Introduction: Idelalisib is a highly selective oral inhibitor of the phosphoinositide 3-kinase delta (PI3Kδ) that is hyperactive in many B-cell malignancies and is critical for the activation, proliferation, survival and trafficking of B lymphocytes. Idelalisib is approved in the US for the treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) in combination with rituximab and as monotherapy for patients with relapsed follicular B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma and small lymphocytic lymphoma who have received at least two prior systemic therapies. Obinutuzumab (GA101) is a glycoengineered type II, CD20 antibody that induces a high level of direct cell death. As a result of glycoengineering, obinutuzumab has increased affinity for FcγRIII on innate immune effector cells resulting in enhanced induction of ADCC and ADCP. Obinutuzumab has been approved for first line treatment of CLL patients in combination with chlorambucil in the US and Europe and is currently in pivotal clinical trials in indolent NHL and DLBCL. Previous work has shown the covalent BTK inhibitor ibrutinib can interfere with the immune effector function and ultimately in vivo efficacy of rituximab in preclinical models (Kohrt et al., Blood, 2014). As PI3K isoforms also play a role in immune effector cells and FcγR signaling we investigated the impact of PI3Kδ inhibition by the PI3Kδ selective inhibitor idelalisib on the immune effector function of obinutuzumab and rituximab.

Experimental methods: The impact of idelalisib on NK cell mediated ADCC induction by obinutuzumab and rituximab was investigated in LDH release assays using WIL2-S, SU-DHL4 and Z138 target cells at plasma protein-binding adjusted clinically relevant concentrations mimicking exposure in patients. As a surrogate for NK cell activation CD16 levels and up-regulation of the degranulation marker CD107a were assessed by FACS. The impact on monocyte-derived macrophage mediated ADCP of WIL2-S cells was measured in a flow cytometry-based phagocytosis assay. Finally, depletion of CD19 positive B cells was determined in whole blood from healthy volunteers in flow cytometry-based whole blood assay.

Results: In ADCC assays, no impact of idelalisib on ADCC at saturating concentration of obinutuzumab or rituximab (>1ug/ml) can be detected in LDH release assays with tumor cells targets (N=9 donors for WIL2-S, N>3 donors for SU-DHL-4 and Z138). Idelalisib did not alter obinutuzumab or rituximab ability to kill tumor cells by ADCC at low E:T ratio. Little to no increase of obinutuzumab or rituximab EC50 for LDH release, CD16 down regulation, or degranulation of NK cells could be detected depending on donor effector cells. ADCP assays were conducted with M2c polarized macrophages using WIL2-S as targets. Less than 30% inhibition of ADCP was observed in this assay at idelalisib concentration at protein binding-adjusted clinical Cmax. At idelalisib Cmax (4200 nM) the EC50 of obinutuzumab-mediated B cell depletion in healthy human whole blood was increased 3 to 5 times, whereas at Cmin (760 nM) idelalisib did not significantly influence obinutuzumab EC50 or maximal B cell depletion.

Conclusions: PI3Kδ inhibition by idelalisib has minimal impact on the immune effector function of obinutuzumab (GA101) and rituximab as measured in NK cell-mediated ADCC, macrophage-mediated ADCP and whole blood B-cell depletion.


Herter:Roche: Employment. Palazzo:Gilead Sciences: Employment. Bacac:Roche: Employment. Grosmaire:Gilead Sciences: Employment. Frey:Gilead Sciences: Employment. Pflanz:Gilead Sciences: Employment. Liu:Gilead Sciences: Employment. Tannheimer:Gilead Sciences: Employment. Umana:Roche: Employment. Klein:Roche: Employment, Equity Ownership, Patents & Royalties. Queva:Gilead Sciences: Employment.

Author notes


Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.