Although programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1)/ programmed cell death-ligand protein 1 (PD-L1) checkpoint blockade immunotherapy demonstrates great promise in cancer treatment, poor infiltration of T cells resulted from tumor immunosuppressive microenvironment (TIME) and insufficient accumulation of anti-PD-L1 (αPD-L1) in tumor sites diminish the immune response. Herein, we reported a drug-loaded microbubble delivery system to overcome these obstacles and enhance PD-L1 blockade immunotherapy.
Docetaxel (DTX) and imiquimod (R837)-loaded microbubbles (RD@MBs) were synthesized via a typical rotary evaporation method combined with mechanical oscillation. The targeted release of drugs was achieved by using the directional "bursting" capability of ultrasound-targeted microbubble destruction (UTMD) technology. The antitumor immune response by RD@MBs combining αPD-L1 were evaluated on 4T1 and CT26 tumor models.
The dying tumor cells induced by DTX release tumor-associated antigens (TAAs), together with R837, promoted the activation, proliferation and recruitment of T cells. Besides, UTMD technology and DTX enhanced the accumulation of αPD-L1 in tumor sites. Moreover, RD@MBs remolded TIME, including the polarization of M2-phenotype tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) to M1-phenotype, and reduction of myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs). The RD@MBs + αPD-L1 synergistic therapy not only effectively inhibited the growth of primary tumors, but also significantly inhibited the mimic distant tumors as well as lung metastases.