Salomon et al. assessed the efficacy of a liposome-encapsulated single-stranded RNA vaccine encoding CD4+ T cell-recognized neoantigens in combination with local radiotherapy (LRT) in a murine CT26 colon carcinoma model. The CD4 neoantigen vaccine improved overall survival in a CD8+ T cell-dependent manner, and required cognate neoantigen CD4+ T cell help. CD4 neoantigen vaccine with LRT led to the rejection of gp70-negative CT26 tumors, demonstrating a poly-antigenic CD8+ T cell response, and protected mice against rechallenge. Anti-CTLA-4 antibody with vaccine/LRT further improved tumor rejection and survival of all mice bearing gp70-negative tumors.
Contributed by Shishir Pant
ABSTRACT: Antigen-encoding, lipoplex-formulated RNA (RNA-LPX) enables systemic delivery to lymphoid compart- ments and selective expression in resident antigen-presenting cells. We report here that the rejection of CT26 tumors, mediated by local radiotherapy (LRT), is further augmented in a CD8+ T cell-dependent manner by an RNA-LPX vaccine that encodes CD4+ T cell-recognized neoantigens (CD4 neoantigen vaccine). Whereas CD8+ T cells induced by LRT alone were primarily directed against the immunodomi- nant gp70 antigen, mice treated with LRT plus the CD4 neoantigen vaccine rejected gp70-negative tumors and were protected from rechallenge with these tumors, indicating a potent poly-antigenic CD8+ T cell response and T cell memory. In the spleens of CD4 neoantigen-vaccinated mice, we found a high number of activated, poly-functional, Th1-like CD4+ T cells against ME1, the immunodominant CD4 neoantigen within the poly-neoantigen vaccine. LRT itself strongly increased CD8+ T cell numbers and clonal expansion. However, tumor infiltrates of mice treated with CD4 neoantigen vaccine/LRT, as compared to LRT alone, displayed a higher fraction of activated gp70-specific CD8+ T cells, lower PD-1/ LAG-3 expression and contained ME1-specific IFNγ+ CD4+ T cells capable of providing cognate help. CD4 neoantigen vaccine/LRT treatment followed by anti-CTLA-4 antibody therapy further enhanced the efficacy with complete remission of gp70-negative CT26 tumors and survival of all mice. Our data highlight the power of combining synergistic modes of action and warrants further exploration of the presented treatment schema.