Resistance to immune checkpoint blockade (ICB) therapy represents a formidable clinical challenge limiting the efficacy of immunotherapy. In particular, prostate cancer poses a challenge for ICB therapy due to its immunosuppressive features. A ketogenic diet (KD) has been reported to enhance response to ICB therapy in some other cancer models. However, adverse effects associated with continuous KD were also observed, demanding better mechanistic understanding and optimized regimens for using KD as an immunotherapy sensitizer. In this study, we established a series of ICB-resistant prostate cancer cell lines and developed a highly effective strategy of combining anti-PD1 and anti-CTLA4 antibodies with histone deacetylase inhibitor (HDACi) vorinostat, a cyclic KD (CKD), or dietary supplementation of the ketone body β-hydroxybutyrate (BHB), which is an endogenous HDACi. CKD and BHB supplementation each delayed prostate cancer tumor growth as monotherapy, and both BHB and adaptive immunity were required for the antitumor activity of CKD. Single-cell transcriptomic and proteomic profiling revealed that HDACi and ketogenesis enhanced ICB efficacy through both cancer cell–intrinsic mechanisms, including upregulation of MHC class I molecules, and -extrinsic mechanisms, such as CD8+ T-cell chemoattraction, M1/M2 macrophage rebalancing, monocyte differentiation toward antigen-presenting cells, and diminished neutrophil infiltration. Overall, these findings illuminate a potential clinical path of using HDACi and optimized KD regimens to enhance ICB therapy for prostate cancer.


Optimized cyclic ketogenic diet and 1,3-butanediol supplementation regimens enhance the efficacy of immune checkpoint blockade in prostate cancer through epigenetic and immune modulations, providing dietary interventions to sensitize tumors to immunotherapy.

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