Several kinase inhibitors that target aberrant signaling pathways in tumor cells have been deployed in cancer therapy. However, their impact on the tumor immune microenvironment remains poorly understood. The tyrosine kinase inhibitor cabozantinib showed striking responses in cancer clinical trial patients across several malignancies. Here we show that cabozantinib rapidly eradicates invasive, poorly-differentiated PTEN/p53 deficient murine prostate cancer. This was associated with enhanced release of neutrophil chemotactic factors from tumor cells, including CXCL12 and HMGB1, resulting in robust infiltration of neutrophils into the tumor. Critically, cabozantinib-induced tumor clearance in mice was abolished by antibody-mediated granulocyte depletion or HMGB1 neutralization or blockade of neutrophil chemotaxis with the CXCR4 inhibitor, plerixafor. Collectively, these data demonstrate that cabozantinib triggers a neutrophil-mediated anti-cancer innate immune response, resulting in tumor clearance.
- Received July 15, 2016.
- Revision received March 6, 2017.
- Accepted March 6, 2017.
- Copyright ©2017, American Association for Cancer Research.