Preprint Article Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

Exploiting Autoimmunity Unleashed by an Off-Label Low-Dose Immune Checkpoint Blockade to Treat Advanced Cancer

Version 1 : Received: 27 November 2018 / Approved: 28 November 2018 / Online: 28 November 2018 (10:23:31 CET)

How to cite: Bakacs, T.; Moss, R.W.; Szasz, A.M.; Anderson, C.C. Exploiting Autoimmunity Unleashed by an Off-Label Low-Dose Immune Checkpoint Blockade to Treat Advanced Cancer. Preprints 2018, 2018110609 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201811.0609.v1). Bakacs, T.; Moss, R.W.; Szasz, A.M.; Anderson, C.C. Exploiting Autoimmunity Unleashed by an Off-Label Low-Dose Immune Checkpoint Blockade to Treat Advanced Cancer. Preprints 2018, 2018110609 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201811.0609.v1).

Abstract

As a result of the cancer immunotherapy revolution hundreds of clinical trials of the newly approved immunotherapies are now under way to improve responses. Not unexpectedly, the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to James P. Allison and Tasuku Honjo for their development of cancer therapy by blockade of co-inhibitory signals. While success stories of terminal cancer patients achieving complete remissions are accumulating, not enough research has been done into the risks of the new therapies. Since the use of immunotherapy is becoming more common, and is expected to develop into first- and second-line treatments, immunotoxicity and autoimmunity are emerging as the nemesis of immunotherapy. Immune-related adverse events (IrAEs) could affect any tissue, their incidence may reach up to 90% of patients and toxicity is dose-dependent. While the combination of two immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) increased efficacy, the incidence of severe adverse events was also increased. Apparently, ICIs cannot be restricted to the targeted anti-tumor T cell population. The long lasting objective of cancer regression can only be achieved by paying a price: tolerance to healthy self tissues is compromised. In the face of an ipilimumab induced pan-lymphocytic activation, a therapeutic paradigm shift is required. The task is not desperately trying to put the genie back in the bottle by immune suppressive treatments, but instead harnessing the autoimmune forces by an off label low-dose combined anti-CTLA-4 and anti-PD1 antibody blockade, which is supplemented with conventional interleukin-2 stimulation and hyperthermia. The proof-of-principle of the low-dose-combination therapy was demonstrated in a heavily pre-treated triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) patient with far advanced pulmonary metastases and severe shortness of breath, who had exhausted all conventional treatment. Her pulmonary metastases went into complete remission with transient WHO I-II diarrhea and skin rash. She lived for 27 months after starting the low-dose-combination therapy. She had recurrence as a sternal mass and pleural metastases up to 3 cm. Since the low-dose-combination protocol consists only of approved drugs and treatments, this exceptional response should instigate further research efforts.

Subject Areas

immune checkpoint inhibitors; immune-related adverse events (irAEs); tolerance; ipilimumab; nivolumab; interleukin-2; hyperthermia; low-dose-combination therapy

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