Background: Histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors are a class of agents that have potent antitumor activity with a reported ability to upregulate MHC and costimulatory molecule expression. We hypothesized that epigenetic pharmacological immunomodulation could sensitize tumors to immune mediated cell death with an adoptive T cell therapy.
Methods: The pan-HDAC inhibitor, LBH589, was combined with gp100 specific T cell immunotherapy in an in vivo B16 melanoma model and in an in vivo non-tumor bearing model. Tumor regression, tumor specific T cell function and phenotype, and serum cytokine levels were evaluated.
Results: Addition of LBH589 to an adoptive cell transfer therapy significantly decreased tumor burden while sustaining systemic pro-inflammatory levels. Furthermore, LBH589 was able to enhance gp100 specific T cell survival and significantly decrease T regulatory cell populations systemically and intratumorally. Even in the absence of tumor, LBH589 was able to enhance the proliferation, retention, and polyfunctional status of tumor specific T cells, suggesting its effects were T cell specific. In addition, LBH589 induced significantly higher levels of the IL-2 receptor (CD25) and the co-stimulatory molecule OX-40 in T cells.
Conclusion: These results demonstrate that immunomodulation of adoptively transferred T cells by LBH589 provides a novel mechanism to increase in vivo antitumor efficacy of effector CD8 T cells.
Keywords: Dendritic cells; Inflammation; T cells; Tumor immunity.