Blockade of PD-L1 Enhances Cancer Immunotherapy by Regulating Dendritic Cell Maturation and Macrophage Polarization

PMID: 31546897
Journal: Cancers (volume: 11, issue: 9, Cancers (Basel) 2019 Sep;11(9))
Published: 2019-09-19

Sun NY, Chen YL, Wu WY, Lin HW, Chiang YC, Chang CF, Tai YJ, Hsu HC, Chen CA, Sun WZ, Cheng WF


The immuno-inhibitory checkpoint PD-L1, regulated by tumor cells and antigen-presenting cells (APCs), dampened the activation of T cells from the PD-1/PD-L1 axis. PD-L1-expressing APCs rather than tumor cells demonstrated the essential anti-tumor effects of anti-PD-L1 monotherapy in preclinical tumor models. Using the murine tumor model, we investigated whether anti-PD-L1 antibody increased the antigen-specific immune response and anti-tumor effects induced by the antigen-specific protein vaccine, as well as the possible mechanisms regarding activation of APCs. Anti-PD-L1 antibody combined with the PEK protein vaccine generated more potent E7-specific immunity (including the number and cytotoxic activity of E7-specific cytotoxic CD8 T lymphocytes) and anti-tumor effects than protein vaccine alone. Anti-PD-L1 antibody enhanced the maturation of dendritic cells and the proportion of M1-like macrophages in tumor-draining lymph nodes and tumors in tumor-bearing mice treated with combinatorial therapy. PD-L1 blockade overturned the immunosuppressive status of the tumor microenvironment and then enhanced the E7 tumor-specific antigen-specific immunity and anti-tumor effects generated by an E7-specific protein vaccine through modulation of APCs in an E7-expressing small tumor model. Tumor-specific antigen (like HPV E7 antigen)-specific immunotherapy combined with APC-targeting modality by PD-L1 blockade has a high translational potential in E7-specific cancer therapy.