VTX-2337 Is a Novel TLR8 Agonist That Activates NK Cells and Augments ADCC

Original Articles
Clinical Cancer Research
Lu H., Dietsch G. N., Matthews M. A., Yang Y., Ghanekar S., Inokuma M., Suni M., Maino V. C., Henderson K. E., Howbert J. J., Disis M. L., Hershberg R. M.
Description / Abstract: 

PURPOSE:  We aim to characterize VTX-2337, a novel Toll-like receptor (TLR) 8 agonist in clinical development, and investigate its potential to improve monoclonal antibody-based immunotherapy that includes the activation of natural killer (NK) cells.

EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN:  HEK-TLR transfectants were used to compare the selectivity and potency of VTX-2337, imiquimod, CpG ODN2006, and CL075. The ability of VTX-2337 to induce cytokine and chemokine production from human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) and activation of specific immune cell subsets was examined. The potential for VTX-2337 to activate NK cell activity through direct and indirect mechanisms was also investigated. Finally, we tested the potential for VTX-2337 to augment antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC), especially in individuals with low-affinity FcγR3A single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP).

RESULTS:  VTX-2337 selectively activates TLR8 with an EC(50) of about 100 nmol/L and stimulates production of TNFα and interleukin (IL)-12 from monocytes and myeloid dendritic cells (mDC). VTX-2337 stimulates IFNγ production from NK cells and increases the cytotoxicity of NK cells against K562 and ADCC by rituximab and trastuzumab. Effects of VTX-2337 on NK cells were, in part, from direct activation as increased IFNγ production and cytotoxic activity were seen with purified NK cells. Finally, VTX-2337 augments ADCC by rituximab in PBMCs with different FcγR3A genotypes (V/V, V/F, and F/F at position 158).

CONCLUSIONS:  VTX-2337 is a novel small-molecule TLR8 agonist that activates monocytes, DCs, and NK cells. Through the activation of NK cells, it has the potential to augment the effectiveness of monoclonal antibody treatments where a polymorphism in FcγR3A limits clinical efficacy.


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