥∥Molecular Immunology Unit ‡‡‡‡‡‡Department of Medical Oncology, Institut Jules Bordet, Université Libre de Bruxelles ‡Breast Cancer Translational Research Laboratory/Breast International Group, Institut Jules Bordet **************European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) Headquarters *******Department of Pathology, Institut Jules Bordet, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium §§§§§§§Department of Surgery, Kansai Medical School, Hirakata, Japan #######Severance Biomedical Science Institute and Department of Medical Oncology, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, South Korea ∥∥∥∥∥∥∥∥Tumor Pathology Department, Maria Sklodowska-Curie Memorial Cancer Center ¶¶¶¶¶¶¶¶Institute of Oncology, Gliwice Branch, Gliwice, Poland ‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡Pathology and Tissue Analytics, Roche Innovation Centre Munich, Penzberg †††††††††Institute of Pathology, Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin ‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡VMscope GmbH, Berlin ¶¶¶¶¶¶¶¶¶German Breast Group GmbH, Neu-Isenburg, Germany **********Trev & Joyce Deeley Research Centre, British Columbia Cancer Agency ††††††††††Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology, University of Victoria, Victoria Departments of ‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡Medical Genetics #########Pathology and Laboratory Medicine ¶¶¶¶¶¶¶¶¶¶¶Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Genetic Pathology Evaluation Centre, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC ###########Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada §§§§§§§§§§§Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College, Doha, Qatar ‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Rhode Island Hospital and Lifespan Medical Center §§§§§§§§Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Providence ¶¶¶¶¶National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project Operations Center/NRG Oncology, Pittsburgh, PA †††Breast Cancer Research Program, Vanderbilt Ingram Cancer Center, Vanderbilt University Departments of ‡‡‡Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology ########Department of Medicine, Vanderbilt University Medical Centre *********Vanderbilt Ingram Cancer Center, Nashville §§§§§§§§§Department of Pathology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven ∥∥∥∥∥∥∥∥∥∥∥Department of Oncology, Montefiore Medical Centre, Albert Einstein College of Medicine ∥∥∥∥∥∥∥Montefiore Medical Center ¶¶¶¶¶¶¶The Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY ********Department of Pathology, Brigham and Women's Hospital #####Cancer Research Institute and Department of Pathology, Beth Israel Deaconess Cancer Center ******Harvard Medical School ¶¶¶¶¶¶¶¶¶¶¶¶Division of Hematology-Oncology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center ††††††††Department of Cancer Biology ‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA ∥∥∥∥∥∥∥∥∥∥∥∥∥Department of Medicine, Division of Medical Oncology, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, CO ‡‡‡‡‡Department of Cancer Biology, Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, FL ∥∥∥∥∥∥Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Indiana University, Indianapolis, IN ¶¶¶¶¶¶Cancer Immunotherapy Trials Network, Central Laboratory and Program in Immunology, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA ††††††††††††Department of Pathology, New York University Langone Medical Centre ############New York University Medical School *************Perlmutter Cancer Center §§§§§§§§§§§§§Pulmonary Pathology, New York University Center for Biospecimen Research and Development, New York University ***************Department of Pathology, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center ####Departments of Radiation Oncology and Pathology, Weill Cornell Medicine, New York, NY *****Department of Pathology, University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX ∥∥∥∥∥∥∥∥∥∥∥∥Pathology Department, Stanford University Medical Centre, Stanford ∥∥∥∥∥∥∥∥∥∥∥∥∥∥Department of Pathology, Stanford University, Palo Alto ***Department of Pathology, School of Medicine, University of California, San Diego §§§§§§§§§§§§§§Research Pathology, Genentech Inc., South San Francisco, CA *************Laboratory of Pathology, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda ¶¶¶¶¶¶¶¶¶¶¶¶¶¶Translational Sciences, MedImmune, Gaithersberg, MD §§§§§§Academic Medical Innovation, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, East Hanover ##############Translational Medicine, Merck & Co. Inc., Kenilworth, NJ.

