Transient Treg depletion enhances therapeutic anti-cancer vaccination

Scott Fisher, Wayne Aston, Hui En J Chee, Andrea Khong, Amanda Cleaver, Jessica Solin, Shaokang Ma, Willem Lesterhuis, Ian Dick, Robert Holt, Jenette Creaney, Louis Boon, Bruce Robinson, Richard Lake

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)
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Introduction: Regulatory T cells (Treg) play an important role in suppressing anti tumour immunity and their depletion has been linked to improved outcomes. To better understand the role of Treg in limiting the efficacy of anti-cancer immunity, we used a Diphtheria toxin (DTX) transgenic mouse model to specifically target and deplete Treg.
Methods: Tumor bearing BALB/c FoxP3.dtr transgenic mice were subjected to different treatment protocols, with or without Treg depletion and tumor growth and survival monitored.
Results: DTX specifically depleted Treg in a transient, dose-dependent manner. Treg depletion correlated with delayed tumor growth, increased effector T cell (Teff) activation, and enhanced survival in a range of solid tumors. Tumor regression was dependent on Teffs as depletion of both CD4 and CD8 T cells completely abrogated any survival benefit. Severe morbidity following Treg depletion was only observed, when consecutive doses of DTX were given during peak CD8 T cell activation, demonstrating that Treg can be depleted on multiple occasions, but only when CD8 T cell activation has returned to base line levels. Finally, we show that even minimal Treg depletion is sufficient to significantly improve the efficacy of tumor-peptide vaccination.
Conclusions: BALB/c.FoxP3.dtr mice are an ideal model to investigate the full therapeutic potential of Treg depletion to boost anti-tumor immunity. DTXmediated Treg depletion is transient, dose-dependent, and leads to strong anti-tumor immunity and complete tumor regression at high doses, while enhancing the efficacy of tumor-specific vaccination at low doses. Together this data highlight the importance of Treg manipulation as a useful strategy for enhancing current and future cancer immunotherapies.
Original languageEnglish
Article number10.1002/iid3.136
Pages (from-to)16-28
Number of pages13
JournalImmunity Inflammation and Disease.
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2017


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