An insufficient quantity of functional T cells is a likely factor limiting the clinical activity of T-cell bispecific antibodies, especially in solid tumor indications. We hypothesized that XmAb24306 (efbalropendekin alfa), a lymphoproliferative interleukin (IL)-15/IL-15 receptor α (IL-15Rα) Fc-fusion protein, may potentiate the activity of T-cell dependent (TDB) antibodies. The activation of human peripheral T cells by cevostamab, an anti-FcRH5/CD3 TDB, or anti-HER2/CD3 TDB resulted in the upregulation of the IL-2/15Rβ (CD122) receptor subunit in nearly all CD8+ and majority of CD4+ T cells, suggesting that TDB treatment may sensitize T cells to IL-15. XmAb24306 enhanced T-cell bispecific antibody-induced CD8+ and CD4+ T-cell proliferation and expansion. In vitro combination of XmAb24306 with cevostamab or anti-HER2/CD3 TDB resulted in significant enhancement of tumor cell killing, which was reversed when T-cell numbers were normalized, suggesting that T-cell expansion is the main mechanism of the observed benefit. Pretreatment of immunocompetent mice with a mouse-reactive surrogate of XmAb24306 (mIL-15-Fc) resulted in a significant increase of T cells in the blood, spleen, and tumors and converted transient anti-HER2/CD3 TDB responses to complete durable responses. In summary, our results support the hypothesis that the number of tumor-infiltrating T cells is rate limiting for the activity of solid tumor-targeting TDBs. Upregulation of CD122 by TDB treatment and the observed synergy with XmAb24306 and T-cell bispecific antibodies support clinical evaluation of this novel immunotherapy combination.

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