T-cell infiltration of solid tumors is associated with improved prognosis and favorable responses to immunotherapy. Mechanisms that enable tumor infiltration of CD8+ T cells have not been defined, nor have drugs that assist this process been discovered. Here we address these issues with a focus on VE-cadherin, a major endothelial cell-specific junctional protein that controls vascular integrity. A decrease in VE-cadherin expression is associated with tumor pathology. We developed an oligonucleotide-based inhibitor (CD5-2), which disrupted the interaction of VE-cadherin with its regulator miR-27a, resulting in increased VE-cadherin expression. Administration of CD5-2 in tumor-bearing mice enhanced expression of VE-cadherin in tumor endothelium, activating TIE-2 and tight junction pathways and normalizing vessel structure and function. CD5-2 administration also enhanced tumor-specific T-cell infiltration and spatially redistributed CD8+ T cells within the tumor parenchyma. Finally, CD5-2 treatment enhanced the efficacy of anti-PD-1 blocking antibody. Our work establishes a role for VE-cadherin in T-cell infiltration in tumors and offers a preclinical proof of concept for CD5-2 as a therapeutic modifier of cancer immunotherapy via effects on the tumor vasculature.
Bibliographical noteA correction exists for this article and has been included in the current online and pdf versions.
- Colonic Neoplasms/blood supply
- Endothelium, Vascular/immunology
- Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells
- Melanoma, Experimental/blood supply
- Molecular Targeted Therapy