Weak and ineffective antitumor cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) responses can be rescued by immunomodulatory monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) targeting PD-1 or CD137. Using Batf3-/- mice, which are defective for cross-presentation of cell-associated antigens, we show that Batf3-dependent dendritic cells (DCs) are essential for the response to therapy with anti-CD137 or anti-PD-1 mAbs. Batf3-/- mice failed to prime an endogenous CTL-mediated immune response toward tumor-associated antigens, including neoantigens. As a result, the immunomodulatory mAbs could not amplify any therapeutically functional immune response in these mice. Moreover, administration of systemic sFlt3L and local poly-ICLC enhanced DC-mediated cross-priming and synergized with anti-CD137- and anti-PD-1-mediated immunostimulation in tumor therapy against B16-OVA-derived melanomas, whereas this function was lost in Batf3-/- mice. These experiments show that cross-priming of tumor antigens by Flt3L- and Batf3-dependent DCs is crucial to the efficacy of immunostimulatory mAbs and represents a very attractive point of intervention to enhance their clinical antitumor effects.
- Received April 29, 2015.
- Revision received October 20, 2015.
- Accepted October 20, 2015.
- Copyright © 2015, American Association for Cancer Research.