Anti-pancreatic tumor efficacy of a Listeria-based, Annexin A2-targeting immunotherapy in combination with anti-PD-1 antibodies

Victoria M. Kim, Alex B. Blair, Peter Lauer, Kelly Foley, Xu Che, Kevin Soares, Tao Xia, Stephen T. Muth, Jennifer Kleponis, Todd D. Armstrong, Christopher L. Wolfgang, Elizabeth M. Jaffee, Dirk Brockstedt, Lei Zheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Background: Immune checkpoint inhibitors are not effective for pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) as single agents. Vaccine therapy may sensitize PDACs to checkpoint inhibitor treatments. Annexin A2 (ANXA2) is a pro-metastasis protein, previously identified as a relevant PDAC antigen that is expressed by a GM-CSF-secreting allogenic whole pancreatic tumor cell vaccine (GVAX) to induce an anti-ANXA2 antibody response in patients with PDAC. We hypothesized that an ANXA2-targeting vaccine approach not only provokes an immune response but also mounts anti-tumor effects. Methods: We developed a Listeria-based, ANXA2-targeting cancer immunotherapy (Lm-ANXA2) and investigated its effectiveness within two murine models of PDAC. Results: We show that Lm-ANXA2 prolonged the survival in a transplant model of mouse PDACs. More importantly, priming with the Lm-ANXA2 treatment prior to administration of anti-PD-1 antibodies increased cure rates in the implanted PDAC model and resulted in objective tumor responses and prolonged survival in the genetically engineered spontaneous PDAC model. In tumors treated with Lm-ANXA2 followed by anti-PD-1 antibody, the T cells specific to ANXA2 had significantly increased INFγexpression. Conclusions: For the first time, a listeria vaccine-based immunotherapy was shown to be able to induce a tumor antigen-specific T cell response within the tumor microenvironment of a "cold" tumor such as PDAC and sensitize the tumor to checkpoint inhibitor therapy. Moreover, this combination immunotherapy led to objective tumor responses and survival benefit in the mice with spontaneously developed PDAC tumors. Therefore, our study supports developing Lm-ANXA2 as a therapeutic agent in combination with anti-PD-1 antibody for PDAC treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number132
JournalJournal for immunotherapy of cancer
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 22 2019


  • Annexin A2
  • Anti-PD-1 antibody
  • CD8 T cells
  • Immunotherapy
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • interferon-gamma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Oncology
  • Pharmacology
  • Cancer Research


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