The programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) limits effector T-cell functions in peripheral tissues, and its inhibition leads to clinical benefit in different cancers. To better understand how PD-1 blockade therapy modulates the tumor-host interactions, we evaluated three syngeneic murine tumor models, the BRAFV600E-driven YUMM1.1 and YUMM2.1 melanomas, and the carcinogen-induced murine colon adenocarcinoma MC38. The YUMM cell lines were established from mice with melanocyte-specific BRAFV600E mutation and PTEN loss (BRAFV600E/PTEN-/-). Anti-PD-1 or anti-PD-L1 therapy engendered strong antitumor activity against MC38 and YUMM2.1, but not YUMM1.1. PD-L1 expression did not differ between the three models at baseline or upon interferon stimulation. Whereas mutational load was high in MC38, it was lower in both YUMM models. In YUMM2.1, the antitumor activity of PD-1 blockade had a critical requirement for both CD4 and CD8 T cells, as well as CD28 and CD80/86 costimulation, with an increase in CD11c+CD11b+MHC-IIhigh dendritic cells and tumor-associated macrophages in the tumors after PD-1 blockade. Compared with YUMM1.1, YUMM2.1 exhibited a more inflammatory profile by RNA sequencing analysis, with an increase in expression of chemokine-trafficking genes that are related to immune cell recruitment and T-cell priming. In conclusion, response to PD-1 blockade therapy in tumor models requires CD4 and CD8 T cells and costimulation that is mediated by dendritic cells and macrophages. Cancer Immunol Res; 4(10); 845-57. ©2016 AACR.
©2016 American Association for Cancer Research.