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T cells that recognize tumor antigens are crucial for mounting antitumor immune responses. Induction of antitumor T cells in immunogenic tumors depends on STING, the intracellular innate immune receptor for cyclic guanosine monophosphate-adenosine monophosphate (cGAMP) and related cyclic dinucleotides (CDNs). However, the optimal way to leverage STING activation in nonimmunogenic tumors is still unclear. Here, we show that cGAMP delivery by intratumoral injection of virus-like particles (cGAMP-VLP) led to differentiation of circulating tumor-specific T cells, decreased tumor regulatory T cells (Tregs), and antitumoral responses that synergized with PD1 blockade. By contrast, intratumoral injection of the synthetic CDN ADU-S100 led to tumor necrosis and systemic T cell activation but simultaneously depleted immune cells from injected tumors and induced minimal priming of circulating tumor-specific T cells. The antitumor effects of cGAMP-VLP required type 1 conventional dendritic cells (cDC1), whereas ADU-S100 eliminated cDC1 from injected tumors. cGAMP-VLP preferentially targeted STING in dendritic cells at a 1000-fold smaller dose than ADU-S100. Subcutaneous administration of cGAMP-VLP showed synergy when combined with PD1 blockade or a tumor Treg-depleting antibody to elicit systemic tumor-specific T cells and antitumor activity, leading to complete and durable tumor eradication in the case of tumor Treg depletion. These findings show that cell targeting of STING stimulation shapes the antitumor T cell response and identify a therapeutic strategy to enhance T cell-targeted immunotherapy.


Bakhos Jneid, Aurore Bochnakian, Caroline Hoffmann, Fabien Delisle, Emeline Djacoto, Philémon Sirven, Jordan Denizeau, Christine Sedlik, Yohan Gerber-Ferder, Frédéric Fiore, Ramazan Akyol, Carine Brousse, Robert Kramer, Ian Walters, Sylvain Carlioz, Hélène Salmon, Bernard Malissen, Marc Dalod, Eliane Piaggio, Nicolas Manel. Selective STING stimulation in dendritic cells primes antitumor T cell responses. Science immunology. 2023 Jan 13;8(79):eabn6612

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PMID: 36638189

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