Data from Inhibition of Tryptophan-Dioxygenase Activity Increases the Antitumor Efficacy of Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors
Schramme F., Crosignani S., Frederix K., Hoffmann D., Pilotte L., Stroobant V., Preillon J., Driessens G., Van den Eynde BJ.
<div>Abstract<p>Tryptophan 2,3-dioxygenase (TDO) is an enzyme that degrades tryptophan into kynurenine and thereby induces immunosuppression. Like indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO1), TDO is considered as a relevant drug target to improve the efficacy of cancer immunotherapy. However, its role in various immunotherapy settings has not been fully characterized. Here, we described a new small-molecule inhibitor of TDO that can modulate kynurenine and tryptophan in plasma, liver, and tumor tissue upon oral administration. We showed that this compound improved the ability of anti-CTLA4 to induce rejection of CT26 tumors expressing TDO. To better characterize TDO as a therapeutic target, we used TDO-KO mice and found that anti-CTLA4 or anti-PD1 induced rejection of MC38 tumors in TDO-KO, but not in wild-type mice. As MC38 tumors did not express TDO, we related this result to the high systemic tryptophan levels in TDO-KO mice, which lack the hepatic TDO needed to contain blood tryptophan. The antitumor effectiveness of anti-PD1 was abolished in TDO-KO mice fed on a tryptophan-low diet that normalized their blood tryptophan level. MC38 tumors expressed IDO1, which could have limited the efficacy of anti-PD1 in wild-type mice and could have been overcome in TDO-KO mice due to the high levels of tryptophan. Accordingly, treatment of mice with an IDO1 inhibitor improved the efficacy of anti-PD1 in wild-type, but not in TDO-KO, mice. These results support the clinical development of TDO inhibitors to increase the efficacy of immunotherapy of TDO-expressing tumors and suggest their effectiveness even in the absence of tumoral TDO expression.</p><p><i>See article by Hoffmann et al., p. 19</i></p></div>