Introduction:TIGIT (T-cell immunoglobulin and immunoreceptor tyrosine-based inhibitory motif [ITIM] domain) is an inhibitory immunoreceptor expressed by T and natural killer (NK) cells that is an important regulator of anti-tumor and anti-viral immunity. TIGIT shares its high-affinity ligand PVR (CD155) with the activating receptor CD226 (DNAM-1). We have recently shown that TIGIT blockade, together with PD-L1/PD-1 blockade, provides robust efficacy in syngeneic tumor and chronic viral infection models. Importantly, CD226 blockade abrogates the benefit of TIGIT blockade, suggesting additional benefit of TIGIT blockade through elaboration of CD226-mediated anti-tumor immunity, analogous to CTLA-4/CD28 regulation of T-cell immunity. Whether TIGIT and CD226 are expressed in patients with multiple myeloma (MM) and how TIGIT expression relates to PD-L1/PD-1 expression is unknown. Here we evaluate expression of TIGIT, CD226, PD-1 and PD-L1 in patients with MM to inform novel immunotherapy combinations.

Methods:We performed multi-color flow cytometry (n = 25 patients), and multiplex qRT-PCR (n = 7) on bone marrow specimens from patients with MM to assess expression of TIGIT, CD226, PD-1, and PD-L1 on tumor and immune cells. Cells were stained with fluorescently conjugated monoclonal antibodies to label T cells (CD3, CD4, CD8), NK cells (CD56, CD3), plasma cells (CD38, CD45, CD319, CD56), inhibitory/activating receptors (PD-1, TIGIT, PD-L1, CD226), and an amine-reactive viability dye (7-AAD). Stained and fixed cells were analyzed by flow cytometry using BD FACSCanto™ and BD LSRFortessa™.

Results:TIGIT, CD226 and PD-L1/PD-1 were detectable by flow cytometry in all patients with MM who were tested, with some overlapping and distinct expression patterns. TIGIT was commonly expressed by marrow-infiltrating CD8+ T cells (median, 65% of cells), CD4+ T cells (median, 12%) and NK cells. In contrast, CD226 was more commonly expressed by marrow-infiltrating CD4+ T cells (median, 74%) compared with CD8+ T cells (median, 38%). PD-1 was expressed by marrow-infiltrating CD8+ T cells (median 38%) and CD4+ T cells (median, 16%). TIGIT was co-expressed with PD-1 on CD8+ T cells (67%-97% TIGIT+ among PD-1+), although many PD-1-negative CD8+ T cells also expressed TIGIT (39%-78% of PD-1-negative). PD-L1 was also expressed by CD8+ (median, 23%) and CD4+ (median, 8%) T cells in addition to MM plasma cells (median, 95%), albeit with significantly lower intensity on T cells compared with plasma cells. The expression of TIGIT and PD-L1 mRNA was highly correlated (R2 = 0.80). Analysis of PVR expression will also be presented.

Conclusions: TIGIT, CD226, PD-1, and PD-L1 were commonly expressed in MM bone marrow, but with different patterns. Among CD8+ T cells, the frequency of TIGIT+ T cells was almost twice that of PD-1+ T cells, whereas the majority of CD4+ T cells expressed CD226. TIGIT blockade may complement anti-PD-L1/PD-1 immunotherapy by activating distinct T-cell/NK-cell subsets with synergistic clinical benefit. These results provide new insight into the immune microenvironment of MM and rationale for targeting both the PD-L1/PD-1 interaction and TIGIT in MM.


Yadav:Genentech, Inc.: Employment. Green:Genentech, Inc.: Employment. Ma:Genentech, Inc.: Employment. Robert:Genentech, Inc.: Employment. Glibicky:Makro Technologies Inc.: Employment; Genentech, Inc.: Consultancy. Nakamura:Genentech, Inc.: Employment. Sumiyoshi:Genentech, Inc.: Employment. Meng:Genentech, Inc.: Employment, Equity Ownership. Chu:Genentech Inc.: Employment. Wu:Genentech: Employment. Byon:Genentech, Inc.: Employment. Woodard:Genentech, Inc.: Employment. Adamkewicz:Genentech, Inc.: Employment. Grogan:Genentech, Inc.: Employment. Venstrom:Roche-Genentech: Employment.

Author notes


Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.