Antibody-based Delivery of TNF to the Tumor Neovasculature Potentiates the Therapeutic Activity of a Peptide Anticancer Vaccine

Philipp Probst, Marco Stringhini, Danilo Ritz, Tim Fugmann, Dario Neri
There is a growing interest in the use of tumor antigens for therapeutic vaccination strategies. Unfortunately, in most cases, the use of peptide vaccines in patients does not mediate shrinkage of solid tumor masses. Here, we studied the opportunity to boost peptide vaccination with F8-TNF, an antibody fusion protein that selectively delivers TNF to the tumor extracellular matrix. In tumor-bearing BALB/c mice, peptide antigens derived from the gp70 envelope protein of the murine leukemia virus
more » ... xhibited only a modest tumor growth inhibition when used in combination with poly(I:C). However, anti-cancer activity could be substantially increased by combination with F8-TNF. Analysis of T cells in tumor-draining lymph nodes and in the neoplastic mass revealed a dramatic expansion of AH1-specific CD8 + T cells, which were strongly positive for PD-1, LAG-3 and TIM-3. The synergistic anti-cancer activity, observed in the combined use of peptide vaccination and F8-TNF, was largely due to the ability of the fusion protein to induce a rapid hemorrhagic necrosis in the tumor mass, thus leaving few residual tumor cells. While the cell surface phenotype of tumor-infiltrating CD8 + T cells did not substantially change upon treatment, the proportion of AH1-specific T cells was strongly increased in the combination therapy group, reaching more than 50% of the CD8 + T cells within the tumor mass. Since both peptide vaccination strategies and tumor-homing TNF fusion proteins are currently being studied in clinical trials, our study provides a rationale for the combination of these two regimens for the treatment of patients with cancer.
doi:10.3929/ethz-b-000322259 fatcat:xb5p2qyn4rdvjjdj7xoiql2izi