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552 SUMOylation inhibitor TAK-981 activates NK cells and macrophages via Type I interferon signaling and shows synergistic activity in combination with rituximab and daratumumab in preclinical models
  1. Akito Nakamura,
  2. Keli Song,
  3. Stephen Grossman,
  4. Kristina Xega,
  5. Yuhong Zhang,
  6. Allison Berger,
  7. Allison Berger,
  8. Gary Shapiro and
  9. Dennis Huszar
  1. Takeda Pharmaceuticals, Cambridge, MA, USA


Background TAK-981 is a first-in-class small molecule inhibitor of the SUMO activating enzyme in Phase 1 clinical trials. SUMOylation has previously been implicated in the regulation of innate immune responses and expression of Type I interferons,1 and ex vivo treatment of human and mouse immune cells with TAK-981 results in transcriptional upregulation of IFN-beta and Type I IFN receptor (IFNAR) signaling. We previously showed that TAK-981 increases NK cell activation and M1 macrophage polarization, leading to enhanced ADCC and ADCP in the presence of rituximab.2In vivo, TAK-981 induces IFNAR-dependent antitumor activity and synergizes with rituximab in xenograft-bearing mice.2 3 Here we investigated the mechanism of synergistic activity with rituximab and evaluated the combination of TAK-981 with daratumumab, another therapeutic mAb.

Methods The role of effector function of rituximab in the mechanism of synergy with TAK-981 was evaluated in OCI-Ly10-bearing SCID mice treated with TAK-981 and the LALA-PG version of rituximab, in which mutations in the Fc region prevent FcγR binding. The combination of TAK-981 and rituximab was also evaluated in OCI-Ly10 tumor-bearing mice in which macrophages and/or NK cells were depleted with clodronate and anti-asialo GM1. TAK-981 in combination with daratumumab was evaluated in two CD38+ xenograft models, Daudi (Burkitt’s lymphoma) and LP-1 (multiple myeloma). To test ADCP activity, Daudi-KILR cells were incubated with human monocyte-derived macrophages (hMDM) treated with TAK-981 in the presence or absence of rituximab or daratumumab, with or without a neutralizing antibody to IFNAR2.

Results Unlike rituximab, LALA-PG mutated rituximab did not synergize with TAK-981 in OCI-Ly10 tumor-bearing mice, indicating a requirement for Fc effector function. Depletion of macrophages with clodronate or NK cells with anti-asialo GM1 lessened the anti-tumor effect of the TAK-981 and rituximab combination, while dual depletion of macrophages and NK cells had a greater impact. TAK-981 showed synergistic activity in combination with daratumumab in two CD38+ xenograft models, Daudi and LP-1. In vitro, TAK-981-treated hMDM showed increased phagocytic activity against Daudi cells, and this effect was further enhanced in the presence of rituximab or daratumumab but prevented by a neutralizing antibody to IFNAR2.

Conclusions In preclinical models, TAK-981 synergizes with rituximab through a mechanism involving Type I-IFN dependent enhancement of ADCC and ADCP, and the combination of TAK-981 with daratumumab is also synergistic.


  1. Decque A, Joffre O, Magalhaes JG, Cossec J-C, Blecher-Gonen R, Lapaquette P, Silvin A, Manel N, Joubert P-E, Seeler J-S, Albert ML, Amit I, Amigorena S, Dejean A. Sumoylation coordinates the repression of inflammatory and anti-viral gene-expression programs during innate sensing. Nat Immunol 2016;17:140–149.

  2. Nakamura A, Grossman S, Song K, Idamakanti N, Shaprio G, Huszar D. Inhibition of SUMOylation by TAK-981 induces antitumor innate immune responses by modulating macrophage and NK cell function through Type I IFN pathway activation [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the American Association forCancer Research Annual Meeting 2019; 2019 Mar 29-Apr 3; Atlanta, GA. Cancer Res 2019;79(13 Suppl):Abstract nr 1523.

  3. Huszar D. TAK-981: A first-in-class SUMOylation inhibitor in phase 1 clinical trials promotes a Type I interferon response and antitumor immunity in preclinical models. AACR Annual Meeting 2019, American Association for Cancer Research; Mar 29-Apr 03; Atlanta, GA, US. Session DDT01.

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