Modeling combination therapy for breast cancer with BET and immune checkpoint inhibitors.

Lai X, Stiff A, Duggan M, Wesolowski R, Carson WE 3rd, Friedman A
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 115 5534-5539 01/22/2018


CTLA-4 is an immune checkpoint expressed on active anticancer T cells. When it combines with its ligand B7 on dendritic cells, it inhibits the activity of the T cells. The Bromo- and Extra-Terminal (BET) protein family includes proteins that regulate the expression of key oncogenes and antiapoptotic proteins. BET inhibitor (BETi) has been shown to reduce the expression of MYC by suppressing its transcription factors and to down-regulate the hypoxic transcriptome response to VEGF-A. This paper develops a mathematical model of the treatment of cancer by combination therapy of BETi and CTLA-4 inhibitor. The model shows that the two drugs are positively correlated in the sense that the tumor volume decreases as the dose of each of the drugs is increased. The model also considers the effect of the combined therapy on levels of myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) and the overexpression of TNF-α, which may predict gastrointestinal side effects of the combination.

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