A multikinase and DNA-PK inhibitor combination immunomodulates melanomas, suppresses tumor progression, and enhances immunotherapies

Alexander K. Tsai, Asra Y. Khan, Christina E. Worgo, Lucy L. Wang, Yuanyuan Liang, Eduardo Davila

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations


Combination therapies have the potential to improve outcomes in melanoma patients but have not yet been clinically efficacious. Here, we used high-throughput flow cytometry-based screening to identify and characterize candidate therapies that might synergize with and augment T-cell immunotherapy efficacy. Two lead therapies, regorafenib (Reg) and NU7441, were selected based on their ability to alter a variety of immunomodulatory proteins, including CD55, CD73, CD155, programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1), nerve growth factor receptor (NGFR), and HLA class I in a heterogeneous panel of melanomas. The therapies also upregulated several melanoma antigens, inhibited proliferation, and perturbed activation of oncogenic signaling pathways in melanomas. T cells treated with the therapies proliferated normally and exhibited a favorably altered phenotype, including increased CD25, CD28, inducible T-cell costimulator (ICOS), and reduced expression of coinhibitory receptors. Cytokine production was also increased in treated T cells. When administered in mice, REg suppressed melanoma progression in a CD8þ T cell–dependent manner when used alone and with various immunotherapies. Additionally, Reg altered the number, phenotype, and function of various T-cell subsets in the tumor microenvironment. These studies reveal that Reg and NU7441 influence the immunobiology of both tumor cells and T cells and enhance the efficacy of various immunotherapies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)790-803
Number of pages14
JournalCancer immunology research
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Cancer Research

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