Surgical debulking promotes recruitment of macrophages and triggers glioblastoma phagocytosis in combination with CD47 blocking immunotherapy
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Surgical resection is a standard component of treatment in the clinical management of patients with glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). However, experimental therapies are rarely investigated in the context of tumor debulking in preclinical models. Here, a surgical debulking GBM xenograft model was developed in nude rats, and was used in combination with CD47 blocking immunotherapy, a novel treatment strategy that triggers phagocytosis of tumor cells by macrophages in diverse cancer types including GBM. Orthotopic patient–derived xenograft tumors expressing CD47 were resected at 4 weeks after implantation and immediately thereafter treated with anti-CD47 or control antibodies injected into the cavity. Debulking prolonged survival (median survival, 68.5 vs 42.5 days, debulking and non-debulking survival times, respectively; n = 6 animals/group; P = 0.0005). Survival was further improved in animals that underwent combination treatment with anti-CD47 mAbs (median survival, 81.5 days vs 69 days, debulking + anti-CD47 vs debulking + control IgG, respectively; P = 0.0007). Immunohistochemistical staining of tumor sections revealed an increase in recruitment of cells positive for CD68, a marker for macrophages/immune cell types, to the surgical site (50% vs 10%, debulking vs non-debulking, respectively). Finally, analysis of tumor protein lysates on antibody microarrays demonstrated an increase in pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as CXCL10, and a decrease in angiogenic proteins in debulking + anti-CD47 vs non-debulking + IgG tumors. The results indicated that surgical resection combined with anti-CD47 blocking immunotherapy promoted an inflammatory response and prolonged survival in animals, and is therefore an attractive strategy for clinical translation.