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Volume 3 Supplement 2

30th Annual Meeting and Associated Programs of the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC 2015)

PD-1 blockade upregulate TIM-3 expression as a compensatory regulation of immune check point receptors in HNSCC TIL

Programmed Death 1 (PD-1) and T cell Ig and mucin domain-3 protein (Tim-3) are immune check point receptors that are upregulated on tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL) in tumor-bearing mice and humans. As anti-PD-1 single agent response rates are still relatively low (20%) in HNC patients, it is important to learn how different inhibitory check point receptors work together to maintain the suppressive status of immune system. We observed that PD-1 and Tim-3 co-expression is associated with an exhausted phenotype of HNSCC TIL of patients, demonstrating the highest PD-1 levels in Tim-3 double positive TIL. We also observed that PD-1+/Tim-3+ TIL manifest dampened in Akt/p-S6 activation upon TCR stimulation, leading us to infer the potential for signaling cross-talk between PD-1 and Tim-3 downstream signaling pathways. Indeed, in freshly isolated HNSCC TIL, PD-1-/TIM-3+ T cells showed higher baseline expression of p-SHP-2 (p < 0.01) which is triggered upon PD-1 ligation. In addition, PD-1 blockade using nivolumab of human HNSCC TIL led to upregulation of Tim-3 expression, suggesting a circuit of compensatory, cross-talk signaling and permitting escape from anti-PD-1 blockade during TCR stimulation. In a murine HNC tumor model, anti-PD-1 treatment modestly suppressed tumor growth, but in TIL from persistent tumors in these mice, Tim-3 expression was dramatically upregulated after PD-1 blockade. Taken together, in response to PD-1 blockade, the most exhausted TIL appear to upregulate Tim-3 as a compensatory mechanism, supporting dual targeting, which may provide new therapeutic strategy for cancer immunotherapy.

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Correspondence to Gulidanna Shayan.

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This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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Shayan, G., Ferris, R.L. PD-1 blockade upregulate TIM-3 expression as a compensatory regulation of immune check point receptors in HNSCC TIL. j. immunotherapy cancer 3, P196 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1186/2051-1426-3-S2-P196

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Keywords

  • Tumor Infiltrate Lymphocyte
  • Compensatory Regulation
  • Persistent Tumor
  • Check Point Receptor
  • Suppressive Status