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PLoS One. 2012;7(4):e34467. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0034467. Epub 2012 Apr 4.

Dual anti-OX40/IL-2 therapy augments tumor immunotherapy via IL-2R-mediated regulation of OX40 expression.

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Earle A. Chiles Research Institute, Providence Portland Medical Center, Portland, Oregon, United States of America.


The provision of T cell co-stimulation via members of the TNFR super-family, including OX40 (CD134) and 4-1BB (CD137), provides critical signals that promote T cell survival and differentiation. Recent studies have demonstrated that ligation of OX40 can augment T cell-mediated anti-tumor immunity in pre-clinical models and more importantly, OX40 agonists are under clinical development for cancer immunotherapy. OX40 is of particular interest as a therapeutic target as it is not expressed on naïve T cells but rather, is transiently up-regulated following TCR stimulation. Although TCR engagement is necessary for inducing OX40 expression, the downstream signals that regulate OX40 itself remain unclear. In this study, we demonstrate that OX40 expression is regulated through a TCR and common gamma chain cytokine-dependent signaling cascade that requires JAK3-mediated activation of the downstream transcription factors STAT3 and STAT5. Furthermore, combined treatment with an agonist anti-OX40 mAb and IL-2 augmented tumor immunotherapy against multiple tumor types. Dual therapy was also able to restore the function of anergic tumor-reactive CD8 T cells in mice with long-term well-established (>5 wks) tumors, leading to increased survival of the tumor-bearing hosts. Together, these data reveal the ability of TCR/common gamma chain cytokine signaling to regulate OX40 expression and demonstrate a novel means of augmenting cancer immunotherapy by providing dual anti-OX40/common gamma chain cytokine-directed therapy.

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