Supplementation of L-Arginine Boosts the Therapeutic Efficacy of Anticancer Chemoimmunotherapy

Cancer Sci. 2020 May 19. doi: 10.1111/cas.14490. Online ahead of print.


Myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) play a crucial role in immunosuppression in tumor-bearing hosts. MDSCs express arginase-I and indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase; they suppress T-cell function by reducing the levels of l-arginine and l-tryptophan, respectively. We examined the anticancer effects of supplementation of these amino acids in CT26 colon carcinoma-bearing mice. Oral supplementation of l-arginine or l-tryptophan (30 mg/mouse) did not affect tumor growth, whereas oral supplementation of d-arginine was lethal. Supplementation of l-arginine showed a tendency to augment the efficacy of cyclophosphamide (CP). CP reduced the proportions of granulocytic MDSCs and increased the proportions of monocytic MDSCs in the spleen and tumor tissues of CT26-bearing mice. l-Arginine supplementation alone did not affect the MDSC subsets. CP treatment tended to reduce the plasma levels of l-arginine in CT26-bearing mice and significantly increased the number of tumor-infiltrating CD8+ T cells. In addition, l-arginine supplementation significantly increased the proportions of tumor peptide-specific CD8+ T cells in draining lymph nodes. Importantly, additional supplementation of l-arginine significantly increased the number of cured mice that were treated with CP and anti-PD-1 antibody. Totally, l-arginine supplementation shows promise for boosting the therapeutic efficacy of chemoimmunotherapy.

Keywords: MDSC; T cells; arginase-I; chemoimmunotherapy; l-arginine.