ARTICLE ABSTRACTPrevious studies suggest that androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) promotes antitumor immunity in prostate cancer. Whether a vaccine-based approach can augment this effect remains unknown.
We conducted a neoadjuvant, randomized study to quantify the immunologic effects of a GM-CSF–secreting allogeneic cellular vaccine in combination with low-dose cyclophosphamide (Cy/GVAX) followed by degarelix versus degarelix alone in patients with high-risk localized prostate adenocarcinoma who were planned for radical prostatectomy.
Both Cy/GVAX plus degarelix and degarelix alone led to significant increases in intratumoral CD8+ T-cell infiltration and PD-L1 expression as compared with a cohort of untreated, matched controls. However, the CD8+ T-cell infiltrate was accompanied by a proportional increase in regulatory T cells (Treg), suggesting that adaptive Treg resistance may dampen the immunogenicity of ADT. Although Cy/GVAX followed by degarelix was associated with a modest improvement in time-to-PSA progression and time-to-next treatment, as well as an increase in PD-L1, there was no difference in the CD8+ T-cell infiltrate as compared with degarelix alone. Gene expression profiling demonstrated that CHIT1, a macrophage marker, was differentially upregulated with Cy/GVAX plus degarelix compared with degarelix alone.
Our results highlight that ADT with or without Cy/GVAX induces a complex immune response within the prostate tumor microenvironment. These data have important implications for combining ADT with immunotherapy. In particular, our finding that ADT increases both CD8+ T cells and Tregs supports the development of regimens combining ADT with Treg-depleting agents in the treatment of prostate cancer.