Paul A. Clark, Raghava N. Sriramaneni, Amber M. Bates, Won Jong Jin, Justin C. Jagodinsky, Reinier Hernandez, Trang Le, Justin J. Jeffery, Ian R. Marsh, Joseph J. Grudzinski, Eduardo Aluicio-Sarduy, Todd E. Barnhart, Bryce R. Anderson, Ishan Chakravarty, Ian S. Arthur, KyungMann Kim, Jonathan W. Engle, Bryan P. Bednarz, Jamey P. Weichert, Zachary S. Morris
Radiation Research 195 (6), 522-540, (7 April 2021) https://doi.org/10.1667/RADE-20-00237.1
Brain metastases develop in over 60% of advanced melanoma patients and negatively impact quality of life and prognosis. In a murine melanoma model, we previously showed that an in situ vaccination (ISV) regimen, combining radiation treatment and intratumoral (IT) injection of immunocytokine (IC: anti-GD2 antibody fused to IL2), along with the immune checkpoint inhibitor anti-CTLA-4, robustly eliminates peripheral flank tumors but only has modest effects on co-occurring intracranial tumors. In this study, we investigated the ability of low-dose radiation to the brain to potentiate anti-tumor immunity against a brain tumor when combined with ISV + anti-CTLA-4. B78 (GD2+, immunologically “cold”) melanoma tumor cells were implanted into the flank and the right striatum of the brain in C57BL/6 mice. Flank tumors (50–150 mm3) were treated following a previously optimized ISV regimen [radiation (12 Gy × 1, treatment day 1), IT-IC (50 µg daily, treatment days 6–10), and anti-CTLA-4 (100 µg, treatment days 3, 6, 9)]. Mice that additionally received whole-brain radiation treatment (WBRT, 4 Gy × 1) on day 15 demonstrated significantly increased survival compared to animals that received ISV + anti-CTLA-4 alone, WBRT alone or no treatment (control) (P < 0.001, log-rank test). Timing of WBRT was critical, as WBRT administration on day 1 did not significantly enhance survival compared to ISV + anti-CTLA-4, suggesting that the effect of WBRT on survival might be mediated through immune modulation and not just direct tumor cell cytotoxicity. Modest increases in T cells (CD8+ and CD4+) and monocytes/macrophages (F4/80+) but no changes in FOXP3+ regulatory T cells (Tregs), were observed in brain melanoma tumors with addition of WBRT (on day 15) to ISV + anti-CTLA-4. Cytokine multiplex immunoassay revealed distinct changes in both intracranial melanoma and contralateral normal brain with addition of WBRT (day 15) to ISV + anti-CTLA-4, with notable significant changes in pro-inflammatory (e.g., IFNγ, TNFα and LIX/CXCL5) and suppressive (e.g., IL10, IL13) cytokines as well as chemokines (e.g., IP-10/CXCL10 and MIG/CXCL9). We tested the ability of the alkylphosphocholine analog, NM600, to deliver immunomodulatory radiation to melanoma brain tumors as a targeted radionuclide therapy (TRT). Yttrium-86 (86Y) chelated to NM600 was delivered intravenously by tail vein to mice harboring flank and brain melanoma tumors, and PET imaging demonstrated specific accumulation up to 72 h at each tumor site (∼12:1 brain tumor/brain and ∼8:1 flank tumor/muscle). When NM600 was chelated to therapeutic β-particle-emitting 90Y and administered on treatment day 13, T-cell infiltration and cytokine profiles were altered in melanoma brain tumor, like that observed for WBRT. Overall, our results demonstrate that addition of low-dose radiation, timed appropriately with ISV administration to tumors outside the brain, significantly increases survival in animals co-harboring melanoma brain tumors. This observation has potentially important translational implications as a treatment strategy for increasing the response of tumors in the brain to systemically administered immunotherapies.