Assessment of the immune response to tumors is growing in importance as the prognostic implications of this response are increasingly recognized, and as immunotherapies are evaluated and implemented in different tumor types. However, many different approaches can be used to assess and describe the immune response, which limits efforts at implementation as a routine clinical biomarker. In part 1 of this review, we have proposed a standardized methodology to assess tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) in solid tumors, based on the International Immuno-Oncology Biomarkers Working Group guidelines for invasive breast carcinoma. In part 2 of this review, we discuss the available evidence for the prognostic and predictive value of TILs in common solid tumors, including carcinomas of the lung, gastrointestinal tract, genitourinary system, gynecologic system, and head and neck, as well as primary brain tumors, mesothelioma and melanoma. The particularities and different emphases in TIL assessment in different tumor types are discussed. The standardized methodology we propose can be adapted to different tumor types and may be used as a standard against which other approaches can be compared. Standardization of TIL assessment will help clinicians, researchers and pathologists to conclusively evaluate the utility of this simple biomarker in the current era of immunotherapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/PAP.0000000000000161DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5638696PMC
November 2017

Assessing Tumor-infiltrating Lymphocytes in Solid Tumors: A Practical Review for Pathologists and Proposal for a Standardized Method From the International Immunooncology Biomarkers Working Group: Part 1: Assessing the Host Immune Response, TILs in Invasive Breast Carcinoma and Ductal Carcinoma In Situ, Metastatic Tumor Deposits and Areas for Further Research.

