The effects of histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibition on immune effector cells may have significant clinical implications; however, this has not yet been elucidated. The goal of this study was to investigate the immunomodulatory potential of the selective HDAC6 inhibitor ACY241 in combination with a cancer vaccine to enhance the efficacy of antigen-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) and the specific activities against tumor cells. Here, we report the effects of ACY241 treatment on antigen expression, immune activation, proliferation, and functional activities of XBP1 antigen-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes (XBP1-CTL). The antigen-specific CTL were generated in vitro by repeated stimulation with novel immunogenic heteroclitic HLA-A2 XBP1 peptides (YISPWILAV, YLFPQLISV), as described previously by our group (Bae et al. Leukemia 2011; Bae et al. Oncoimmunology 2014l; Bae et al. Leukemia 2016). We found that treatment with ACY241 up-regulated key co-stimulatory (CD28, CD40L) and activation (CD38, CD69, CD137) molecules on XBP1-CTL, without inducing expression of co-inhibitory checkpoints (PD1, LAG3, CTLA4, VISTA). In addition, ACY241 increased the frequency of memory CTL subsets and enhanced their anti-tumor activities (cytotoxic activity, Th1-type cytokine production, CTL proliferation) against HLA-A2+ and XBP1+ multiple myeloma, breast cancer, and colon cancer cells. The XBP1-CTL responses were dramatically increased in combination with ACY241, including higher levels of tumor-specific CD107a up-regulation, perforin release, IFN-g/IL-2/TNF-a cytokine production and proliferation of the CD3+CD8+ T cells expressing CD28/CD38 in response to the specific XBP1 peptides. ACY241 also enhanced the expression of various tumor-associated antigens (XBP1, CD138, CS1, BCMA, CD44), MHC class I/II molecules, along with co-stimulatory B7 molecules (CD80, CD86) on HLA-A2+ myeloma (U266), breast cancer (MDA-MB231) and colon cancer (SW480) cell lines. Furthermore, in vitro ACY241 treatment consistently decreased the frequency of immune suppressor cells including myeloid-derived suppressor cells (CD14- CD15+/CD11b+ CD33+/HLA-DRlow) and regulatory T cells (CD25+ FOXP3+/CD3+ CD4+) in peripheral blood or bone marrow mononuclear cells from multiple myeloma patients in a dose-dependent manner. In conclusion, our data demonstrates the immunomodulatory effects of selective HDAC6 inhibition by ACY241 and supports its potential role for improving tumor-specific CTL function and tumor cell recognition when used in combination with antigen-specific cancer vaccine.


Bae:OncoPep Inc.: Consultancy, Equity Ownership. Chauhan:Stemline Therapeutics: Consultancy. Hideshima:Acetylon: Consultancy; C4 Therapeutics: Equity Ownership. Munshi:OncoPep Inc.: Equity Ownership, Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees. Anderson:OncoPep Inc.: Equity Ownership, Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees.

Author notes


Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.

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