Intratumoral co-injection of the poly I:C-derivative BO-112 and a Sting agonist synergize to achieve local and distant anti-tumor efficacy
Background BO-112 is a nanoplexed form of polyinosinic:polycytidylic acid that acting on toll-like receptor 3 (TLR3), melanoma differentiation-associated protein 5 (MDA5) and protein kinase RNA-activated (PKR) elicits rejection of directly injected transplanted tumors, but has only modest efficacy against distant untreated tumors. Its clinical activity has also been documented in early phase clinical trials. The 5,6-dimethylxanthenone-4-acetic acid (DMXAA) stimulator of interferon genes (STING) agonist shows a comparable pattern of efficacy when used via intratumoral injections. Methods Mice subcutaneously engrafted with bilateral MC38 and B16.OVA-derived tumors were treated with proinflammatory immunotherapy agents known to be active when intratumorally delivered. The combination of BO-112 and DMXAA was chosen given its excellent efficacy and the requirements for antitumor effects were studied on selective depletion of immune cell types and in gene-modified mouse strains lacking basic leucine zipper ATF-like transcription factor 3 (BATF3), interferon-alpha/beta receptor (IFNAR) or STING. Spatial requirements for the injections were studied in mice bearing three tumor lesions. Results BO-112 and DMXAA when co-injected in one of the lesions of mice bearing concomitant bilateral tumors frequently achieved complete local and distant antitumor efficacy. Synergistic effects were contingent on CD8 T cell lymphocytes and dependent on conventional type 1 dendritic cells, responsiveness to type I interferon (IFN) and STING function in the tumor-bearing host. Efficacy was preserved even if BO-112 and DMXAA were injected in separate lesions in a manner able to control another untreated third-party tumor. Efficacy could be further enhanced on concurrent PD-1 blockade. Conclusion Clinically feasible co-injections of BO-112 and a STING agonist attain synergistic efficacy able to eradicate distant untreated tumor lesions.