Neoplasia (New York, N.Y.)

A Novel Antagonist of the Immune Checkpoint Protein Adenosine A2a Receptor Restores Tumor-Infiltrating Lymphocyte Activity in the Context of the Tumor Microenvironment.

PMID 28582704


Therapeutic strategies targeting immune checkpoint proteins have led to significant responses in patients with various tumor types. The success of these studies has led to the development of various antibodies/inhibitors for the different checkpoint proteins involved in immune evasion of the tumor. Adenosine present in high concentrations in the tumor microenvironment activates the immune checkpoint adenosine A2a receptor (A2aR), leading to the suppression of antitumor responses. Inhibition of this checkpoint has the potential to enhance antitumor T-cell responsiveness. We developed a novel A2aR antagonist (PBF-509) and tested its antitumor response in vitro, in a mouse model, and in non-small cell lung cancer patient samples. Our studies showed that PBF-509 is highly specific to the A2aR as well as inhibitory of A2aR function in an in vitro model. In a mouse model, we found that lung metastasis was decreased after treatment with PBF-509 compared with its control. Furthermore, freshly resected tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes from lung cancer patients showed increased A2aR expression in CD4+ cells and variable expression in CD8+ cells. Ex vivo studies showed an increased responsiveness of human tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes when PBF-509 was combined with anti-PD-1 or anti-PD-L1. Our studies demonstrate that inhibition of the A2aR using the novel inhibitor PBF-509 could lead to novel immunotherapeutic strategies in non-small cell lung cancer.