Adoptive cell therapy in combination with checkpoint inhibitors in ovarian cancer

Anders Handrup Kverneland, Magnus Pedersen, Marie Christine Wulff Westergaard, Morten Nielsen, Troels Holz Borch, Lars Rønn Olsen, Gitte Aasbjerg, Saskia J. Santegoets, Sjoerd H. van der Burg, Katy Milne, Brad H. Nelson, Özcan Met, Marco Donia, Inge Marie Svane*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Immune therapy is a promising field within oncology but has been unsuccessful in ovarian cancer (OC). Still, there is rationale and evidence supporting immune therapy in OC. We investigated the potential for adoptive cell therapy (ACT) from in vitro expanded tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) in combination with checkpoint inhibitors (ICI) and conducted immunological testing of ex vivo expanded TILs (REP-TILs).
Six patients with late-stage metastatic high-grade serous OC were treated with immune therapy consisting of ipilimumab followed by surgery to obtain TILs and infusion of REP-TILs, low-dose IL-2 and nivolumab.
One patient achieved a partial response and 5 others experienced disease stabilization for up to 12 months. Analysis of the REP-TILs with flow- and mass-cytometry show primarily activated and differentiated effector memory T cells. REP-TILs showed in vitro reactivity and expression of inhibitory receptors, such as LAG-3 and PD-1. Furthermore, our data indicate that addition of ipilimumab therapy improves the T cell fold expansion during production, increase the level of CD8 T cell tumor reactivity, and favorably affect the T cell phenotype.
We show that the combination of ICI and ACT is feasible and safe. With one partial response and one long-lasting SD, we demonstrated the potential of ACT in OC.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number22
Pages (from-to)2092-2105
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Adoptive cell therapy
  • Tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Combinational immune therapy
  • Checkpoint inhibitors

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