Therapeutic targeting of tumor-associated myeloid cells synergizes with radiation therapy for glioblastoma

Peng Zhang, Jason Miska, Catalina Lee-Chang, Aida Rashidi, Wojciech K. Panek, Shejuan An, Markella Zannikou, Aurora Lopez-Rosas, Yu Han, Ting Xiao, Katarzyna C. Pituch, Deepak Kanojia, Irina V. Balyasnikova, Maciej S. Lesniak*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


Tumor-associated myeloid cells (TAMCs) are key drivers of immunosuppression in the tumor microenvironment, which profoundly impedes the clinical response to immune-dependent and conventional therapeutic modalities. As a hallmark of glioblastoma (GBM), TAMCs are massively recruited to reach up to 50% of the brain tumor mass. Therefore, they have recently been recognized as an appealing therapeutic target to blunt immunosuppression in GBM with the hope of maximizing the clinical outcome of antitumor therapies. Here we report a nano-immunotherapy approach capable of actively targeting TAMCs in vivo. As we found that programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) is highly expressed on glioma-associated TAMCs, we rationally designed a lipid nanoparticle (LNP) formulation surface-functionalized with an anti–PD-L1 therapeutic antibody (αPD-L1). We demonstrated that this system (αPD-L1-LNP) enabled effective and specific delivery of therapeutic payload to TAMCs. Specifically, encapsulation of dinaciclib, a cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor, into PD-L1–targeted LNPs led to a robust depletion of TAMCs and an attenuation of their immunosuppressive functions. Importantly, the delivery efficiency of PD-L1–targeted LNPs was robustly enhanced in the context of radiation therapy (RT) owing to the RT-induced up-regulation of PD-L1 on glioma-infiltrating TAMCs. Accordingly, RT combined with our nano-immunotherapy led to dramatically extended survival of mice in 2 syngeneic glioma models, GL261 and CT2A. The high targeting efficiency of αPD-L1-LNP to human TAMCs from GBM patients further validated the clinical relevance. Thus, this study establishes a therapeutic approach with immense potential to improve the clinical response in the treatment of GBM and warrants a rapid translation into clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23714-23723
Number of pages10
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number47
StatePublished - 2019


  • Glioblastoma
  • Immunotherapy
  • Myeloid cell
  • PD-L1
  • Radiotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


Dive into the research topics of 'Therapeutic targeting of tumor-associated myeloid cells synergizes with radiation therapy for glioblastoma'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this