Pressure-Enabled Drug Delivery (PEDD) of a class C TLR9 agonist in combination with checkpoint inhibitor therapy in a murine pancreatic cancer model

Benedict A. Capacio, Jayanth S. Shankara Narayanan, Diego A. Vicente, Yujia Liu, Jason P. LaPorte, Bryan F. Cox, David B. Jaroch, Steven C. Katz, Rebekah R. White*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Systemic immunotherapy has had limited clinical benefit in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. This is thought to be due to its desmoplastic immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment in addition to high intratumoral pressures that limit drug delivery. Recent preclinical cancer models and early-phase clinical trials have demonstrated the potential of toll-like receptor 9 agonists, including the synthetic CpG oligonucleotide SD-101, to stimulate a wide range of immune cells and eliminate suppressive myeloid cells. We hypothesized that Pressure-Enabled Drug Delivery via Pancreatic Retrograde Venous Infusion of toll-like receptor 9 agonist would improve responsiveness to systemic anti-programmed death receptor-1 checkpoint inhibitor therapy in a murine orthotopic pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma model. Methods: Murine pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (KPC4580P) tumors were implanted into the pancreatic tails of C57BL/6J mice and treated 8 days after implantation. Mice were assigned to one of the following treatment groups: Pancreatic Retrograde Venous Infusion delivery of saline, Pancreatic Retrograde Venous Infusion delivery of toll-like receptor 9 agonist, systemic anti-programmed death receptor-1, systemic toll-like receptor 9 agonist, or the combination of Pancreatic Retrograde Venous Infusion delivery of toll-like receptor 9 agonist and systemic anti-programmed death receptor-1 (Combo). Fluorescently labeled toll-like receptor 9 agonist (radiant efficiency) was used to measure uptake of the drug on day 1. Changes in tumor burden were evaluated by necropsy at 2 different time points, 7 and 10 days after toll-like receptor 9 agonist treatment. Blood and tumors were collected at necropsy 10 days after toll-like receptor 9 agonist treatment for flow cytometric analysis of tumor-infiltrating leukocytes and plasma cytokines. Results: All mice analyzed survived to necropsy. Site of tumor fluorescence measurements revealed 3-fold higher intensity fluorescence in Pancreatic Retrograde Venous Infusion delivery of toll-like receptor 9 agonist compared to systemic toll-like receptor 9 agonist mice. Tumor weights were significantly lower in the Combo group compared to Pancreatic Retrograde Venous Infusion delivery of saline. Flow cytometry of the Combo group demonstrated significantly increased overall T-cell number, specifically CD4+ T-cells, and a trend toward increased CD8+ T-cells. Cytokine analysis showed significantly decreased IL-6 and CXCL1. Conclusion: Pressure-Enabled Drug Delivery of toll-like receptor 9 agonist by Pancreatic Retrograde Venous Infusion with systemic anti-programmed death receptor-1 demonstrated improved pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma tumor control in a murine pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma model. These results support study of this combination therapy in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma patients and expansion of ongoing Pressure-Enabled Drug Delivery clinical trials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)666-673
Number of pages8
JournalSurgery
Volume174
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2023
Externally publishedYes

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