IL-15 Trans-Signaling with the Superagonist RLI Promotes Effector/Memory CD8+ T Cell Responses and Enhances Antitumor Activity of PD-1 Antagonists

Abstract : Tumors with the help of the surrounding environment facilitate the immune suppression in patients, and immunotherapy can counteract this inhibition. Among immunotherapeutic strategies, the immunostimulatory cytokine IL-15 could represent a serious candidate for the reactivation of antitumor immunity. However, exogenous IL-15 may have a limited impact on patients with cancer due to its dependency on IL-15Rα frequently downregulated in cancer patients. In this work, we studied the antitumor activity of the IL-15 superagonist receptor-linker-IL-15 (RLI), designed to bypass the need of endogenous IL-15Rα. RLI consists of human IL-15 covalently linked to the human IL-15Rα sushi(+) domain. In a mouse model of colorectal carcinoma, RLI as a stand-alone treatment could limit tumor outgrowth only when initiated at an early time of tumor development. At a later time, RLI was not effective, coinciding with the strong accumulation of terminally exhausted programmed cell death-1 (PD-1)(high) T cell Ig mucin-3(+) CD8(+) T cells, suggesting that RLI was not able to reactivate terminally exhausted CD8(+) T cells. Combination with PD-1 blocking Ab showed synergistic activity with RLI, but not with IL-15. RLI could induce a greater accumulation of memory CD8(+) T cells and a stronger effector function in comparison with IL-15. Ex vivo stimulation of tumor-infiltrated lymphocytes from 16 patients with renal cell carcinoma demonstrated 56% of a strong tumor-infiltrated lymphocyte reactivation with the combination anti-PD-1/RLI compared with 43 and 6% with RLI or anti-PD-1, respectively. Altogether, this work provides evidence that the sushi-IL-15Rα/IL-15 fusion protein RLI enhances antitumor activity of anti-PD-1 treatment and is a promising approach to stimulate host immunity.
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Mélanie Desbois, Pauline Le Vu, Clélia Coutzac, Elie Marcheteau, Coralie Béal, et al.. IL-15 Trans-Signaling with the Superagonist RLI Promotes Effector/Memory CD8+ T Cell Responses and Enhances Antitumor Activity of PD-1 Antagonists. Journal of Immunology, Publisher : Baltimore : Williams & Wilkins, c1950-. Latest Publisher : Bethesda, MD : American Association of Immunologists, 2016, 197 (1), pp.168 - 178. ⟨10.4049/jimmunol.1600019⟩. ⟨inserm-01823361⟩

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