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Activating Immune Recognition in Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma Using Autophagy Inhibition, MEK blockade and CD40 Agonism

By Honglin Jiang, Tristan Courau, Leonard Lupin-Jimenez, Joseph Borison, Alexa J Ritchie, Aaron T Mayer, Matthew F Krummel, eric collisson

Posted 06 Nov 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.11.05.370569

Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) patients have not yet benefitted from the revolution in cancer immunotherapy due in large part to the dominantly immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment (TME). MEK inhibition combined with autophagy inhibition leads to transient tumor responses in some PDA patients. We find that co-inhibition of MEK (using cobimetinib, COBI) and autophagy (using mefloquine, MFQ), but not either treatment alone, activates the Type I Interferon/STING pathway in tumor cells which in turn reprogram tumor associated macrophages (TAMs) in paracrine to foster an immunogenic switch. This effect is augmented by a CD40 agonist (aCD40). Triple therapy (COBI+MFQ+aCD40) achieved cytotoxic T cell activation in an immunologically cold mouse PDA model, leading to enhanced anti-tumor immunity. Collectively, MEK and autophagy co-inhibition coupled with CD40 agonism invokes immuno-reprograming and is an attractive therapeutic approach for PDA immunotherapy development. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.

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