A major factor impeding the success of numerous therapeutic approaches in cancer is the immunosuppressive nature of the tumor microenvironment (TME). Hence, methods capable of reverting tumor immunosuppression through depletion or reprogramming of myeloid-derived suppressive cells (MDSCs) and regulatory T cells (Tregs) are of great clinical need. Here, we explore NKG2D-Fc as a modality to modulate antitumor immunity through the depletion of immunosuppressive MDSCs and Tregs in the TME. We have generated the NKG2D-Fc fusion protein and characterized its potential to mediate tumor control and overall survival in LL2 and MC38 murine models. Upon treatment of LL2 or MC38 tumor-bearing mice with NKG2D-Fc, we observe significant tumor control and enhanced survival compared to Fc control. When characterizing MDCSs and Tregs from tumor-bearing mice, we observe clear expression of NKG2D-ligand RAE1γ and subsequent binding of NKG2D-Fc fusion protein to both MDSCs and Tregs. Examining the immune profile of mice treated with NKG2D-Fc reveals significant depletion of MDSCs and Tregs in the TME, as well as an increase in NK cells likely due to the reversed suppressive TME. In conclusion, NKG2D-Fc induces antitumor immunity and tumor control through the depletion of MDSCs and Tregs, subsequently providing a niche for the infiltration and expansion of proinflammatory cells, such as NK cells. Strategies capable of modulating the immunosuppressive state in cancer are in high clinical demand. NKG2D-Fc is a simple, single tool capable of depleting both MDSCs and Tregs and should be further investigated as a therapeutic agent for the treatment of cancer.
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