T-cell infiltration and adaptive treg resistance in response to androgen deprivation with or without vaccination in localized prostate cancer

Aleksandar Z. Obradovic, Matthew C. Dallos, Marianna L. Zahurak, Alan W. Partin, Edward M. Schaeffer, Ashley E. Ross, Mohamad E. Allaf, Thomas R. Nirschl, David Liu, Carolyn G. Chapman, Tanya O'Neal, Haiyi Cao, Jennifer N. Durham, Gunes Guner, Javier A. Baena-Del Valle, Onur Ertunc, Angelo M. de Marzo, Emmanuel S. Antonarakis, Charles G. Drake*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Purpose: Previous studies suggest that androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) promotes antitumor immunity in prostate cancer. Whether a vaccine-based approach can augment this effect remains unknown. Patients and Methods: We conducted a neoadjuvant, randomized study to quantify the immunologic effects of a GM-CSF-secreting allogeneic cellular vaccine in combination with low-dose cyclophosphamide (Cy/GVAX) followed by degarelix versus degarelix alone in patients with high-risk localized prostate adenocarcinoma who were planned for radical prostatectomy. Results: Both Cy/GVAX plus degarelix and degarelix alone led to significant increases in intratumoral CD8þ T-cell infiltration and PD-L1 expression as compared with a cohort of untreated, matched controls. However, the CD8þ T-cell infiltrate was accompanied by a proportional increase in regulatory T cells (Treg), suggesting that adaptive Treg resistance may dampen the immunogenicity of ADT. Although Cy/GVAX followed by degarelix was associated with a modest improvement in time-to-PSA progression and time-to-next treatment, as well as an increase in PD-L1, there was no difference in the CD8þ T-cell infiltrate as compared with degarelix alone. Gene expression profiling demonstrated that CHIT1, a macrophage marker, was differentially upregulated with Cy/GVAX plus degarelix compared with degarelix alone. Conclusions: Our results highlight that ADT with or without Cy/GVAX induces a complex immune response within the prostate tumor microenvironment. These data have important implications for combining ADT with immunotherapy. In particular, our finding that ADT increases both CD8þ T cells and Tregs supports the development of regimens combining ADT with Treg-depleting agents in the treatment of prostate cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3182-3192
Number of pages11
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jul 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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