Intratumoral Plasmid IL12 Expands CD8

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Publication Title

Clinical cancer research : an official journal of the American Association for Cancer Research


oregon; portland; chiles


PURPOSE: Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is an aggressive disease with limited therapeutic options. Antibodies targeting programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1)/PD-1 ligand 1 (PD-L1) have entered the therapeutic landscape in TNBC, but only a minority of patients benefit. A way to reliably enhance immunogenicity, T-cell infiltration, and predict responsiveness is critically needed.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: Using mouse models of TNBC, we evaluate immune activation and tumor targeting of intratumoral IL12 plasmid followed by electroporation (tavokinogene telseplasmid; Tavo). We further present a single-arm, prospective clinical trial of Tavo monotherapy in patients with treatment refractory, advanced TNBC (OMS-I140). Finally, we expand these findings using publicly available breast cancer and melanoma datasets.

RESULTS: Single-cell RNA sequencing of murine tumors identified a CXCR3 gene signature (CXCR3-GS) following Tavo treatment associated with enhanced antigen presentation, T-cell infiltration and expansion, and PD-1/PD-L1 expression. Assessment of pretreatment and posttreatment tissue from patients confirms enrichment of this CXCR3-GS in tumors from patients that exhibited an enhancement of CD8

CONCLUSIONS: These data show a safe, effective intratumoral therapy that can enhance antigen presentation and recruit CD8 T cells, which are required for the antitumor efficacy. We identify a Tavo treatment-related gene signature associated with improved outcomes and conversion of nonresponsive tumors, potentially even beyond TNBC.

Clinical Institute


Clinical Institute

Women & Children


Pathology & Laboratory Medicine




Earle A. Chiles Research Institute