Anti-Inflammatory Drugs Remodel the Tumor Immune Environment to Enhance Immune Checkpoint Blockade Efficacy.


Identifying strategies to improve the efficacy of immune checkpoint blockade (ICB) remains a major clinical need. Here, we show that therapeutically targeting the COX2/PGE2/EP2-4 pathway with widely used nonsteroidal and steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs synergized with ICB in mouse cancer models. We exploited a bilateral surgery model to distinguish responders from nonresponders shortly after treatment and identified acute IFNγ-driven transcriptional remodeling in responder mice, which was also associated with patient benefit to ICB. Monotherapy with COX2 inhibitors or EP2-4 PGE2 receptor antagonists rapidly induced this response program and, in combination with ICB, increased the intratumoral accumulation of effector T cells. Treatment of patient-derived tumor fragments from multiple cancer types revealed a similar shift in the tumor inflammatory environment to favor T-cell activation. Our findings establish the COX2/PGE2/EP2-4 axis as an independent immune checkpoint and a readily translatable strategy to rapidly switch the tumor inflammatory profile from cold to hot. SIGNIFICANCE: Through performing in-depth profiling of mice and human tumors, this study identifies mechanisms by which anti-inflammatory drugs rapidly alter the tumor immune landscape to enhance tumor immunogenicity and responses to immune checkpoint inhibitors.See related commentary by Melero et al., p. 2372.This article is highlighted in the In This Issue feature, p. 2355.

More about this publication

Cancer discovery
  • Volume 11
  • Issue nr. 10
  • Pages 2602-2619
  • Publication date 01-10-2021

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