Inhibitory receptors on immune cells are pivotal regulators of immune escape in cancer. Among these inhibitory receptors, CTLA-4 (targeted clinically by ipilimumab) serves as a dominant off-switch while other receptors such as PD-1 and LAG-3 seem to serve more subtle rheostat functions. However, the extent of synergy and cooperative interactions between inhibitory pathways in cancer remain largely unexplored. Here, we reveal extensive coexpression of PD-1 and LAG-3 on tumor-infiltrating CD4 + and CD8 + T cells in three distinct transplantable tumors. Dual anti-LAG-3/anti-PD-1 antibody treatment cured most mice of established tumors that were largely resistant to single antibody treatment. Despite minimal immunopathologic sequelae in PD-1 and LAG-3 single knockout mice, dual knockout mice abrogated self-tolerance with resultant autoimmune infiltrates in multiple organs, leading to eventual lethality. However, Lag3 -/-Pdcd1 -/- mice showed markedly increased survival from and clearance of multiple transplantable tumors. Together, these results define a strong synergy between the PD-1 and LAG-3 inhibitory pathways in tolerance to both self and tumor antigens. In addition, they argue strongly that dual blockade of these molecules represents a promising combinatorial strategy for cancer.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research