Associazione Nazionale Medici Cardiologi Ospedalieri



Combinatorial immune checkpoint blockade increases myocardial secretion of H-FABP, NT-Pro-BNP, NLRP-3 inflammasome, Interleukin-1β and Interleukin-6: biochemical implications in cardio-immuno-oncology

Quagliariello Vincenzo Quagliariello Napoli(NA) – Istituto Nazionale Tumori-IRCCS-Fondazione G. Pascale , Struttura Complessa Cardiologia | Iovine Martina Napoli(NA) – Istituto Nazionale Tumori-IRCCS-Fondazione G. Pascale , Struttura Complessa Cardiologia | Palma Giuseppe Napoli(NA) – Istituto Nazionale Tumori-IRCCS-Fondazione G. Pascale

Background: Immune checkpoint blockade have become an integral part of oncology in recent years. Monoclonal antibodies against CTLA-4 or PD-1 or PDL-1 are the most studied ICIs in randomized clinical trials, however, more recently, an anti-LAG3 monoclonal antibody, Relatlimab, has been approved by FDA for combinatorial treatment with Nivolumab for metastatic melanoma. Moreover, anti PD-L1 blocking agent Atezolizumab is actually under study in association with Ipilimumab as innovative thearpy for metastatic lung cancer. Myocarditis, vasculitis and endothelitis are rarely observed in these patients on monotherapy, however new combination therapies and the use of new targets in immunotherapy could expose patients to more adverse cardiovascular events

Purpose: In this study, we highlighted the cardiotoxic properties of new Combinatorial immune checkpoint blockade therapies.

Methods: Human cardiomyocytes co-cultured with human peripheral blood lymphocytes (hPBMCs) were exposed to monotherapy and combinatorial ICIs (PD-L1 and CTLA-4 or PD-1 and LAG-3 blocking agents, at 100 nM) for 48 h. After treatments, cardiac cell lysis and secretion of biomarkers of cardiotoxicity (H-FABP, NT-Pro-BNP), NLRP3-inflammasome and Interleukin 1 and 6 were determined through colorimetric and enzymatic assays.

Results: Both combinations of immune checkpoint inhibitors exert more potent cardiotoxic side effects compared to monotherapies against human cardiac cells co-cultured with human lymphocytes. LDH release from cardiac cells was 43% higher in PD-L1/CTLA-4 blocking agents, and 35.7% higher in PD-1/LAG-3 blocking agents compared to monotherapies. NT-Pro-BNP and H-FABP, were also strongly increased in combination therapy with respect to monotherapies. NLRP3, IL-6 and IL-1β levels were also increased by PDL-1/CTLA-4 and PD-1/LAG-3 combined blocking agents compared to untreated cells and monotherapies.

Conclusion: Data of the present study, although in vitro, indicate that combinatorial immune checkpoint blockade, induce a pro- inflammatory phenotype, thus indicating that these therapies should be closely monitored by the multidisciplinary team consisting of oncologists, cardiologists and immunologists.