Immunotherapy is innovating clinical cancer management. Nevertheless, only a small fraction of patient's benefit from current immunotherapies. To improve clinical management of cancer immunotherapy, it is critical to develop strategies for response monitoring and prediction. In this study, we describe inducible T-cell costimulator (ICOS) as a conserved mediator of immune response across multiple therapy strategies. ICOS expression was evaluated by flow cytometry, 89Zr-DFO-ICOS mAb PET/CT imaging was performed on Lewis lung cancer models treated with different immunotherapy strategies, and the change in tumor volume was used as a read-out for therapeutic response. ImmunoPET imaging of ICOS enabled sensitive and specific detection of activated T cells and early benchmarking of immune response. A STING (stimulator of interferon genes) agonist was identified as a promising therapeutic approach in this manner. The STING agonist generated significantly stronger immune responses as measured by ICOS ImmunoPET and delayed tumor growth compared with programmed death-1 checkpoint blockade. More importantly, ICOS ImmunoPET enabled early and robust prediction of therapeutic response across multiple treatment regimens. These data show that ICOS is an indicator of T-cell-mediated immune response and suggests ICOS ImmunoPET as a promising strategy for monitoring, comparing, and predicting immunotherapy success in cancer. SIGNIFICANCE: ICOS ImmunoPET is a promising strategy to noninvasively predict and monitor immunotherapy response.See related commentary by Choyke, p. 2975.
©2020 American Association for Cancer Research.