Combination of novel intravesical xenogeneic urothelial cell immunotherapy and chemotherapy enhances anti-tumor efficacy in preclinical murine bladder tumor models

Bladder Cancer

Cancer Immunol Immunother. 2020 Nov 6. doi: 10.1007/s00262-020-02775-6. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: Immune checkpoint inhibitors induce robust and durable responses in advanced bladder cancer (BC), but only for a subset of patients. Xenovaccination has been proposed as an effective immunotherapeutic approach to induce anti-tumor immunity. Thus, we proposed a novel intravesical xenogeneic urothelial cell immunotherapy strategy to treat advanced BC based on the hypothesis that implanted xenogeneic urothelial cells not only provoke xeno-rejection immune responses but also elicit bystander anti-tumor immunity.

METHODS: Mouse advanced bladder cancer models were treated with vehicle control, intravesical xenogeneic urothelial cells, cisplatin + gemcitabine, or the combination and assessed for tumor responses to treatments. Tumors and spleens samples were collected for immunohistological staining, cellular and molecular analysis assessed by antibody staining, ELISA, cytotoxicity, and flow cytometry, respectively.

RESULTS: The combination treatment of xenogeneic urothelial cell immunotherapy with chemotherapy was more efficacious than either single therapy to extend survival time in MBT-2 graft bladder tumor model and to suppress tumor progression in murine carcinogen BBN-induced bladder tumor model. The single-cell immunotherapy and combined therapy increased more tumor-infiltrating immune cells in MBT-2 graft tumors compared to vehicle control and chemotherapy treatment groups. The activated T-cell proliferation, cytokine production, and cytotoxicity capacities were also higher in mice with xenogeneic urothelial cell immunotherapy and combination treatments.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest the potential for a novel xenogeneic urothelial cell-based immunotherapy alone and synergy with chemotherapy in the combination therapy. Therefore, our study supports developing xenogeneic urothelial cells as an immunotherapeutic agent in combination with chemotherapy for BC treatment.