Delayed vaccine-induced CD8+ T cell expansion by topoisomerase I inhibition mediates enhanced CD70-dependent tumor eradication

January, 01, 2024 | Select Oncology Journal Articles


The survival of patients with cervical cancer who are treated with cisplatin in conjunction with the topoisomerase I inhibitor topotecan is enhanced when compared with patients treated with only one of these chemotherapeutics. Moreover, cisplatin-based and T cell-based immunotherapy have been shown to synergize, resulting in stronger antitumor responses. Here, we interrogated whether topotecan could further enhance the synergy of cisplatin with T cell-based cancer immunotherapy.


Mice bearing human papilloma virus 16 (HPV16) E6/E7-expressing TC-1 tumors were vaccinated with HPV16 E7 long peptides and additionally received chemotherapy consisting of cisplatin and topotecan. We performed an in-depth study of this combinatorial chemoimmunotherapy on the effector function and expansion/contraction kinetics of vaccine-induced CD8+ T cells in the peripheral blood and tumor microenvironment (TME). In addition, we interrogated the particular role of chemotherapy-induced upregulation of costimulatory ligands by tumor-infiltrated myeloid cells on T cell proliferation and survival.


We show that E7 long peptide vaccination combined with cisplatin and topotecan, results in CD8+ T cell-dependent durable rejection of established tumors and 94% long-term survival. Although topotecan initially repressed the expansion of vaccine-induced CD8+ T cells, these cells eventually expanded vigorously, which was followed by delayed contraction. These effects associated with the induction of the proliferation marker Ki-67 and the antiapoptosis molecule Bcl-2 by intratumoral tumor-specific CD8+ T cells, which was regulated by topotecan-mediated upregulation of the costimulatory ligand CD70 on myeloid cells in the TME.


Taken together, our data show that although treatment with cisplatin, topotecan and vaccination initially delays T cell expansion, this combinatorial therapy results eventually in a more robust T cell-mediated tumor eradication due to enhancement of costimulatory molecules in the TME.

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