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

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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.