Despite clinical potential and recent advances, durable immunotherapeutic ablation of solid tumors is not routinely achieved. IL15 expands natural killer cell (NK), natural killer T cell (NKT) and CD8+ T-cell numbers and engages the cytotoxic program, and thus is under evaluation for potentiation of cancer immunotherapy. We found that short-term therapy with IL15 bound to soluble IL15 receptor α–Fc (IL15cx; a form of IL15 with increased half-life and activity) was ineffective in the treatment of autochthonous PyMT murine mammary tumors, despite abundant CD8+ T-cell infiltration. Probing of this poor responsiveness revealed that IL15cx only weakly activated intratumoral CD8+ T cells, even though cells in the lung and spleen were activated and dramatically expanded. Tumor-infiltrating CD8+ T cells exhibited cell-extrinsic and cell-intrinsic resistance to IL15. Our data showed that in the case of persistent viral or tumor antigen, single-agent systemic IL15cx treatment primarily expanded antigen-irrelevant or extratumoral CD8+ T cells. We identified exhaustion, tissue-resident memory, and tumor-specific molecules expressed in tumor-infiltrating CD8+ T cells, which may allow therapeutic targeting or programming of specific subsets to evade loss of function and cytokine resistance, and, in turn, increase the efficacy of IL2/15 adjuvant cytokine therapy. Cancer Immunol Res; 4(9); 799–811. ©2016 AACR.
Note: Supplementary data for this article are available at Cancer Immunology Research Online (http://cancerimmunolres.aacrjournals.org/).
- Received August 3, 2015.
- Revision received June 17, 2016.
- Accepted June 29, 2016.
- ©2016 American Association for Cancer Research.