Differential Effects of Anti-PD-1/PD-L1 Checkpoint Inhibitors on Adhesion Molecules and Cytokine Secretion by THP-1 Monocytes


BACKGROUND/AIM: Immune checkpoint inhibitors have improved the treatment regimen for human cancers in recent years. Particularly, inhibitors of the checkpoint molecules PD-1/PD-L1 have emerged as promising therapeutic treatments by preventing T-cell anergy and exhaustion. However, the impact of different anti-PD-1/PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitors on human monocytes remains elusive. MATERIALS AND METHODS: In this study, using the human monocyte leukemia cell line THP-1 as a model, we investigated the influence of different therapeutic anti-PD-1/PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitors on monocytic adhesion molecule expression and cytokine secretion. THP-1 monocytes were treated with the anti-PD-1 checkpoint inhibitors Nivolumab and Pembrolizumab and anti-PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitors Atezolizumab and Durvalumab. Cytokine expression patterns were evaluated using cytokine arrays and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA) and analysis of adhesion molecules was addressed using flow cytometry. RESULTS: Our data show an overall moderate apoptosis induction upon checkpoint inhibitor treatment and significantly reduced expression levels of adhesion molecules CD29, CD49d, and CX3CR1 in response to anti-PD-1 treatment. Cytokine screening revealed overall decreased secretion levels of insulin-like growth factor binding protein 2 (IGFBP2), CD147 (basigin) and CD31 (PECAM-1) as well as elevated levels of interleukin 5 (IL-5) and interferon gamma (IFNγ) in response to checkpoint inhibitor treatment. CONCLUSION: Our data indicate differential effects of anti-PD-1/PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitors on THP-1 monocytes, both by specific anti-PD-1/PD-L1 binding and unspecific antibody IgG isotype recognition. Further investigations on peripheral blood monocyte subsets in terms of their expansion and function upon checkpoint inhibitor therapy are required to better understand the individual immunological balances in cancer patients in long-term observational studies.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAnticancer Research
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)2445-2454
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 01.06.2023

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Infection and Inflammation Research (ZIEL)


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