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PURPOSE: Ovarian cancer represents a major clinical hurdle for immune checkpoint blockade (ICB), with reported low patient response rates. We found that the immune checkpoint ligand PD-L2 is robustly expressed in patient samples of ovarian cancers and other malignancies exhibiting suboptimal response to ICB but not in cancers that are ICB sensitive. Therefore we hypothesize that PD-L2 can facilitate immune escape from ICB through incomplete blockade of the PD-1 signaling pathway. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: We engineered a soluble form of the PD-1 receptor (sPD-1) capable of binding and neutralizing both PD-L2 and PD-L1 with x200 and x10,000 folds improvement in binding affinity over wild-type PD-1. Leading to superior inhibition of ligand-mediated PD-1 activities. RESULTS: Both In vitro and in vivo analyses performed in this study demonstrated that the high-affinity sPD-1 molecule is superior at blocking both PD-L1 and PD-L2 mediated immune evasion and reducing tumor growth in immune-competent murine models of ovarian cancer. CONCLUSIONS: The data presented in this study provides justification for using a dual targeting, high-affinity sPD-1 receptor as an alternative to PD-1 or PD-L1 therapeutic antibodies for achieving superior therapeutic efficacy in cancers expressing both PD-L2 and PD-L1.

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Journal article


Clin Cancer Res

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