Intratumoral virotherapy with 4-1BBL armed modified vaccinia Ankara eradicates solid tumors and promotes protective immune memory
Keywords: 
Immunotherapy
Local virotherapy
Lymphocyte activation
Vaccination
Lymphocytes
Tumor-infiltrating
Issue Date: 
2021
ISSN: 
2051-1426
Note: 
This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY- NC 4.0) license
Citation: 
Hinterberger, M.; Giessel, R.; Fiore, G.; et al. "Intratumoral virotherapy with 4-1BBL armed modified vaccinia Ankara eradicates solid tumors and promotes protective immune memory". Journal for Immunotherapy of Cancer. 9 (2), 2021, e001586
Abstract
Background Human cancers are extraordinarily heterogeneous in terms of tumor antigen expression, immune infiltration and composition. A common feature, however, is the host ' s inability to mount potent immune responses that prevent tumor growth effectively. Often, naturally primed CD8(+) T cells against solid tumors lack adequate stimulation and efficient tumor tissue penetration due to an immune hostile tumor microenvironment. Methods To address these shortcomings, we cloned tumor-associated antigens (TAA) and the immune-stimulatory ligand 4-1BBL into the genome of modified vaccinia Ankara (MVA) for intratumoral virotherapy. Results Local treatment with MVA-TAA-4-1BBL resulted in control of established tumors. Intratumoral injection of MVA localized mainly to the tumor with minimal leakage to the tumor-draining lymph node. In situ infection by MVA-TAA-4-1BBL triggered profound changes in the tumor microenvironment, including the induction of multiple proinflammatory molecules and immunogenic cell death. These changes led to the reactivation and expansion of antigen-experienced, tumor-specific cytotoxic CD8(+) T cells that were essential for the therapeutic antitumor effect. Strikingly, we report the induction of a systemic antitumor immune response including tumor antigen spread by local MVA-TAA-4-1BBL treatment which controlled tumor growth at distant, untreated lesions and protected against local and systemic tumor rechallenge. In all cases, 4-1BBL adjuvanted MVA was superior to MVA. Conclusion Intratumoral 4-1BBL-armed MVA immunotherapy induced a profound reactivation and expansion of potent tumor-specific CD8(+) T cells as well as favorable proinflammatory changes in the tumor microenvironment, leading to elimination of tumors and protective immunological memory.

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