Sézary syndrome (SS) is a rare form of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma often refractory to treatment. SS is defined as adenopathy, erythroderma with high numbers of atypical T cells. This offers an opportunity for new interventions and perhaps antibody-based therapeutic by virtue of its high expression of the TNFR2 oncogene on the tumor cells and on T-regulatory cells (Tregs). Potent human-directed TNFR2 antagonistic antibodies have been created that preferentially target the TNFR2 oncogene and tumor-infiltrating TNFR2+ Tregs. Here we test the therapeutic potential of TNFR2 antagonists on freshly isolated lymphocytes from patients with Stage IVA SS and from healthy controls. SS patients were on a variety of end-stage multi-drug therapies. Baseline burden Treg/T effector (Teff) ratios and the responsiveness of tumor and infiltrating Tregs to TNFR2 antibody killing was studied. We show dose-escalating concentrations of a dominant TNFR2 antagonistic antibody killed TNFR2+ SS tumor cells and thus restored CD26- subpopulations of lymphocyte cell numbers to normal. The abundant TNFR2+ Tregs of SS subjects are also killed with TNFR2 antagonism. Beneficial and rapid expansion of Teff was observed. The combination of Treg inhibition and Teff expansion brought the high Treg/Teff ratio to normal. Our findings suggest a marked responsiveness of SS tumor cells and Tregs, to targeting with TNFR2 antagonistic antibodies. These results show TNFR2 antibodies are potent and efficacious in vitro.
View details for DOI 10.1038/s41375-018-0292-9
View details for PubMedID 30356161