Azacitidine augments expansion of regulatory T cells after allogeneic stem cell transplantation in patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML).
Goodyear OC., Dennis M., Jilani NY., Loke J., Siddique S., Ryan G., Nunnick J., Khanum R., Raghavan M., Cook M., Snowden JA., Griffiths M., Russell N., Yin J., Crawley C., Cook G., Vyas P., Moss P., Malladi R., Craddock CF.
Strategies that augment a GVL effect without increasing the risk of GVHD are required to improve the outcome after allogeneic stem cell transplantation (SCT). Azacitidine (AZA) up-regulates the expression of tumor Ags on leukemic blasts in vitro and expands the numbers of immunomodulatory T regulatory cells (Tregs) in animal models. Reasoning that AZA might selectively augment a GVL effect, we studied the immunologic sequelae of AZA administration after allogeneic SCT. Twenty-seven patients who had undergone a reduced intensity allogeneic transplantation for acute myeloid leukemia were treated with monthly courses of AZA, and CD8(+) T-cell responses to candidate tumor Ags and circulating Tregs were measured. AZA after transplantation was well tolerated, and its administration was associated with a low incidence of GVHD. Administration of AZA increased the number of Tregs within the first 3 months after transplantation compared with a control population (P = .0127). AZA administration also induced a cytotoxic CD8(+) T-cell response to several tumor Ags, including melanoma-associated Ag 1, B melanoma antigen 1, and Wilm tumor Ag 1. These data support the further examination of AZA after transplantation as a mechanism of augmenting a GVL effect without a concomitant increase in GVHD.