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IL-15 superagonist RLI has potent immunostimulatory properties on NK cells: implications for antimetastatic treatment

Abstract : Background As the immune system is compromised in patients with cancer, therapeutic strategies to stimulate immunity appear promising, to avoid relapse and increase long-term overall survival. Interleukin-15 (IL-15) has similar properties to IL-2, but does not cause activation-induced cell death nor activation and proliferation of regulatory T cells (Treg), which makes it a serious candidate for anticancer immunotherapy. However, IL-15 has a short half-life and high doses are needed to achieve responses. Designed to enhance its activity, receptor-linker-IL-15 (RLI) (SO-C101) is a fusion molecule of human IL-15 covalently linked to the human IL-15Rα sushi+ domain currently assessed in a phase I/Ib clinical trial on patients with advanced/metastatic solid cancer. Methods We investigated the antimetastatic activity of RLI in a 4T1 mouse mammary carcinoma that spontaneously metastasizes and evaluated its immunomodulatory role in the metastatic lung microenvironment. We further characterized the proliferation, maturation and cytotoxic functions of natural killer (NK) cells in tumor-free mice treated with RLI. Finally, we explored the effect of RLI on human NK cells from healthy donors and patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Results RLI treatment displayed antimetastatic properties in the 4T1 mouse model. By characterizing the lung microenvironment, we observed that RLI restored the balance between NK cells and neutrophils (CD11b + Ly6G high Ly6C low ) that massively infiltrate lungs of 4T1-tumor bearing mice. In addition, the ratio between NK cells and Treg was strongly increased by RLI treatment. Further pharmacodynamic studies in tumor-free mice revealed superior proliferative and cytotoxic functions on NK cells after RLI treatment compared with IL-15 alone. Characterization of the maturation stage of NK cells demonstrated that RLI favored accumulation of CD11b + CD27 high KLRG1 + mature NK cells. Finally, RLI demonstrated potent immunostimulatory properties on human NK cells by inducing proliferation and activation of NK cells from healthy donors and enhancing cytotoxic responses to NKp30 crosslinking in NK cells from patients with NSCLC. Conclusions Collectively, our work demonstrates superior activity of RLI compared with rhIL-15 in modulating and activating NK cells and provides additional evidences for a therapeutic strategy using RLI as antimetastatic molecule.
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https://www.hal.inserm.fr/inserm-03498336
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Submitted on : Tuesday, December 21, 2021 - 8:25:36 AM
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Mélanie Desbois, Coralie Béal, Mélinda Charrier, Benjamin Besse, Guillaume Meurice, et al.. IL-15 superagonist RLI has potent immunostimulatory properties on NK cells: implications for antimetastatic treatment. Journal for Immunotherapy of Cancer, BMJ Publishing Group 2019, 8 (1), pp.e000632. ⟨10.1136/jitc-2020-000632⟩. ⟨inserm-03498336⟩

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