SO-C101 (RLI-15) is a superagonist fusion protein of interleukin (IL)-15 and the IL-15 receptor α (IL-15Rα) sushi+ domain designed to bypass the need of endogenous IL-15Rα, thereby leveraging the activity of IL-15 in vivo on target immune cells and reducing the toxicity of IL-15 as such. SO-C101 was previously shown to exhibit a potent anti-metastatic activity in Renca, B16F10 melanoma and delayed tumor growth in T cell-based mouse tumor models (CT26, MC38). Here we investigated the anti-tumor efficacy in predominantly natural killer (NK)-cell based mouse tumor models TC-1 and TRAMP-C2. We showed that SO-C101 monotherapy was effective in the treatment of established TC-1 tumors, which was dependent on the presence of both NK and CD8+ T cells, but not CD4+ T cells. In an early treatment setting SO-C101 significantly decreased the rate of tumor development also in dependence on NK and CD8+ T cells. SO-C101 effectively reduced tumor growth in TRAMP-C2 mice in early and advanced treatment settings. However, only in combination with anti-PD-1 antibody treatment the tumor development was prevented in majority of mice. This effect was durable, and the new tumor development was further significantly delayed after a tumor cell re-challenge, which suggests the involvement of memory T cells despite an important NK cell role in anti-tumor efficacy in these models. The efficacy of SO-C101 and anti-PD-1 treatment was not dependent on CD4+ T cells, but mainly on NK and CD8+ T cells. Interestingly, SO-C101 and anti-PD-1 treatment in double NK/CD8+ T cell-depleted mice decreased tumor growth which suggests an involvement of other immune cell populations in the anti-tumor efficacy. SO-C101 stimulated the proliferation and the cytotoxic activity of NK cells and memory CD8+ T cells without significant expansion of regulatory T cells. These data show the importance of various immune cell populations during SO-C101 monotherapy and the treatment in combination with anti-PD-1 antibodies, and set a base for further complex analysis of SO-C101 behavior. The therapeutic potential of SO-C101 is currently being tested in an ongoing Phase I clinical study in cancer patients.

Citation Format: Irena Adkins, Romana Mikyskova, Nada Hradilova, Guy de Martynoff, David Bechard, Ulrich Moebius, Milan Reinis, Radek Spisek. SO-C101 displays strong anti-tumor effect in TC-1 and TRAMP-C2 tumor mice and in combination with PD-1 blockade prevents tumor development in a NK and CD8+ T cells dependent manner [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research 2020; 2020 Apr 27-28 and Jun 22-24. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2020;80(16 Suppl):Abstract nr 6686.