Immune profiling of human tumors identifies CD73 as a combinatorial target in glioblastoma

Sangeeta Goswami, Thomas Walle, Andrew E. Cornish, Sreyashi Basu, Swetha Anandhan, Irina Fernandez, Luis Vence, Jorge Blando, Hao Zhao, Shalini Singh Yadav, Martina Ott, Ling Y. Kong, Amy B. Heimberger, John de Groot, Boris Sepesi, Michael Overman, Scott Kopetz, James P. Allison, Dana Pe’er, Padmanee Sharma*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review

170 Scopus citations


Immune checkpoint therapy with anti-CTLA-4 and anti-PD-1/PD-L1 has revolutionized the treatment of many solid tumors. However, the clinical efficacy of immune checkpoint therapy is limited to a subset of patients with specific tumor types1,2. Multiple clinical trials with combinatorial immune checkpoint strategies are ongoing; however, the mechanistic rationale for tumor-specific targeting of immune checkpoints is elusive. To garner an insight into tumor-specific immunomodulatory targets, we analyzed 94 patients representing five different cancer types, including those that respond relatively well to immune checkpoint therapy and those that do not, such as glioblastoma multiforme, prostate cancer and colorectal cancer. Through mass cytometry and single-cell RNA sequencing, we identified a unique population of CD73hi macrophages in glioblastoma multiforme that persists after anti-PD-1 treatment. To test if targeting CD73 would be important for a successful combination strategy in glioblastoma multiforme, we performed reverse translational studies using CD73−/− mice. We found that the absence of CD73 improved survival in a murine model of glioblastoma multiforme treated with anti-CTLA-4 and anti-PD-1. Our data identified CD73 as a specific immunotherapeutic target to improve antitumor immune responses to immune checkpoint therapy in glioblastoma multiforme and demonstrate that comprehensive human and reverse translational studies can be used for rational design of combinatorial immune checkpoint strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)39-46
Number of pages8
JournalNature Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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