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J Cancer. 2018 Oct 22;9(23):4374-4381. doi: 10.7150/jca.25423. eCollection 2018.

PD-1 Blockade Overcomes Adaptive Immune Resistance in Treatment with Anchored-GM-CSF Bladder Cancer Cells Vaccine.

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Department of Urology, Shunde Hospital, Southern Medical University, Guangdong, 528300, China.
Department of Urology, Nanfang Hospital, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou, 510515, China.
Institute of Biotherapy, School of Laboratory Medicine and Biotechnology, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou, 510515, China.
Zhejiang Provincial Key Laboratory of Medical Genetics, School of Life Sciences, Wenzhou Medical University, Wenzhou, 325035, China.


Purpose: To investigate whether PD-L1 mediated adaptive resistance could occur in treatment with Anchored-GM-CSF vaccine and whether PD-1 blockade combined with Anchored-GM-CSF vaccine could induce a greater anti-tumor immune response than either immunotherapy alone. Materials and Methods: After establishing long-established subcutaneous metastasis bladder cancer models, mice were treated with Anchored-GM-CSF vaccine and/or anti-PD-1 antibody. T-lymphocyte-cytotoxicity, flow cytometric analysis, immunohistochemical, immunofluorescence staining, CD8+ -T cell apoptosis and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays were performed to evaluate the efficacy of combination therapy with anchored-GM-CSF vaccine and PD-1 blockade and to explore the related mechanism. Results: Anchored-GM-CSF vaccine could significantly increase the number of mature DCs and up-regulate PD-L1 expression dependent on IFN-γ released from CD8+ T cells. Anchored-GM-CSF vaccine combined with anti-PD-1 antibody could effectively inhibit tumor growth and even cause regression of the established tumor. More CD4+ and CD8+ T cells appeared at tumor sites and in peripheral blood in the combination therapy group than in the control groups. Splenocytes from mice of the combination therapy group exhibited the most potent cytotoxicity to MB49 cells. Apoptotic assays showed that PD-1 blockade could significantly reduce CD8+ T cells apoptosis. Conclusions: Anchored-GM-CSF vaccines and anti-PD-1 antibodies have synergistic effects in metastatic bladder cancer treatment. PD-1 blockade can overcome immune resistance in treatment with the Anchored-GM-CSF vaccine, while Anchored-GM-CSF vaccine can enhance the efficacy of PD-1 blockade therapy.


GM-CSF; bladder cancer; program death ligand 1; program death receptor 1; vaccine

Conflict of interest statement

Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interest exists.

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