Background: The effects on cell signalling networks upon blockade of cytotoxic T lymphocyte-associated antigen-4 (CTLA4) using the monoclonal antibody tremelimumab were studied in peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) samples from patients with metastatic melanoma.
Methodology/principal: Findings Intracellular flow cytometry was used to detect phosphorylated (p) signaling molecules downstream of the T cell receptor (TCR) and cytokine receptors. PBMC from tremelimumab-treated patients were characterized by increase in pp38, pSTAT1 and pSTAT3, and decrease in pLck, pERK1/2 and pSTAT5 levels. These changes were noted in CD4 and CD8 T lymphocytes but also in CD14 monocytes. A divergent pattern of phosphorylation of Zap70, LAT, Akt and STAT6 was noted in patients with or without an objective tumor response.
Conclusions/significance: The administration of the CTLA4-blocking antibody tremelimumab to patients with metastatic melanoma influences signaling networks downstream of the TCR and cytokine receptors both in T cells and monocytes. The strong modulation of signaling networks in monocytes suggests that this cell subset may be involved in clinical responses to CTLA4 blockade.