Purpose: Despite advances in therapy for the treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer, many patients die of hepatic disease. Current immunotherapeutic strategies are likely limited by inhibitory signals from the tumor. To successfully eliminate tumor deposits within an organ, an appropriate immunologic milieu to amplify antitumor responses must be developed. Methods: We used a murine model utilizing the CT26 colon cancer cell line to analyze primary and memory tumor-specific T-cell responses induced by an attenuated actin A and internalin B deleted immunodominant tumor-associated antigen expressing strain of Listeria monocytogenes for the treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer. Results: Treatment of mice bearing established hepatic metastases with this L. monocytogenes strain led to the generation of a strong initial tumor-specific cytotoxic CD8+ T-cell response that successfully treated 90% of animals. Tumor antigen-specific central and effector memory T cells were also generated and protected against tumor rechallenge. These cell populations, when measured before and after tumor rechallenge, showed a marked expansion of antigen-specific effector CD8+ effector memory T cells. This strain of L. monocytogenes was able to down-modulate the expression of the immune checkpoint molecule, PD-1, within the tumor microenvironment but had variable effects on CTLA-4 expression. Conclusions: This L. monocytogenes strain generated a highly effective antitumor T-cell response, providing a basis for the development of this vaccine platform in patients with liver metastases.
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