Antibodies targeting the T-cell immune checkpoint cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen-4 (CTLA4) enhance the effectiveness of radiotherapy for melanoma patients, but many remain resistant. To further improve response rates, we explored combining anti-CTLA4 blockade with antisense suppression of CD47, an inhibitory receptor on T cells that limit T-cell receptor signaling and killing of irradiated target cells. Human melanoma data from The Cancer Genome Atlas revealed positive correlations between CD47 mRNA expression and expression of T-cell regulators including CTLA4 and its counter receptors CD80 and CD86. Antisense suppression of CD47 on human T cells in vitro using a translational blocking morpholino (CD47 m) alone or combined with anti-CTLA4 enhanced antigen-dependent killing of irradiated melanoma cells. Correspondingly, the treatment of locally irradiated B16F10 melanomas in C57BL/6 mice using combined blockade of CD47 and CTLA4 significantly increased the survival of mice relative to either treatment alone. CD47 m alone or in combination with anti-CTLA4 increased CD3+ T-cell infiltration in irradiated tumors. Anti-CTLA4 also increased CD3+ and CD8+ T-cell infiltration as well as markers of NK cells in non-irradiated tumors. Anti-CTLA4 combined with CD47 m resulted in the greatest increase in intratumoral granzyme B, interferon-γ, and NK-cell marker mRNA expression. These data suggest that combining CTLA4 and CD47 blockade could provide a survival benefit by enhancing adaptive T- and NK-cell immunity in irradiated tumors.
Keywords: CD47; Immunotherapy; Melanoma; Phosphorodiamidate morpholino oligomer; SIRP-α; Thrombospondin-1.