Adv Anat Pathol 2017 Sep;24(5):235-251

Departments of *Pathology §§§Medical Oncology, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne †The Sir Peter MacCallum Department of Oncology Departments of **Pathology ∥∥Medicine, University of Melbourne ¶¶Department of Anatomical Pathology, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Parkville #Department of Anatomical Pathology, St Vincent's Hospital Melbourne, Fitzroy ††Department of Medical Oncology, Austin Health ‡‡Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute, Heidelberg §§School of Cancer Medicine, La Trobe University, Bundoora §§§§§Centre for Clinical Research and School of Medicine, The University of Queensland ∥∥∥∥∥Pathology Queensland, Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital, Brisbane §§§§§§§§§§The Cancer Research Program, Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Darlinghurst ∥∥∥∥∥∥∥∥∥∥Australian Clinical Labs, Bella Vista ‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡Directorate of Surgical Pathology, SA Pathology §§§§§§§§§§§§Discipline of Medicine, Adelaide University, Adelaide, Australia ***********Department of Surgical Oncology, Netherlands Cancer Institute †††††††††††††Department of Pathology ##Divisions of Diagnostic Oncology & Molecular Pathology, Netherlands Cancer Institute-Antoni van Leeuwenhoek, Amsterdam, The Netherlands ###Université Paris-Est ****INSERM, UMR 955 ††††Département de pathologie, APHP, Hôpital Henri-Mondor, Créteil ∥∥∥∥∥∥∥∥∥Service de Biostatistique et d'Epidémiologie, Gustave Roussy, CESP, Inserm U1018, Université-Paris Sud, Université Paris-Saclay ¶¶¶¶¶¶¶¶¶¶INSERM Unit U981, and Department of Medical Oncology, Gustave Roussy, Villejuif ##########Faculté de Médecine, Université Paris Sud, Kremlin-Bicêtre †††††††Department of Surgical Pathology and Biopathology, Jean Perrin Comprehensive Cancer Centre ‡‡‡‡‡‡‡University of Auvergne UMR1240, Clermont-Ferrand, France ‡‡‡‡Department of Medicine, Clinical Division of Oncology §§§§Institute of Neurology, Comprehensive Cancer Centre Vienna, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna ††††††††††††††Institute of Pathology, Medical University of Graz, Austria ∥∥∥∥European Institute of Oncology ¶¶¶¶School of Medicine ######Department of Pathology, Istituto Europeo di Oncologia, University of Milan, Milan ¶¶¶¶¶¶¶¶¶¶¶¶¶Department of Surgery, Oncology and Gastroenterology, University of Padova #############Medical Oncology 2, Veneto Institute of Oncology IOV-IRCCS, Padua, Italy †††††Molecular Oncology Group, Vall d'Hebron Institute of Oncology, Barcelona †††††††††††Pathology Department, IIS-Fundacion Jimenez Diaz, UAM, Madrid, Spain §Department of Pathology and TCRU, GZA ¶¶¶Department of Pathology, GZA Ziekenhuizen, Antwerp ∥Laboratory of Experimental Urology, Department of Development and Regeneration, KU Leuven ‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡Department of Pathology, University Hospital Leuven, Leuven, Belgium ¶Department of Pathology, AZ Klina, Brasschaat ††††††Department of Pathology, GZA Ziekenhuizen, Sint-Augustinus, Wilrijk ∥∥∥Molecular Immunology Unit ‡‡‡‡‡‡Department of Medical Oncology, Institut Jules Bordet, Université Libre de Bruxelles ‡Breast Cancer Translational Research Laboratory/Breast International Group, Institut Jules Bordet **************European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) Headquarters *******Department of Pathology, Institut Jules Bordet, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium §§§§§§§Department of Surgery, Kansai Medical School, Hirakata, Japan #######Severance Biomedical Science Institute and Department of Medical Oncology, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, South Korea ∥∥∥∥∥∥∥∥Tumor Pathology Department, Maria Sklodowska-Curie Memorial Cancer Center ¶¶¶¶¶¶¶¶Institute of Oncology, Gliwice Branch, Gliwice, Poland ‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡Pathology and Tissue Analytics, Roche Innovation Centre Munich, Penzberg †††††††††Institute of Pathology, Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin ‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡VMscope GmbH, Berlin ¶¶¶¶¶¶¶¶¶German Breast Group GmbH, Neu-Isenburg, Germany **********Trev & Joyce Deeley Research Centre, British Columbia Cancer Agency ††††††††††Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology, University of Victoria, Victoria Departments of ‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡Medical Genetics #########Pathology and Laboratory Medicine ¶¶¶¶¶¶¶¶¶¶¶Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Genetic Pathology Evaluation Centre, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC ###########Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada §§§§§§§§§§§Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College, Doha, Qatar ‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Rhode Island Hospital and Lifespan Medical Center §§§§§§§§Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Providence ¶¶¶¶¶National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project Operations Center/NRG Oncology, Pittsburgh, PA †††Breast Cancer Research Program, Vanderbilt Ingram Cancer Center, Vanderbilt University Departments of ‡‡‡Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology ########Department of Medicine, Vanderbilt University Medical Centre *********Vanderbilt Ingram Cancer Center, Nashville §§§§§§§§§Department of Pathology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven ∥∥∥∥∥∥∥∥∥∥∥Department of Oncology, Montefiore Medical Centre, Albert Einstein College of Medicine ∥∥∥∥∥∥∥Montefiore Medical Center ¶¶¶¶¶¶¶The Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY ********Department of Pathology, Brigham and Women's Hospital #####Cancer Research Institute and Department of Pathology, Beth Israel Deaconess Cancer Center ******Harvard Medical School ¶¶¶¶¶¶¶¶¶¶¶¶Division of Hematology-Oncology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center ††††††††Department of Cancer Biology ‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA ∥∥∥∥∥∥∥∥∥∥∥∥∥Department of Medicine, Division of Medical Oncology, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, CO ‡‡‡‡‡Department of Cancer Biology, Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, FL ∥∥∥∥∥∥Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Indiana University, Indianapolis, IN ¶¶¶¶¶¶Cancer Immunotherapy Trials Network, Central Laboratory and Program in Immunology, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA ††††††††††††Department of Pathology, New York University Langone Medical Centre ############New York University Medical School *************Perlmutter Cancer Center §§§§§§§§§§§§§Pulmonary Pathology, New York University Center for Biospecimen Research and Development, New York University ***************Department of Pathology, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center ####Departments of Radiation Oncology and Pathology, Weill Cornell Medicine, New York, NY *****Department of Pathology, University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX ∥∥∥∥∥∥∥∥∥∥∥∥Pathology Department, Stanford University Medical Centre, Stanford ∥∥∥∥∥∥∥∥∥∥∥∥∥∥Department of Pathology, Stanford University, Palo Alto ***Department of Pathology, School of Medicine, University of California, San Diego §§§§§§§§§§§§§§Research Pathology, Genentech Inc., South San Francisco, CA *************Laboratory of Pathology, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda ¶¶¶¶¶¶¶¶¶¶¶¶¶¶Translational Sciences, MedImmune, Gaithersberg, MD §§§§§§Academic Medical Innovation, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, East Hanover ##############Translational Medicine, Merck & Co. Inc., Kenilworth, NJ.

