Tryptophan Metabolism Contributes to Radiation-Induced Immune Checkpoint Reactivation in Glioblastoma.

Pravin Kesarwani, Beaumont Health
Antony Prabhu, Beaumont Health
Shiva Kant, Beaumont Health
Praveen Kumar, Beaumont Health
Stewart F. Graham, Beaumont Health
Katie L. Buelow, Beaumont Health
George D. Wilson, Beaumont Health


Purpose: Immune checkpoint inhibitors designed to revert tumor-induced immunosuppression have emerged as potent anticancer therapies. Tryptophan metabolism represents an immune checkpoint, and targeting this pathway's rate-limiting enzyme IDO1 is actively being investigated clinically. Here, we studied the intermediary metabolism of tryptophan metabolism in glioblastoma and evaluated the activity of the IDO1 inhibitor GDC-0919, both alone and in combination with radiation (RT).

Experimental Design: LC/GC-MS and expression profiling was performed for metabolomic and genomic analyses of patient-derived glioma. Immunocompetent mice were injected orthotopically with genetically engineered murine glioma cells and treated with GDC-0919 alone or combined with RT. Flow cytometry was performed on isolated tumors to determine immune consequences of individual treatments.

Results: Integrated cross-platform analyses coupling global metabolomic and gene expression profiling identified aberrant tryptophan metabolism as a metabolic node specific to the mesenchymal and classical subtypes of glioblastoma. GDC-0919 demonstrated potent inhibition of this node and effectively crossed the blood-brain barrier. Although GDC-0919 as a single agent did not demonstrate antitumor activity, it had a strong potential for enhancing RT response in glioblastoma, which was further augmented with a hypofractionated regimen. RT response in glioblastoma involves immune stimulation, reflected by increases in activated and cytotoxic T cells, which was balanced by immune checkpoint reactivation, reflected by an increase in IDO1 expression and regulatory T cells (Treg). GDC-0919 mitigated RT-induced Tregs and enhanced T-cell activation.

Conclusions: Tryptophan metabolism represents a metabolic node in glioblastoma, and combining RT with IDO1 inhibition enhances therapeutic response by mitigating RT-induced immunosuppression.