Purpose: Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) alone or in combination with chemotherapy can improve the limited efficacy of colorectal cancer (CRC) immunotherapy. CX-5461 causes substantial DNA damage and genomic instability and can increase ICIs’ therapeutic efficacies through tumor microenvironment alteration. Results: We analyzed whether CX-5461 enhances ICIs’ effects in CRC and discovered that CX-5461 causes severe DNA damage, including cytosolic dsDNA appearance, in various human and mouse CRC cells. Our bioinformatics analysis predicted CX-5461-based interferon (IFN) signaling pathway activation in these cells, which was verified by the finding that CX-5461 induces IFN-α and IFN-β secretion in these cells. Next, cGAMP, phospho-IRF3, CCL5, and CXCL10 levels exhibited significant posttreatment increases in CRC cells, indicating that CX-5461 activates the cGAS-STING-IFN pathway. CX-5461 also enhanced PD-L1 expression through STAT1 activation. CX-5461 alone inhibited tumor growth and prolonged survival in mice. CX-5461+anti-PD-1 or anti-PD-L1 alone exhibited synergistic growth-suppressive effects against CRC and breast cancer. CX-5461 alone or CX-5461+anti-PD-1 increased cytotoxic T-cell numbers and reduced myeloid-derived suppressor cell numbers in mouse spleens. Conclusions: Therefore, clinically, CX-5461 combined with ICIs for CRC therapy warrants consideration because CX-5461 can turn cold tumors into hot ones.
- Colorectal cancer