Tasquinimod modulates tumor-infiltrating myeloid cells and improves the antitumor immune response to PD-L1 blockade in bladder cancer

The infiltration of myeloid cells helps tumors to overcome immune surveillance and imparts resistance to cancer immunotherapy. Thus, strategies to modulate the effects of these immune cells may offer a potential therapeutic benefit. We report here that tasquinimod, a novel immunotherapy which targets S100A9 signaling, reduces the immunosuppressive properties of myeloid cells in preclinical models of bladder cancer (BCa). As single anticancer agent, tasquinimod treatment was effective in preventing early stage tumor growth, but did not achieve a clear antitumor effect in advanced tumors. Investigations of this response revealed that tasquinimod induces an increase in the expression of a negative regulator of T cell activation, Programmed-death-ligand 1 (PD-L1). This markedly weakens its antitumor immunity, yet provokes an "inflamed" milieu rendering tumors more prone to T cell-mediated immune attack by PD-L1 blockade. Interestingly, the combination of tasquinimod with an Anti-PD-L1 antibody enhanced the antitumor immune response in bladder tumors. This combination synergistically modulated tumor-infiltrating myeloid cells, thereby strongly affecting proliferation and activation of effector T cells. Together, our data provide insight into the rational combination of therapies that activate both innate and adaptive immune system, such as the association of S100A9-targeting agents with immune checkpoints inhibitors, to improve the response to cancer immunotherapeutic agents in BCa.

Oncoimmunology. 2016 Feb 18*** epublish ***

Jessica Nakhlé, Valérie Pierron, Anne-Laure Bauchet, Pascale Plas, Amath Thiongane, Florence Meyer-Losic, Fabien Schmidlin

IPSEN Innovation, Global Drug Discovery department , Les Ulis, France., IPSEN Innovation, Global Drug Discovery department , Les Ulis, France., IPSEN Innovation, Global Drug Discovery department , Les Ulis, France., IPSEN Innovation, Global Drug Discovery department , Les Ulis, France., IPSEN Innovation, Global Drug Discovery department , Les Ulis, France., IPSEN Innovation, Global Drug Discovery department , Les Ulis, France., IPSEN Innovation, Global Drug Discovery department , Les Ulis, France.