Ex vivo systems that incorporate features of the tumor microenvironment and model the dynamic response to immune checkpoint blockade (ICB) may facilitate efforts in precision immuno-oncology and the development of effective combination therapies. Here, we demonstrate the ability to interrogate ex vivo response to ICB using murine- and patient-derived organotypic tumor spheroids (MDOTS/PDOTS). MDOTS/PDOTS isolated from mouse and human tumors retain autologous lymphoid and myeloid cell populations and respond to ICB in short-term three-dimensional microfluidic culture. Response and resistance to ICB was recapitulated using MDOTS derived from established immunocompetent mouse tumor models. MDOTS profiling demonstrated that TBK1/IKKε inhibition enhanced response to PD-1 blockade, which effectively predicted tumor response in vivo Systematic profiling of secreted cytokines in PDOTS captured key features associated with response and resistance to PD-1 blockade. Thus, MDOTS/PDOTS profiling represents a novel platform to evaluate ICB using established murine models as well as clinically relevant patient specimens.Significance: Resistance to PD-1 blockade remains a challenge for many patients, and biomarkers to guide treatment are lacking. Here, we demonstrate feasibility of ex vivo profiling of PD-1 blockade to interrogate the tumor immune microenvironment, develop therapeutic combinations, and facilitate precision immuno-oncology efforts. Cancer Discov; 8(2); 196-215. ©2017 AACR.See related commentary by Balko and Sosman, p. 143See related article by Deng et al., p. 216This article is highlighted in the In This Issue feature, p. 127.
©2017 American Association for Cancer Research.