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Metronomic capecitabine as an immune modulator in glioblastoma patients reduces myeloid-derived suppressor cells

Peereboom, D.M., Alban, T.J., Grabowski, M.M. et al.

Background: Myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) are elevated in glioblastoma (GBM) patient circulation, present in tumor tissue, and associated with poor prognosis. While low-dose chemotherapy reduces MDSCs in preclinical models, the use of this strategy to reduce MDSCs in GBM patients has yet to be evaluated.

Methods: A phase 0/1 dose-escalation clinical trial was conducted in recurrent glioblastoma patients treated 5-7 days prior to surgery with low-dose chemotherapy via capecitabine followed by concomitant low-dose capecitabine and bevacizumab. Clinical outcomes, including progression-free and overall survival, were measured, along with safety and toxicity profiles. Over the treatment time course, circulating MDSC levels were measured by multi-parameter flow cytometry, and tumor tissue immune profiles were assessed via mass cytometry time-of-flight.

Results: A total of 11 patients were enrolled across escalating dose cohorts of 150, 300, and 450 mg bid. No serious adverse events related to the drug combination were observed. Compared to pre-treatment baseline, circulating MDSCs were found to be higher after surgery in the 150 mg treatment arm and lower in the 300 mg and 450 mg treatment arms. Increased cytotoxic immune infiltration was observed after low-dose capecitabine compared to untreated GBM patients in the 300 mg and 450 mg treatment arms.

Conclusions: Low-dose, metronomic capecitabine in combination with bevacizumab is well tolerated in GBM patients and was associated with a reduction in circulating MDSC levels and an increase in cytotoxic immune infiltration into the tumor microenvironment.

Citation

Peereboom, D.M., Alban, T.J., Grabowski, M.M. et al. "Metronomic capecitabine as an immune modulator in glioblastoma patients reduces myeloid-derived suppressor cells" JCI Insight (2019): 130,748