Adenosine 2A receptor blockade as an immunotherapy for treatment-refractory renal cell cancer

Lawrence Fong, Andrew Hotson, John D. Powderly, Mario Sznol, Rebecca S. Heist, Toni K. Choueiri, Saby George, Brett G.M. Hughes, Matthew D. Hellmann, Dale R. Shepard, Brian I. Rini, Shivaani Kummar, Amy M. Weise, Matthew J. Riese, Ben Markman, Leisha A. Emens, Daruka Mahadevan, Jason J. Luke, Ginna Laport, Joshua D. BrodyLeonel Hernandez-Aya, Philip Bonomi, Jonathan W. Goldman, Lyudmyla Berim, Daniel J. Renouf, Rachel A. Goodwin, Brian Munneke, Po Y. Ho, Jessica Hsieh, Ian McCaffery, Long Kwei, Stephen B. Willingham, Richard A. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Adenosine mediates immunosuppression within the tumor microenvironment through triggering adenosine 2A receptors (A2AR) on immune cells. To determine whether this pathway could be targeted as an immunotherapy, we performed a phase I clinical trial with a small-molecule A2AR antagonist. We find that this molecule can safely block adenosine signaling in vivo. In a cohort of 68 patients with renal cell cancer (RCC), we also observe clinical responses alone and in combination with an anti–PD-L1 antibody, including subjects who had progressed on PD-1/PD-L1 inhibitors. Durable clinical benefit is associated with increased recruitment of CD8 + T cells into the tumor. Treatment can also broaden the circulating T-cell repertoire. Clinical responses are associated with an adenosine-regulated gene-expression signature in pretreatment tumor biopsies. A2AR signaling, therefore, represents a targetable immune checkpoint distinct from PD-1/PD-L1 that restricts antitumor immunity. SIGNIFICANCE: This first-in-human study of an A2AR antagonist for cancer treatment establishes the safety and feasibility of targeting this pathway by demonstrating antitumor activity with single-agent and anti–PD-L1 combination therapy in patients with refractory RCC. Responding patients possess an adenosine-regulated gene-expression signature in pretreatment tumor biopsies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)40-53
Number of pages14
JournalCancer Discovery
Volume10
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2020
Externally publishedYes

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology

Cite this

Fong, L., Hotson, A., Powderly, J. D., Sznol, M., Heist, R. S., Choueiri, T. K., George, S., Hughes, B. G. M., Hellmann, M. D., Shepard, D. R., Rini, B. I., Kummar, S., Weise, A. M., Riese, M. J., Markman, B., Emens, L. A., Mahadevan, D., Luke, J. J., Laport, G., ... Miller, R. A. (2020). Adenosine 2A receptor blockade as an immunotherapy for treatment-refractory renal cell cancer. Cancer Discovery, 10(1), 40-53. https://doi.org/10.1158/2159-8290.CD-19-0980