Whereas the contribution of tumor microenvironment to the profound immune suppression of glioblastoma (GBM) is clear, tumor-cell intrinsic mechanisms that regulate resistance to CD8 T cell mediated killing are less understood. Kinases are potentially druggable targets that drive tumor progression and might influence immune response. Here, we perform an in vivo CRISPR screen to identify glioma intrinsic kinases that contribute to evasion of tumor cells from CD8 T cell recognition. The screen reveals checkpoint kinase 2 (Chek2) to be the most important kinase contributing to escape from CD8 T-cell recognition. Genetic depletion or pharmacological inhibition of Chek2 with blood-brain-barrier permeable drugs that are currently being evaluated in clinical trials, in combination with PD-1 or PD-L1 blockade, lead to survival benefit in multiple preclinical glioma models. Mechanistically, loss of Chek2 enhances antigen presentation, STING pathway activation and PD-L1 expression in mouse gliomas. Analysis of human GBMs demonstrates that Chek2 expression is inversely associated with antigen presentation and T-cell activation. Collectively, these results support Chek2 as a promising target for enhancement of response to immune checkpoint blockade therapy in GBM.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)