Zhao et al. demonstrated that radiation therapy (RT) induced TIGIT expression on tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes in patients with ESCC and in syngeneic tumor models. Anti-TIGIT therapy enhanced the antitumor effect of RT and prolonged survival in solid tumor models. The combination treatment increased tumor-infiltrating CD8+ T cells expressing TNFα and IFNγ, and CD103+ DCs. The CD103+ DCs were necessary for combination therapy-mediated effector CD8+ T cell recruitment and activation within the TME. Flt3 ligand injection expanded CD103+ DCs in the tumors and enhanced tumor control in the RT plus anti-TIGIT combination.
Contributed by Shishir Pant
ABSTRACT: Blockade of the T cell immunoreceptor with the immunoglobulin and immunoreceptor tyrosine-based inhibitory motif domain (TIGIT) can enhance innate and adaptive tumor immunity and radiotherapy (RT) can enhance anti-tumor immunity. However, our data suggest that TIGIT-mediated immune suppression may be an impediment to such goals. Herein, we report on the synergistic effects of RT combined with anti-TIGIT therapy and the mechanism of their interaction. Treatment efficacy was assessed by measuring primary and secondary tumor growth, survival, and immune memory capacity. The function of CD103 + dendritic cells (DCs) under the combined treatment was assessed in wild-type and BATF3-deficient (BATF3-/-) mice. FMS-like tyrosine kinase 3 ligand (Flt3L) was used to confirm the role of CD103 + DCs in RT combined with anti-TIGIT therapy. TIGIT was upregulated in immune cells following RT in both esophageal squamous cell carcinoma patients and mouse models. Administration of the anti-TIGIT antibody enhanced the efficacy of RT through a CD8 + T cell-dependent mechanism. It was observed that RT and the anti-TIGIT antibody synergistically enhanced the accumulation of tumor-infiltrating DCs, which activated CD8 + T cells. The efficacy of the combination therapy was negated in the BATF3-/- mouse model. CD103 + DCs were required to promote the anti-tumor effects of combination therapy. Additionally, Flt3L therapy enhanced tumor response to RT combined with TIGIT blockade. Our study demonstrated TIGIT blockade can synergistically enhance anti-tumor T cell responses to RT via CD8 + T cells (dependent on CD103 + DCs), suggesting the clinical potential of targeting the TIGIT pathway and expanding CD103 + DCs in RT.