Immune checkpoint blockade (ICB) therapy frequently induces immune-related adverse events. To elucidate the underlying immunobiology, we performed a deep immune analysis of intestinal, colitis, and tumor tissue from ICB-treated patients with parallel studies in preclinical models. Expression of interleukin-6 (IL-6), neutrophil, and chemotactic markers was higher in colitis than in normal intestinal tissue; T helper 17 (Th17) cells were more prevalent in immune-related enterocolitis (irEC) than T helper 1 (Th1). Anti-cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated antigen 4 (anti-CTLA-4) induced stronger Th17 memory in colitis than anti-program death 1 (anti-PD-1). In murine models, IL-6 blockade associated with improved tumor control and a higher density of CD4+/CD8+ effector T cells, with reduced Th17, macrophages, and myeloid cells. In an experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) model with tumors, combined IL-6 blockade and ICB enhanced tumor rejection while simultaneously mitigating EAE symptoms versus ICB alone. IL-6 blockade with ICB could de-couple autoimmunity from antitumor immunity.
Keywords: EAE; TC1/TC17; Th1/Th17; Th17 memory; arthritis; colitis; immune checkpoint blockade; immunity; interleukin-6; melanoma; toxicity.
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