A prime/boost vaccine platform efficiently identifies CD27 agonism and depletion of myeloid-derived suppressor cells as therapies that rationally combine with checkpoint blockade in ovarian cancer
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Cancer immunotherapies have generated remarkable clinical responses for some patients with advanced/metastatic disease, prompting exploration of rational combination therapies to bolster anti-tumor immunity in patients with limited response or those who experience tumor progression following an initial response to immunotherapy. In contrast to other tumor indications, objective response rates to single-agent PD-1/PD-L1 blockade in ovarian cancer are limited, suggesting a need to identify combinatorial approaches that lead to tumor regression in a setting where checkpoint blockade alone is ineffective. Using a pre-clinical model of aggressive intraperitoneal ovarian cancer, we have previously reported on a heterologous prime/boost cancer vaccine that elicits robust anti-tumor immunity, prolongs survival of tumor-bearing mice, and which is further improved when combined with checkpoint blockade. As tumor control in this model is CD8 + T cell dependent, we reasoned that the prime/boost vaccine platform could be used to explore additional treatment combinations intended to bolster the effects of CD8 + T cells. Using whole tumor transcriptomic data, we identified candidate therapeutic targets anticipated to rationally combine with prime/boost vaccination. In the context of a highly effective cancer vaccine, CD27 agonism or antibody-mediated depletion of granulocytic cells each modestly increased tumor control following vaccination, with anti-PD-1 therapy further improving treatment efficacy. These findings support the use of immunotherapies with well-defined mechanisms(s) of action as a valuable platform for identifying candidate combination approaches for further therapeutic testing in ovarian cancer.
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