Immune characterization of pre-clinical murine models of neuroblastoma

Emily R. Webb, Silvia Lanati, Carol Wareham, Alistair Easton, Stuart N. Dunn, Tatyana Inzhelevskaya, Freja M. Sadler, Sonya James, Margaret Ashton-Key, Mark S. Cragg, Stephen A. Beers, Juliet C. Gray*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Immunotherapy offers a potentially less toxic, more tumor-specific treatment for neuroblastoma than conventional cytotoxic therapies. Accurate and reproducible immune competent preclinical models are key to understanding mechanisms of action, interactions with other therapies and mechanisms of resistance to immunotherapy. Here we characterized the tumor and splenic microenvironment of two syngeneic subcutaneous (NXS2 and 9464D), and a spontaneous transgenic (TH-MYCN) murine model of neuroblastoma, comparing histological features and immune infiltrates to previously published data on human neuroblastoma. Histological sections of frozen tissues were stained by immunohistochemistry and immunofluorescence for immune cell markers and tumor architecture. Tissues were dissociated by enzymatic digestion, stained with panels of antibodies to detect and quantify cancer cells, along with lymphocytic and myeloid infiltration by flow cytometry. Finally, we tested TH-MYCN mice as a feasible model for immunotherapy, using prior treatment with cyclophosphamide to create a therapeutic window of minimal residual disease to favor host immune development. Immune infiltration differed significantly between all the models. TH-MYCN tumors were found to resemble immune infiltration in human tumors more closely than the subcutaneous models, alongside similar GD2 and MHC class I expression. Finally, TH-MYCN transgenic mice were administered cyclophosphamide alone or in combination with an anti-GD2 or anti-4-1BB monoclonal antibody, which resulted in increase in survival in both combination therapies. The TH-MYCN transgenic mouse is a promising in vivo model for testing immunotherapy compounds and combination therapy in a preclinical setting.
Original languageEnglish
Article number16695
Number of pages17
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 7 Oct 2020


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