While cancer immunotherapies like checkpoint inhibitors have resulted in unprecedented clinical success, they only benefit a subset of patients. To improve therapeutic outcomes for greater numbers of patients, one strategy is to rationally combine different immunotherapy modalities. We recently demonstrated that attaching albumin-binding lipophilic tails to peptide antigens or molecular adjuvants (creating amphiphile vaccines) results in enhanced T-cell responses. Additionally, we observed significant tumor regression upon combining tumor-antigen targeting antibodies with extended half-life IL-2 (exPK-IL-2) in mouse models of melanoma and prostate cancer. In the present work, we combined both approaches to treat a spontaneous model of lung adenocarcinoma expressing carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA), an oncofetal protein expressed in some human lung cancers. KrasLSL-G12D/+;;p53fl/fl mice were crossed with transgenic mice expressing human-CEA to generate a CEA-tolerant background. Lung tumors were induced by infection with a lentivirus expressing Cre recombinase and human CEA. Due to the extended latency of tumor initiation in this model, we also generated a CEA-expressing cell line from these mice to test the efficacy of different combination immunotherapy regimens. We discovered that weekly treatments combining a CEA-targeting amphiphile-vaccine, exPK-IL-2, and an anti-CEA antibody with checkpoint inhibitors (anti-PD-1 and -CTLA4) resulted in sustained tumor regression in 50% of mice bearing established tumors. We are currently testing this combination immunotherapy on autochthonous lung tumors. Our results suggest that breaking tolerance to a tumor-associated self-antigen (CEA) and combining immunotherapies to recruit both innate and adaptive immune effectors can have a potent therapeutic effect in intractable tumors like lung cancer.
Citation Format: Kavya Rakhra, Eric F. Zhu, Wuhbet Abraham, Kelly D. Moynihan, Naveen Mehta, Karl D. Wittrup, Darrell J. Irvine. Combination immunotherapy of an autochthonous murine lung cancer model expressing human CEA as a tumor-associated self-antigen. [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the AACR Special Conference on Tumor Immunology and Immunotherapy; 2016 Oct 20-23; Boston, MA. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Immunol Res 2017;5(3 Suppl):Abstract nr A42.