Successful cancer immunotherapy entails activation of innate immune receptors to promote dendritic cell (DC) maturation, antigen presentation, up-regulation of costimulatory molecules, and cytokine secretion, leading to activation of tumor antigen-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs). Here we screened a synthetic library of 100,000 compounds for innate immune activators using TNF production by THP-1 cells as a readout. We identified and optimized a potent human and mouse Toll-like receptor (TLR)1/TLR2 agonist, Diprovocim, which exhibited an EC50 of 110 pM in human THP-1 cells and 1.3 nM in primary mouse peritoneal macrophages. In mice, Diprovocim-adjuvanted ovalbumin immunization promoted antigen-specific humoral and CTL responses and synergized with anti-PD-L1 treatment to inhibit tumor growth, generating long-term antitumor memory, curing or prolonging survival of mice engrafted with the murine melanoma B16-OVA. Diprovocim induced greater frequencies of tumor-infiltrating leukocytes than alum, of which CD8 T cells were necessary for the antitumor effect of immunization plus anti-PD-L1 treatment.
Keywords: PD-L1 antibody; TLR1/TLR2; agonist; cancer immunotherapy; melanoma.