Focal Adhesion Kinase (FAK) inhibitors are currently undergoing clinical testing in combination with anti-PD-1 immune checkpoint inhibitors. However, which patients are most likely to benefit from FAK inhibitors, and what the optimal FAK/immunotherapy combinations are, is currently unknown. We identify that cancer cell expression of the T-cell co-stimulatory ligand CD80 sensitizes murine tumors to a FAK inhibitor and show that CD80 is expressed by human cancer cells originating from both solid epithelial cancers and some hematological malignancies in which FAK inhibitors have not been tested clinically. In the absence of CD80, we identify that targeting alternative T-cell co-stimulatory receptors, in particular OX-40 and 4-1BB in combination with FAK, can drive enhanced anti-tumor immunity and even complete regression of murine tumors. Our findings provide rationale supporting the clinical development of FAK inhibitors in combination with patient selection based on cancer cell CD80 expression, and alternatively with therapies targeting T-cell co-stimulatory pathways.
- T-cell co-stimunation