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Sci Transl Med. 2012 May 16;4(134):134ra62. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3003330.

CD25 blockade depletes and selectively reprograms regulatory T cells in concert with immunotherapy in cancer patients.

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Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


Regulatory T cells (T(regs)) are key mediators of immune tolerance and feature prominently in cancer. Depletion of CD25(+) FoxP3(+) T(regs) in vivo may promote T cell cancer immunosurveillance, but no strategy to do so in humans while preserving immunity and preventing autoimmunity has been validated. We evaluated the Food and Drug Administration-approved CD25-blocking monoclonal antibody daclizumab with regard to human T(reg) survival and function. In vitro, daclizumab did not mediate antibody-dependent or complement-mediated cytotoxicity but rather resulted in the down-regulation of FoxP3 selectively among CD25(high) CD45RA(neg) T(regs). Moreover, daclizumab-treated CD45RA(neg) T(regs) lost suppressive function and regained the ability to produce interferon-γ, consistent with reprogramming. To understand the impact of daclizumab on T(regs) in vivo, we performed a clinical trial of daclizumab in combination with an experimental cancer vaccine in patients with metastatic breast cancer. Daclizumab administration led to a marked and prolonged decrease in T(regs) in patients. Robust CD8 and CD4 T cell priming and boosting to all vaccine antigens were observed in the absence of autoimmunity. We conclude that CD25 blockade depletes and selectively reprograms T(regs) in concert with active immune therapy in cancer patients. These results suggest a mechanism to target cancer-associated T(regs) while avoiding autoimmunity.

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