Assessment of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) in histopathologic specimens can provide important prognostic information in diverse solid tumor types, and may also be of value in predicting response to treatments. However, implementation as a routine clinical biomarker has not yet been achieved. As successful use of immune checkpoint inhibitors and other forms of immunotherapy become a clinical reality, the need for widely applicable, accessible, and reliable immunooncology biomarkers is clear. In part 1 of this review we briefly discuss the host immune response to tumors and different approaches to TIL assessment. We propose a standardized methodology to assess TILs in solid tumors on hematoxylin and eosin sections, in both primary and metastatic settings, based on the International Immuno-Oncology Biomarker Working Group guidelines for TIL assessment in invasive breast carcinoma. A review of the literature regarding the value of TIL assessment in different solid tumor types follows in part 2. The method we propose is reproducible, affordable, easily applied, and has demonstrated prognostic and predictive significance in invasive breast carcinoma. This standardized methodology may be used as a reference against which other methods are compared, and should be evaluated for clinical validity and utility. Standardization of TIL assessment will help to improve consistency and reproducibility in this field, enrich both the quality and quantity of comparable evidence, and help to thoroughly evaluate the utility of TILs assessment in this era of immunotherapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/PAP.0000000000000162DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5564448PMC
September 2017

Liver Metastasis and Treatment Outcome with Anti-PD-1 Monoclonal Antibody in Patients with Melanoma and NSCLC.

Cancer Immunol Res 2017 05 14;5(5):417-424. Epub 2017 Apr 14.

University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California.

We explored the association between liver metastases, tumor CD8 T-cell count, and response in patients with melanoma or lung cancer treated with the anti-PD-1 antibody, pembrolizumab. The melanoma discovery cohort was drawn from the phase I Keynote 001 trial, whereas the melanoma validation cohort was drawn from Keynote 002, 006, and EAP trials and the non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cohort from Keynote 001. Liver metastasis was associated with reduced response and shortened progression-free survival [PFS; objective response rate (ORR), 30.6%; median PFS, 5.1 months] compared with patients without liver metastasis (ORR, 56.3%; median PFS, 20.1 months) ≤ 0.0001, and confirmed in the validation cohort ( = 0.0006). The presence of liver metastasis significantly increased the likelihood of progression (OR, 1.852; < 0.0001). In a subset of biopsied patients ( = 62), liver metastasis was associated with reduced CD8 T-cell density at the invasive tumor margin (liver metastasis group, = 547 ± 164.8; liver metastasis group, = 1,441 ± 250.7; < 0.016). A reduced response rate and shortened PFS was also observed in NSCLC patients with liver metastasis [median PFS, 1.8 months; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.4-2.0], compared with those without liver metastasis ( = 119, median PFS, 4.0 months; 95% CI, 2.1-5.1), = 0.0094. Thus, liver metastatic patients with melanoma or NSCLC that had been treated with pembrolizumab were associated with reduced responses and PFS, and liver metastases were associated with reduced marginal CD8 T-cell infiltration, providing a potential mechanism for this outcome. .
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/2326-6066.CIR-16-0325DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5749922PMC
May 2017

Tumor immune profiling predicts response to anti-PD-1 therapy in human melanoma.

J Clin Invest 2016 09 15;126(9):3447-52. Epub 2016 Aug 15.

Background: Immune checkpoint blockade is revolutionizing therapy for advanced cancer, but many patients do not respond to treatment. The identification of robust biomarkers that predict clinical response to specific checkpoint inhibitors is critical in order to stratify patients and to rationally select combinations in the context of an expanding array of therapeutic options.

Methods: We performed multiparameter flow cytometry on freshly isolated metastatic melanoma samples from 2 cohorts of 20 patients each prior to treatment and correlated the subsequent clinical response with the tumor immune phenotype.

Results: Increasing fractions of programmed cell death 1 high/cytotoxic T lymphocyte-associated protein 4 high (PD-1hiCTLA-4hi) cells within the tumor-infiltrating CD8+ T cell subset strongly correlated with response to therapy (RR) and progression-free survival (PFS). Functional analysis of these cells revealed a partially exhausted T cell phenotype. Assessment of metastatic lesions during anti-PD-1 therapy demonstrated a release of T cell exhaustion, as measured by an accumulation of highly activated CD8+ T cells within tumors, with no effect on Tregs.

Conclusions: Our data suggest that the relative abundance of partially exhausted tumor-infiltrating CD8+ T cells predicts response to anti-PD-1 therapy. This information can be used to appropriately select patients with a high likelihood of achieving a clinical response to PD-1 pathway inhibition.

Funding: This work was funded by a generous gift provided by Inga-Lill and David Amoroso as well as a generous gift provided by Stephen Juelsgaard and Lori Cook.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1172/JCI87324DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5004965PMC
September 2016