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Cancer discovery DOI:10.1158/2159-8290.CD-13-0310

Activation of the PD-1 pathway contributes to immune escape in EGFR-driven lung tumors.

Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsAkbay, EA, Koyama, S, Carretero, J, Altabef, A, Tchaicha, JH, Christensen, CL, Mikse, OR, Cherniack, AD, Beauchamp, EM, Pugh, TJ, Wilkerson, MD, Fecci, PE, Butaney, M, Reibel, JB, Soucheray, M, Cohoon, TJ, Janne, PA, Meyerson, M, Hayes, DN, Shapiro, GI, Shimamura, T, Sholl, LM, Rodig, SJ, Freeman, GJ, Hammerman, PS, Dranoff, G, Wong, KK
JournalCancer discovery
Date Published2013/09/27

The success in lung cancer therapy with Programmed Death (PD)-1 blockade suggests that immune escape mechanisms contribute to lung tumor pathogenesis. We identified a correlation between Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR) pathway activation and a signature of immunosuppression manifested by upregulation of PD-1, PD-L1, cytotoxic T lymphocyte antigen-4 (CTLA-4), and multiple tumor-promoting inflammatory cytokines. We observed decreased cytotoxic T cells and increased markers of T cell exhaustion in mouse models of EGFR-driven lung cancer. PD-1 antibody blockade improved the survival of mice with EGFR-driven adenocarcinomas by enhancing effector T cell function and lowering the levels of tumor-promoting cytokines. Expression of mutant EGFR in bronchial epithelial cells induced PD-L1, and PD-L1 expression was reduced by EGFR inhibitors in non-small cell lung cancer cell lines with activated EGFR. These data suggest that oncogenic EGFR signaling remodels the tumor microenvironment to trigger immune escape, and mechanistically link treatment response to PD-1 inhibition.