Background: Cells from AML patients can differentiate into the phenotype of DC when cultured with GM-CSF and IL-4. Such cytokine-treated AML-derived DC (AML-DC) can stimulate autologous T cells. In this study we examined whether an anti-CTLA-4 MAb (MDX-010) could enhance the generation of autologous anti-AML T cells.
Methods: MAb MDX-010 was added to AML PBMC cultures in the presence of GM-CSF and IL-4, a previously reported AML-DC culture method of generating anti-AML T cells. T-cell activation and proliferation were examined thereafter.
Results: Addition of MDX-010 to GM-CSF/IL-4-conditioned AML-DC cultures induced a mean seven-fold increase in the numbers of autologous T cells compared with cultures without MDX-010 (P < 0.007). T cells stimulated by AML-DC with CTLA-4 blockade were significantly more cytotoxic towards autologous AML cells than those without MDX-010 (42 +/- 23% vs. 26 +/- 15%, E:T ratio of 20). T cells stimulated by AML-DC with CTLA-4 blockade had significantly greater proportions of T cells producing IFN-gamma in response to autologous AML cells than those cultured with AML-DC alone (10.7 +/- 4.7% vs. 4.5 +/- 2.4% for CD4+ IFN-gamma+ CD69+ and 9.8 +/- 4.1% vs. 4 +/- 2.1% for CD8+ IFN-gamma+ CD69+ with or without MDX-010; n = 7; P < 0.007, P < 0.003, respectively).
Discussion: CTLA-4 blockade enhances the activity and numbers of AML-reactive T cells that can be stimulated by autologous AML-DC and may enhance the efficacy of adoptive immunotherapy of AML.