Image_1_Inhibition of Histone Deacetylase (HDAC) Enhances Checkpoint Blockade Efficacy by Rendering Bladder Cancer Cells Visible for T Cell-Mediated Destruction.tiff
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Inhibitory checkpoint blockade therapy is an immunomodulatory strategy that results in the restoration of T cell functions, and its efficacy depends on the recognition of tumor cells for destruction. Considering the factors at play, one could propose that anti-tumor responses will not occur if tumor cells are immunologically invisible to T cells. In this study, we tested a strategy based on the modulation of cancer cell's immunovisibility through HDAC inhibition. In a model (heterotopic and orthotopic) of mouse urothelial bladder cancer, we demonstrated that the use of intratumoral or intravesical HDACi in combination with systemic anti-PD-1 was effective at inducing curative responses with durable anti-tumor immunity capable of preventing tumor growth at a distal site. Mechanistically, we determined that protective responses were dependent on CD8 cells, but not NK cells. Of significance, in an in vitro human model, we found that fully activated T cells fail at killing bladder cancer cells unless tumor cells were pretreated with HDACi. Complementary to this observation, we found that HDACi cause gene deregulation, that results in the upregulation of genes responsible for mediating immunorecognition, NKG2D ligands and HSP70. Taken together, these data indicate that HDAC inhibition results in the elimination of the tumor cell's “invisibility cloak” that prevents T cells from recognizing and killing them. Finally, as checkpoint blockade therapy moves into the adjuvant setting, its combined use with locally administrated HDACi represents a new approach to be included in our current therapeutic treatment toolbox.
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