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565 Combinatorial HSCs and anti-PD-1 therapy in microsatellite stable colorectal cancer
  1. Bayli DiVita Dean,
  2. John Figg,
  3. Laura Falceto Font,
  4. Connor Francis,
  5. Duane Mitchell and
  6. Catherine Flores
  1. University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA


Background Colon cancer (CRC) is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the US. CRC incidence is on the rise and there is an alarming increase in young onset CRC cases. Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) have yielded promising anti-tumor results in microsatellite instable high (MSI-high) patients, which represent only 15% of tumors. The remaining 85% are denoted as microsatellite stable (MSS) and are unresponsive to ICI. Using a murine glioma model, our group has previously found the combination of anti-PD-1 and a transfer of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) can sensitize mice that are resistant to anti-PD-1 alone. We evaluated survival after treatment with this combinatorial platform 3 or 5 days post-implantation in subcutaneous CRC-bearing mice and also phenotyped the splenic compartment of mice at endpoint.

Methods 1x106 MSS CRC cells, CT26, were subcutaneously injected into the right flank of BALB/cJ mice. 3 or 5 days later, HSCs were isolated from naïve BALB/cJ mice and injected through the tail vein into CT26-bearing mice and were also given 10 mg/kg anti-PD-1. Mice were given 3 additional doses of anti-PD-1 for a total of doses either every 3 or 5 days. Mice were sacrificed when tumors reached 1.5 cm at its widest point and spleens were excised and stained for flow cytometry.

Results When mice were treated with HSC/anti-PD-1 3 days post-tumor implantation, we observed a statistically significant increase in survival in mice that received combinatorial HSCs and anti-PD-1 relative to no treatment control mice (p=0.0034, Mantel-Cox long-rank test) as well as mice that received HSCs alone (p=0.0462, Mantel-Cox log-rank test. In the same 3 day cohort, no differences in the frequency of T cell populations were observed. However, we found mice that received this combination therapy had a significant increase in the frequency of splenic CD11c+ MHC II+ dendritic cells (DCs) relative to no treatment control mice (p=0.0364, Mann-Whitney t test). When mice were treated with HSC/anti-PD-1 5 days post-tumor implantation, we found a statistically significant increase in survival of mice treated with combinatorial HSCs and anti-PD-1 compared to no treatment control mice (p=0.0024, Mantel-Cox log-rank test) and relative to mice that received HSC monotherapy (p=0.0462, Mantel-Cox log-rank test).

Conclusions These results suggest combinatorial HSCs and anti-PD-1 represents a promising therapeutic axis in a murine model of MSS CRC. In addition, the increase in splenic DCs suggests the mechanism behind this anti-tumor response may be expansion of DCs within the periphery.

Ethics Approval All animal work approved through University of Florida IACUC # 201910777

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