Combination therapy of novel oncolytic adenovirus with anti-PD1 resulted in enhanced anti-cancer effect in syngeneic immunocompetent melanoma mouse model

Garofalo M, Bertinato L, Staniszewska M, Wieczorek M, Salmaso S, Schrom S, Rinner B, Pancer KW, Kuryk L. Pharmaceutics. 2021 Apr 14;13(4):547 (OA)

Malignant melanoma, an aggressive form of skin cancer, has a low five-year survival rate in patients with advanced disease. Immunotherapy represents a promising approach to improve survival rates among patients at advanced stage. Herein, the aim of the study was to design and produce, by using engineering tools, a novel oncolytic adenovirus AdV-D24- inducible co-stimulator ligand (ICOSL)-CD40L expressing potent co-stimulatory molecules enhancing clinical efficacy through the modulation of anti-cancer immune responses. Firstly, we demonstrated the vector's identity and genetic stability by restriction enzyme assay and sequencing, then, by performing in vitro and in vivo pre-clinical studies we explored the anti-cancer efficacy of the virus alone or in combination with anti PD-1 inhibitor in human melanoma cell lines, i.e., MUG Mel-1 and MUG Mel-2, and in immunocompetent C57BL/6 melanoma B16V mouse model. We showed that both monotherapy and combination approaches exhibit enhanced anti-cancer ability and immunogenic cell death in in vitro settings. Furthermore, AdV-D24-ICOSL-CD40L combined with anti PD-1 revealed a fall in tumor volume and 100% survival in in vivo context, thus suggesting enhanced efficacy and survival via complementary anti-cancer properties of those agents in melanoma therapy. Collectively, the novel oncolytic vector AdV-D24-ICOSL-CD40L alone or in combination with anticancer drugs, such as check point inhibitors, may open novel therapeutic perspectives for the treatment of melanoma.

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