LFA-1 activation enriches tumor-specific T cells in a cold tumor model and synergizes with CTLA-4 blockade

Amber Hickman, Joost Koetsier, Trevin Kurtanich, Michael C. Nielsen, Glenn Winn, Yunfei Wang, Salah Eddine Bentebibel, Leilei Shi, Simone Punt, Leila Williams, Cara Haymaker, Charles B. Chesson, Faisal Fa’ak, Ana L. Dominguez, Richard Jones, Isere Kuiatse, Amy R. Caivano, Sayadeth Khounlo, Navin D. Warier, Upendra MarathiRobert V. Market, Ronald J. Biediger, John W. Craft, Patrick Hwu, Michael A. Davies, Darren G. Woodside, Peter Vanderslice, Adi Diab, Willem W. Overwijk, Yared Hailemichael

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The inability of CD8+ effector T cells (Teffs) to reach tumor cells is an important aspect of tumor resistance to cancer immunotherapy. The recruitment of these cells to the tumor microenvironment (TME) is regulated by integrins, a family of adhesion molecules that are expressed on T cells. Here, we show that 7HP349, a small-molecule activator of lymphocyte function–associated antigen-1 (LFA-1) and very late activation antigen-4 (VLA-4) integrin cell-adhesion receptors, facilitated the preferential localization of tumor-specific T cells to the tumor and improved antitumor response. 7HP349 monotherapy had modest effects on anti–programmed death 1–resistant (anti–PD-1–resistant) tumors, whereas combinatorial treatment with anti–cytotoxic T lymphocyte–associated protein 4 (anti–CTLA-4) increased CD8+ Teff intratumoral sequestration and synergized in cooperation with neutrophils in inducing cancer regression. 7HP349 intratumoral CD8+ Teff enrichment activity depended on CXCL12. We analyzed gene expression profiles using RNA from baseline and on treatment tumor samples of 14 melanoma patients. We identified baseline CXCL12 gene expression as possibly improving the likelihood or response to anti–CTLA-4 therapies. Our results provide a proof-of-principle demonstration that LFA-1 activation could convert a T cell–exclusionary TME to a T cell–enriched TME through mechanisms involving cooperation with innate immune cells.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere154152
JournalJournal of Clinical Investigation
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jul 1 2022


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