A combined PD-1/C5a blockade synergistically protects against lung cancer growth and metastasis
Disruption of the programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) pathway with immune checkpoint inhibitors represents a major breakthrough in the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer. We hypothesized that combined inhibition of C5a/C5aR1 and PD-1 signaling may have a synergistic antitumor effect. The RMP1-14 antibody was used to block PD-1, and an L-aptamer was used to inhibit signaling of complement C5a with its receptors. Using syngeneic models of lung cancer, we demonstrate that the combination of C5a and PD-1 blockade markedly reduces tumor growth and metastasis and leads to prolonged survival. This effect is accompanied by a negative association between the frequency of CD8 T cells and myeloid-derived suppressor cells within tumors, which may result in a more complete reversal of CD8 T-cell exhaustion. Our study provides support for the clinical evaluation of anti-PD-1 and anti-C5a drugs as a novel combination therapeutic strategy for lung cancer. SIGNIFICANCE: Using a variety of preclinical models of lung cancer, we demonstrate that the blockade of C5a results in a substantial improvement in the efficacy of anti-PD-1 antibodies against lung cancer growth and metastasis. This study provides the preclinical rationale for the combined blockade of PD-1/PD-L1 and C5a to restore antitumor immune responses, inhibit tumor cell growth, and improve outcomes of patients with lung cancer. (C) 2017 AACR.