Resistance to immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICI) and other anticancer therapies is often associated with the accumulation of myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) and tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) in the tumor microenvironment (TME). Therefore, targeting MDSC recruitment or function is of significant interest as a strategy to treat patients with ICI-resistant cancer. The migration and recruitment of MDSCs to the TME is mediated in part by the CD11b/CD18 integrin heterodimer (Mac-1; α M β 2), expressed on both MDSCs and TAMs. However, inhibition or blockade of CD11b/CD18 has had limited success in clinical trials to date, likely since saturation of CD11b requires doses that are not clinically tolerable with the agents tested so far. Interestingly, activation of CD11b with leukadherin-1 was found to reduce macrophage and neutrophil migration in animal models of inflammatory conditions. Preclinical studies with GB1275, a salt form of leukadherin-1, demonstrated that activation of CD11b improves the antitumor immune response and enhances the response to immunotherapy in mouse models of pancreatic adenocarcinoma, breast cancer and lung cancer. Based on the promising results from preclinical studies, a phase 1/2 clinical study (NCT04060342) of GB1275 in patients with advanced solid tumor types known to be resistant or less likely responsive to immuno-oncology therapies, including pancreatic, breast, prostate, and microsatellite-stable colorectal cancer, is ongoing. In this review, we examine targeting MDSCs as a therapeutic approach in cancer therapy, with a special focus on GB1275 preclinical studies laying the rationale for the phase 1/2 clinical study.
- drug evaluation
- myeloid-derived suppressor cells
- translational medical research
- tumor microenvironment