Indexed on: 06 May '15Published on: 06 May '15Published in: BMC Cancer
Malignant melanoma is an aggressive tumor type that often develops drug resistance to targeted therapeutics. The production of colony stimulating factor 1 (CSF-1) in tumors recruits myeloid cells such as M2-polarized macrophages and myeloid derived suppressor cells (MDSC), leading to an immune suppressive tumor milieu.We used the syngeneic mouse model of BRAF (V600E) -driven melanoma SM1, which secretes CSF-1, to evaluate the ability of the CSF-1 receptor (CSF-1R) inhibitor PLX3397 to improve the antitumor efficacy of the oncogenic BRAF inhibitor vemurafenib.Combined BRAF and CSF-1R inhibition resulted in superior antitumor responses compared with either therapy alone. In mice receiving PLX3397 treatment, a dramatic reduction of tumor-infiltrating myeloid cells (TIM) was observed. In this model, we could not detect a direct effect of TIMs or pro-survival cytokines produced by TIMs that could confer resistance to PLX4032 (vemurafenib). However, the macrophage inhibitory effects of PLX3397 treatment in combination with the paradoxical activation of wild type BRAF-expressing immune cells mediated by PLX4032 resulted in more tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL). Depletion of CD8+ T-cells abrogated the antitumor response to the combination therapy. Furthermore, TILs isolated from SM1 tumors treated with PLX3397 and PLX4032 displayed higher immune potentiating activity.The combination of BRAF-targeted therapy with CSF-1R blockade resulted in increased CD8 T-cell responses in the SM1 melanoma model, supporting the ongoing evaluation of this therapeutic combination in patients with BRAF (V600) mutant metastatic melanoma.