Lung cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths in the United States. A major hurdle for improved therapies is immune suppression mediated by the tumor and its microenvironment. The lung tumor microenvironment (TME) contains large numbers of tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs), which suppress the adaptive immune response, increase neo-vascularization of the tumor, and provide pro-tumor factors to promote tumor growth. CD11b is highly expressed on myeloid cells, including TAMs, where it forms a heterodimeric integrin receptor with CD18 (known as CD11b/CD18, Mac-1, CR3, and αMβ2), and plays an important role in recruitment and biological functions of these cells, and is a validated therapeutic target. Here, we describe our pre-clinical studies targeting CD11b in the context of lung cancer, using pharmacologic and genetic approaches that work via positive allosteric modulation of CD11b function. GB1275 is a novel small molecule modulator of CD11b that is currently in Phase 1/2 clinical development. We assess GB1275 treatment effects on tumor growth and immune infiltrates in the murine Lewis Lung Carcinoma (LLC) syngeneic tumor model. Additionally, as an orthogonal approach to determine mechanisms of action, we utilize our recently developed novel CD11b knock-in (KI) mouse that constitutively expresses CD11b containing an activating isoleucine to glycine substitution at residue 332 in the ligand binding CD11b A-domain (I332G) that acts as a positive allosteric modulator of CD11b activity. We report that pharmacologic modulation of CD11b with GB1275 significantly reduces LLC tumor growth. CD11b KI mice similarly show significant reduction in both the size and rate of LLC tumor growth, as compared to WT mice, mimicking our observed treatment effects with GB1275. Tumor profiling revealed a significant reduction in TAM infiltration in GB1275-treated and in CD11b KI mice, increase in the ratio of M1/M2-like TAMs, and concomitant increase in cytotoxic T cells. The profiling also showed a significant decrease in CCL2 levels and a concomitant reduction in Ly6Chi monocytes in circulation in both groups. These findings suggest that positive allosteric modulation of CD11b reduces TAM density and reprograms them to enhance the adaptive immune response and is a novel therapeutic strategy against lung cancer.
- lung cancer