On the Other Side: Manipulating the Immune Checkpoint Landscape of Dendritic Cells to Enhance Cancer Immunotherapy

PMID: 30788290
Journal: Frontiers in oncology (volume: 9, issue: , Front Oncol 2019;9:50)
Published: 2019-02-06

Kong BY, Bolton H, Kim JW, Silveira PA, Fromm PD, Clark GJ


Monoclonal antibodies targeting co-inhibitory immune checkpoint molecules have been successful in clinical trials of both solid and hematological malignancies as acknowledged by the 2018 Nobel Prize in Medicine, however improving clinical response rates is now key to expanding their efficacy in areas of unmet medical need. Antibodies to checkpoint inhibitors target molecules on either T cells or tumor cells to stimulate T cells or remove tumor mediated immunosuppression, respectively. However, many of the well-characterized T cell immune checkpoint receptors have their ligands on antigen presenting cells or exert direct effects on those cells. Dendritic cells are the most powerful antigen presenting cells; they possess the ability to elicit antigen-specific responses and have important roles in regulation of immune tolerance. Despite their theoretical benefits in cancer immunotherapy, the translation of DC therapies into the clinic is yet to be fully realized and combining DC-based immunotherapy with immune checkpoint inhibitors is an attractive strategy. This combination takes advantage of the antigen presenting capability of DC to maximize specific immune responses to tumor antigens whilst removing tumor-associated immune inhibitory mechanisms with immune checkpoint inhibition. Here we review the expression and functional effects of immune checkpoint molecules on DC and identify rational combinations for DC vaccination to enhance antigen-specific T cell responses, cytokine production, and promotion of long-lasting immunological memory.