Programmed cell death 1 ligand 1 (PD-L1) is a member of the B7/CD28 family of proteins that control T-cell activation. Many tumors can upregulate expression of PD-L1, inhibiting anti-tumor T-cell responses and avoiding immune surveillance and elimination. We have identified and characterized MEDI4736, a human IgG1 monoclonal antibody that binds with high affinity and specificity to PD-L1 and is uniquely engineered to prevent antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity. In vitro assays demonstrate that MEDI4736 is a potent antagonist of PD-L1 function, blocking interaction with PD-1 and CD80 to overcome inhibition of primary human T-cell activation. In vivo MEDI4736 significantly inhibits the growth of human tumors in a novel xenograft model containing co-implanted human T cells. This activity is entirely dependent on the presence of transplanted T cells, supporting the immunological mechanism of action for MEDI4736. To further determine the utility of PD-L1 blockade, an anti-mouse PD-L1 antibody was investigated in immunocompetent mice. Here, anti-mouse PD-L1 significantly improved survival of mice implanted with CT26 colorectal cancer cells. The antitumor activity of anti-PD-L1 was enhanced by combination with oxaliplatin, which resulted in increased release of HMGB1 within CT26 tumors. Taken together, our results demonstrate that inhibition of PD-L1 function can have potent antitumor activity when used as monotherapy or in combination in preclinical models, and suggest it may be a promising therapeutic approach for the treatment of cancer. MEDI4736 is currently in several clinical trials both alone and in combination with other agents; including anti-CTLA-4, anti-PD-1 and inhibitors of IDO, MEK, BRAF and EGFR.
- Received November 20, 2014.
- Revision received March 5, 2015.
- Accepted April 7, 2015.
- Copyright © 2015, American Association for Cancer Research.