Molecular Cancer Therapeutics
Macrophages (MΦ) play a critical role in tumor growth, immunosuppression and inhibition of adaptive immune responses in cancer. Hence, targeting signaling pathways in MΦs that promote tumor immunosuppression will provide therapeutic benefit. PI3Kγ has been recently established by our group and others as a novel immuno-oncology target. Herein, we report that a macrophage Syk-PI3K axis drives polarization of immunosuppressive MΦs which establish an immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment in in vivo syngeneic tumor models. Genetic or pharmacological inhibition of Syk and/or PI3Kγ in MΦs promotes a pro-inflammatory MΦphenotype, restores CD8+ T cell activity, destabilizes HIF under hypoxia, and stimulates an antitumor immune response. Assay for Transposase-accessible Chromatin using Sequencing (ATAC-seq) analyses on the bone marrow derived macrophages (BMDMs) show that inhibition of Syk kinase promotes activation and binding of NF-κB motif in SykMC-KO BMDMs, thus stimulating immunostimulatory transcriptional programming in MΦs to suppress tumor growth. Finally, we have developed in silico the "first in class" dual Syk/PI3K inhibitor, SRX3207, for the combinatorial inhibition of Syk and PI3K in one small molecule. This chemotype demonstrates efficacy in multiple tumor models and represents a novel combinatorial approach to activate antitumor immunity.