Integrative Development of a TLR8 Agonist for Ovarian Cancer Chemoimmunotherapy.

Author(s): Monk BJ,  Facciabene A,  Brady WE,  Aghajanian CA,  Fracasso PM,  Walker JL,  Lankes HA,  Manjarrez KL,  Danet-Desnoyers GH,  Bell-McGuinn KM,  McCourt CK,  Malykhin A,  Hershberg RM,  Coukos G

Journal: Clin Cancer Res

Date: 2017 Apr 15

Major Program(s) or Research Group(s): NCORP

PubMed ID: 27702821

PMC ID: PMC5437973

Abstract: Purpose: Immunotherapy is an emerging paradigm for the treatment of cancer, but the potential efficacy of many drugs cannot be sufficiently tested in the mouse. We sought to develop a rational combination of motolimod-a novel Toll-like receptor 8 (TLR8) agonist that stimulates robust innate immune responses in humans but diminished responses in mice-with pegylated liposomal doxorubicin (PLD), a chemotherapeutic that induces immunogenic cell death.Experimental Design: We followed an integrative pharmacologic approach including healthy human volunteers, non-human primates, NSG-HIS ("humanized immune system") mice reconstituted with human CD34+ cells, and patients with cancer to test the effects of motolimod and to assess the combination of motolimod with PLD for the treatment of ovarian cancer.Results: The pharmacodynamic effects of motolimod monotherapy in NSG-HIS mice closely mimicked those in non-human primates and healthy human subjects, whereas the effects of the motolimod/PLD combination in tumor-bearing NSG-HIS mice closely mimicked those in patients with ovarian cancer treated in a phase Ib trial (NCT01294293). The NSG-HIS mouse helped elucidate the mechanism of action of the combination and revealed a positive interaction between the two drugs in vivo The combination produced no dose-limiting toxicities in patients with ovarian cancer. Two subjects (15%) had complete responses and 7 subjects (53%) had disease stabilization. A phase II study was consequently initiated.Conclusions: These results are the first to demonstrate the value of pharmacologic approaches integrating the NSG-HIS mouse, non-human primates, and patients with cancer for the development of novel immunomodulatory anticancer agents with human specificity. Clin Cancer Res; 23(8); 1955-66. ©2016 AACR.