Disrupting CTLA-4 recycling results in robust CTLA-4 downregulation by all anti-CTLA-4 antibodies and confers toxicity to a non-irAE-prone anti-CTLA-4 mAb. Conversely, increasing the pH sensitivity of TremeIgG1 by introducing designed tyrosine-to-histidine mutations prevents antibody-triggered lysosomal CTLA-4 downregulation and dramatically attenuates irAE. Surprisingly, by avoiding CTLA-4 downregulation and due to their increased bioavailability, pH-sensitive anti-CTLA-4 antibodies are more effective in intratumor regulatory T-cell depletion and rejection of large established tumors. Our data establish a new paradigm for cancer research that allows for abrogating irAE while increasing CITE of anti-CTLA-4 antibodies.
Hijacking antibody-induced CTLA-4 lysosomal degradation for safer and more effective cancer immunotherapy.
It remains unclear why the clinically used anti-CTLA-4 antibodies, popularly called checkpoint inhibitors, have severe immunotherapy-related adverse effects (irAEs) and yet suboptimal cancer immunotherapeutic effects (CITE). Here we report that while irAE-prone Ipilimumab and TremeIgG1 rapidly direct cell surface CTLA-4 for lysosomal degradation, the non-irAE-prone antibodies we generated, HL12 or HL32, dissociate from CTLA-4 after endocytosis and allow CTLA-4 recycling to cell surface by the LRBA-dependent mechanism.