Salmonella-mediated methionine deprivation drives immune activation and enhances immune checkpoint blockade therapy in melanoma

February, 02, 2024 | Select Oncology Journal Articles


Although immune checkpoint inhibitor (ICI)-based therapy is advantageous for patients with advanced melanoma, resistance and relapse are frequent. Thus, it is crucial to identify effective drug combinations and develop new therapies for the treatment of melanoma. SGN1, a genetically modified Salmonella typhimurium species that causes the targeted deprivation of methionine in tumor tissues, is currently under investigation in clinical trials. However, the inhibitory effect of SGN1 on melanoma and the benefits of SGN1 in combination with ICIs remain largely unexplored. Therefore, this study aims to investigate the antitumor potential of SGN1, and its ability to enhance the efficacy of antibody-based programmed cell death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) inhibitors in the treatment of murine melanoma.


The antitumor activity of SGN1 and the effect of SGN1 on the efficacy of PD-L1 inhibitors was studied through murine melanoma models. Further, The Cancer Genome Atlas-melanoma cohort was clustered using ConsensusClusterPlus based on the methionine deprivation-related genes, and immune characterization was performed using xCell, Microenvironment Cell Populations-counter, Estimation of Stromal and Immune cells in MAlignant Tumor tissues using Expression data, and immunophenoscore (IPS) analyses. The messenger RNA data on programmed death-1 (PD-1) immunotherapy response were obtained from the Gene Expression Omnibus database. Gene Set Enrichment Analysis of methionine deprivation-up gene set was performed to determine the differences between pretreatment responders and non-responders.


This study showed that both, the intratumoral and the intravenous administration of SGN1 in subcutaneous B16-F10 melanomas, suppress tumor growth, which was associated with an activated CD8+T-cell response in the tumor microenvironment. Combination therapy of SGN1 with systemic anti-PD-L1 therapy resulted in better antitumor activity than the individual monotherapies, respectively, and the high therapeutic efficacy of the combination was associated with an increase in the systemic level of tumor-specific CD8+ T cells. Two clusters consisting of methionine deprivation-related genes were identified. Patients in cluster 2 had higher expression of methionine_deprivation_up genes, better clinical outcomes, and higher immune infiltration levels compared with patients in cluster 1. Western blot, IPS analysis, and immunotherapy cohort study revealed that methionine deficiency may show a better response to ICI therapy


This study reports Salmonella-based SGN1 as a potent anticancer agent against melanoma, and lays the groundwork for the potential synergistic effect of ICIs and SGN1 brought about by improving the immune microenvironment in melanomas.

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