Combined sublethal irradiation and agonist anti-CD40 enhance donor T cell accumulation and control of autochthonous murine pancreatic tumors

Lindsay K. Ward-Kavanagh, Kathleen M. Kokolus, Timothy K. Cooper, Aron E. Lukacher, Todd D. Schell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations


Tumor-reactive T lymphocytes can promote the regression of established tumors. However, their efficacy is often limited by immunosuppressive mechanisms that block T cell accumulation or function. ACT provides the opportunity to ameliorate immune suppression prior to transfer of tumor-reactive T cells to improve the therapeutic benefit. We evaluated the combination of lymphodepleting whole body irradiation (WBI) and agonist anti-CD40 (αCD40) antibody on control of established autochthonous murine neuroendocrine pancreatic tumors following the transfer of naïve tumor-specific CD8 T cells. Sublethal WBI had little impact on disease outcome but did promote T cell persistence in the lymphoid organs. Host conditioning with αCD40, an approach known to enhance APC function and T cell expansion, transiently increased donor T cell accumulation in the lymphoid organs and pancreas, but failed to control tumor progression. In contrast, combined WBI and αCD40 prolonged T cell proliferation and dramatically enhanced accumulation of donor T cells in both the lymphoid organs and pancreas. This dual conditioning approach also promoted high levels of inflammation in the pancreas and tumor, induced histological regression of established tumors, and extended the lifespan of treated mice. Prolonged survival was entirely dependent upon adoptive transfer, but only partially dependent upon IFNγ production by donor T cells. Our results identify the novel combination of two clinically relevant host conditioning approaches that synergize to overcome immune suppression and drive strong tumor-specific T cell accumulation within well-established tumors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)639-652
Number of pages14
JournalCancer Immunology, Immunotherapy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2018


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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