, Volume 62, Issue 2, pp 321-335
Date: 26 Aug 2012

Inhibitor of apoptosis protein (IAP) antagonists demonstrate divergent immunomodulatory properties in human immune subsets with implications for combination therapy

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Abstract

Inhibitor of apoptosis proteins (IAPs) are critical in regulating apoptosis resistance in cancer. Antagonists of IAPs, such as LCL161, are in clinical development and show promise as anti-cancer agents for solid and hematological cancers, with preliminary data suggesting they may act as immunomodulators. IAP antagonists hypersensitize tumor cells to TNF-α-mediated apoptosis, an effect that may work in synergy with that of cancer vaccines. This study aimed to further investigate the immunomodulatory properties of LCL161 on human immune subsets. T lymphocytes treated with LCL161 demonstrated significantly enhanced cytokine secretion upon activation, with little effect on CD4 and CD8 T-cell survival or proliferation. LCL161 treatment of peripheral blood mononuclear cells significantly enhanced priming of naïve T cells with synthetic peptides in vitro. Myeloid dendritic cells underwent phenotypic maturation upon IAP antagonism and demonstrated a reduced capacity to cross-present a tumor antigen-based vaccine. These effects are potentially mediated through an observed activation of the canonical and non-canonical NF-κB pathways, following IAP antagonism with a resulting upregulation of anti-apoptotic molecules. In conclusion, this study demonstrated the immunomodulatory properties of antagonists at physiologically relevant concentrations and indicates their combination with immunotherapy requires further investigation.