Programmed cell death 1 ligand 1 (PD-L1) is a key driver of tumor-mediated immune suppression, and targeting it with antibodies can induce therapeutic responses. Given the costs and associated toxicity of PD-L1 blockade, alternative therapeutic strategies are needed. Using reverse-phase protein arrays to assess drugs in use or likely to enter trials, we performed a candidate drug screen for inhibitors of PD-L1 expression and identified verteporfin as a possible small-molecule inhibitor. Verteporfin suppressed basal and IFN-induced PD-L1 expression in vitro and in vivo through Golgi-related autophagy and disruption of the STAT1-IRF1-TRIM28 signaling cascade, but did not affect the proinflammatory CIITA-MHC II cascade. Within the tumor microenvironment, verteporfin inhibited PD-L1 expression, which associated with enhanced T-lymphocyte infiltration. Inhibition of chromatin-associated enzyme PARP1 induced PD-L1 expression in high endothelial venules (HEV) in tumors and, when combined with verteporfin, enhanced therapeutic efficacy. Thus, verteporfin effectively targets PD-L1 through transcriptional and posttranslational mechanisms, representing an alternative therapeutic strategy for targeting PD-L1.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research