Lenalidomide enhances immune checkpoint blockade-induced immune response in multiple myeloma

Güllü Görgün, Mehmet K. Samur, Kristen B. Cowens, Steven Paula, Giada Bianchi, Julie E. Anderson, Randie E. White, Ahaana Singh, Hiroto Ohguchi, Rikio Suzuki, Shohei Kikuchi, Takeshi Harada, Teru Hideshima, Yu Tzu Tai, Jacob P. Laubach, Noopur Raje, Florence Magrangeas, Stephane Minvielle, Herve Avet-Loiseau, Nikhil C. MunshiDavid M. Dorfman, Paul G. Richardson, Kenneth C. Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

243 Scopus citations


Purpose: PD-1/PD-L1 signaling promotes tumor growth while inhibiting effector cell-mediated antitumor immune responses. Here, we assessed the impact of single and dual blockade of PD-1/PD-L1, alone or in combination with lenalidomide, on accessory and immune cell function as well as multiple myeloma cell growth in the bone marrow (BM) milieu. Experimental Design: Surface expression of PD-1 on immune effector cells, and PD-L1 expression on CD138+ multiple myeloma cells and myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC) were determined in BM from newly diagnosed (ND) multiple myeloma and relapsed/refractory (RR) multiple myeloma versus healthy donor (HD). We defined the impact of single and dual blockade of PD-1/PD-L1, alone and with lenalidomide, on autologous anti-multiple myeloma immune response and tumor cell growth. Results: Both ND and RR patient multiple myeloma cells have increased PD-L1 mRNA and surface expression compared with HD. There is also a significant increase in PD-1 expression on effector cells in multiple myeloma. Importantly, PD-1/PD-L1 blockade abrogates BM stromal cell (BMSC)-induced multiple myeloma growth, and combined blockade of PD-1/PD-L1 with lenalidomide further inhibits BMSC-induced tumor growth. These effects are associated with induction of intracellular expression of IFNγ and granzyme B in effector cells. Importantly, PD-L1 expression in multiple myeloma is higher on MDSC than on antigen-presenting cells, and PD-1/PD-L1 blockade inhibits MDSC-mediated multiple myeloma growth. Finally, lenalidomide with PD-1/PD-L1 blockade inhibits MDSC-mediated immune suppression. Conclusions: Our data therefore demonstrate that checkpoint signaling plays an important role in providing the tumor-promoting, immune-suppressive microenvironment in multiple myeloma, and that PD-1/PD-L1 blockade induces anti-multiple myeloma immune response that can be enhanced by lenalidomide, providing the framework for clinical evaluation of combination therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4617-4618
Number of pages2
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number20
StatePublished - Oct 15 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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