Background: CD40 signalling can synergise with chemotherapy in preclinical cancer models, and early clinical studies are promising. We set out to define the immunological changes associated with this therapeutic combination to identify biomarkers for a response to the therapy. Here, we present serial immunomonitoring examining dendritic cell and T cell subpopulations over sequential courses of chemoimmunotherapy.
Methods: Fifteen patients with mesothelioma received up to six 21-day cycles of pemetrexed plus cisplatin chemotherapy and anti-CD40 (CP-870,893). Peripheral blood was collected weekly, and analysed by flow cytometry. Longitudinal immunophenotyping data was analysed by linear mixed modelling, allowing for variation between patients. Exploratory analyses testing for any correlation between overall survival and immunophenotyping data were undertaken up to the third cycle of treatment.
Results: Large statistically significant cyclical variations in the proportions of BDCA-1+, BDCA-2+ and BDCA-3+ dendritic cells were observed, although all subsets returned to baseline levels after each cycle and no significant changes were observed between start and end of treatment. Expression levels of CD40 and HLA-DR on dendritic cells were also cyclically modulated, again without significant change between start and end of treatment. CD8 and CD4 T cell populations, along with regulatory T cells, effector T cells, and markers of proliferation and activation, showed similar patterns of statistically significant cyclical modulation in response to therapy without changes between start and end of treatment. Exploratory analysis of endpoints revealed that patients with a higher than average proportion of BDCA-2+ dendritic cells (p = 0.010) or a higher than average proportion of activated (ICOS+) CD8 T cells (0.022) in pretreatment blood samples had better overall survival. A higher than average proportion of BDCA-3+ dendritic cells was associated with poorer overall survival at both the second (p = 0.008) and third (p = 0.014) dose of anti-CD40.
Conclusions: Substantial cyclical variations in DC and T cell populations during sequential cycles of chemoimmunotherapy highlight the critical importance of timing of immunological biomarker assessments in interpretation of results and the value of linear mixed modelling in interpretation of longitudinal change over a full treatment course.
|Number of pages||15|
|Publication status||Published - 15 Jun 2017|