Cancer immunotherapies hold much promise, but their potential in veterinary settings has not yet been fully appreciated. Canine lymphomas are among the most common tumors of dogs and bear remarkable similarity to human disease. In this study, we examined the combination of CD47 blockade with anti-CD20 passive immunotherapy for canine lymphoma. The CD47/SIRPα axis is an immune checkpoint that regulates macrophage activation. In humans, CD47 is expressed on cancer cells and enables evasion from phagocytosis. CD47-blocking therapies are now under investigation in clinical trials for a variety of human cancers. We found the canine CD47/SIRPα axis to be conserved biochemically and functionally. We identified high-affinity SIRPα variants that antagonize canine CD47 and stimulate phagocytosis of canine cancer cells in vitro. When tested as Fc fusion proteins, these therapeutic agents exhibited single-agent efficacy in a mouse xenograft model of canine lymphoma. Since robust synergy between CD47 blockade and tumor-specific antibodies has been demonstrated for human cancer, we evaluated the combination of CD47-blockade with 1E4-cIgGB, a canine-specific antibody to CD20. 1E4-cIgGB could elicit a therapeutic response against canine lymphoma in vivo as a single agent. However, augmented responses were observed when combined with CD47-blocking therapies, resulting in synergy in vitro and in vivo and eliciting cures in 100% of mice bearing canine lymphoma. Our findings support further testing of CD47-blocking therapies alone and in combination with CD20 antibodies in the veterinary setting.
- Received May 11, 2016.
- Revision received October 26, 2016.
- Accepted October 27, 2016.
- Copyright ©2016, American Association for Cancer Research.