CD103<sup>+</sup> regulatory T cells underlie resistance to radio-immunotherapy and impair CD8<sup>+</sup> T cell activation in glioblastoma.


Glioblastomas are aggressive primary brain tumors with an inherent resistance to T cell-centric immunotherapy due to their low mutational burden and immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment. Here we report that fractionated radiotherapy of preclinical glioblastoma models induce a tenfold increase in T cell content. Orthogonally, spatial imaging mass cytometry shows T cell enrichment in human recurrent tumors compared with matched primary glioblastoma. In glioblastoma-bearing mice, α-PD-1 treatment applied at the peak of T cell infiltration post-radiotherapy results in a modest survival benefit compared with concurrent α-PD-1 administration. Following α-PD-1 therapy, CD103+ regulatory T cells (Tregs) with upregulated lipid metabolism accumulate in the tumor microenvironment, and restrain immune checkpoint blockade response by repressing CD8+ T cell activation. Treg targeting elicits tertiary lymphoid structure formation, enhances CD4+ and CD8+ T cell frequency and function and unleashes radio-immunotherapeutic efficacy. These results support the rational design of therapeutic regimens limiting the induction of immunosuppressive feedback pathways in the context of T cell immunotherapy in glioblastoma.

More about this publication

Nature cancer
  • Volume 4
  • Issue nr. 5
  • Pages 665-681
  • Publication date 01-05-2023

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