Immunotherapy for cervical cancer should target high-risk human papil-lomavirus types 16 and 18, which cause 50% and 20% of cervical cancers, respec-tively. Here, we describe the construction and characterization of the pBI-11 DNA vaccine via the addition of codon-optimized human papillomavirus 18 (HPV18) E7 and HPV16 and 18 E6 genes to the HPV16 E7-targeted DNA vaccine pNGVL4a-SigE7 (detox)HSP70 (DNA vaccine pBI-1). Codon optimization of the HPV16/18 E6/E7 genes in pBI-11 improved fusion protein expression compared to that in DNA vaccine pBI-10.1 that utilized the native viral sequences fused 3' to a signal sequence and 5' to the HSP70 gene of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Intramuscular vaccination of mice with pBI-11 DNA better induced HPV antigen-specific CD8+ T cell immune responses than pBI-10.1 DNA. Furthermore, intramuscular vaccination with pBI-11 DNA generated stronger therapeutic responses for C57BL/6 mice bearing HPV16 E6/E7-express-ing TC-1 tumors. The HPV16/18 antigen-specific T cell-mediated immune responses generated by pBI-11 DNA vaccination were further enhanced by boosting with tis-sue-antigen HPV vaccine (TA-HPV). Combination of the pBI-11 DNA and TA-HPV boost vaccination with PD-1 antibody blockade significantly improved the control of TC-1 tumors and extended the survival of the mice. Finally, repeat vaccination with clinical-grade pBI-11 with or without clinical-grade TA-HPV was well tolerated in vaccinated mice. These preclinical studies suggest that the pBI-11 DNA vaccine may be used with TA-HPV in a heterologous prime-boost strategy to enhance HPV 16/18 E6/ E7-specific CD8+ T cell responses, either alone or in combination with immune checkpoint blockade, to control HPV16/18-associated tumors. Our data serve as an important foundation for future clinical translation. IMPORTANCE Persistent expression of high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) E6 and E7 is an obligate driver for several human malignancies, including cervical cancer, wherein HPV16 and HPV18 are the most common types. PD-1 antibody immunother-apy helps a subset of cervical cancer patients, and its efficacy might be improved by combination with active vaccination against E6 and/or E7. For patients with HPV16+ cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grade 2/3 (CIN2/3), the precursor of cervical cancer, intramuscular vaccination with a DNA vaccine targeting HPV16 E7 and then a recombi-nant vaccinia virus expressing HPV16/18 E6-E7 fusion proteins (TA-HPV) was safe, and half of the patients cleared their lesions in a small study (NCT00788164). Here, we sought to improve upon this therapeutic approach by developing a new DNA vaccine that targets E6 and E7 of HPV16 and HPV18 for administration prior to a TA-HPV booster vaccination and for application against cervical cancer in combination with a PD-1-blocking antibody.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||19|
|State||Published - Jan 1 2021|
- DNA vaccine
- HPV-associated cancer
- Human papillomavirus
ASJC Scopus subject areas