Combining DNA-demethylating agents (DNA methyltransferase inhibitors [DNMTis]) with histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACis) holds promise for enhancing cancer immune therapy. Herein, pharmacologic and isoform specificity of HDACis are investigated to guide their addition to a DNMTi, thus devising a new, low-dose, sequential regimen that imparts a robust anti-tumor effect for non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Using in-vitro-treated NSCLC cell lines, we elucidate an interferon α/β-based transcriptional program with accompanying upregulation of antigen presentation machinery, mediated in part through double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) induction. This is accompanied by suppression of MYC signaling and an increase in the T cell chemoattractant CCL5. Use of this combination treatment schema in mouse models of NSCLC reverses tumor immune evasion and modulates T cell exhaustion state towards memory and effector T cell phenotypes. Key correlative science metrics emerge for an upcoming clinical trial, testing enhancement of immune checkpoint therapy for NSCLC.
Keywords: HDAC; ITF-2357; MYC; NSCLC; azacitidine; immune response; lung cancer; memory T cells.
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