Sialic Acids on Tumor Cells Modulate IgA Therapy by Neutrophils via Inhibitory Receptors Siglec-7 and Siglec-9

Immunotherapy with targeted therapeutic antibodies is often ineffective in long-term responses in cancer patients due to resistance mechanisms such as overexpression of checkpoint molecules. Similar to T lymphocytes, myeloid immune cells express inhibitory checkpoint receptors that interact with ligands overexpressed on cancer cells, contributing to treatment resistance. While CD47/SIRPα-axis inhibitors in combination with IgA therapy have shown promise, complete tumor eradication remains a challenge, indicating the presence of other checkpoints. We investigated hypersialylation on the tumor cell surface as a potential myeloid checkpoint and found that hypersialylated cancer cells inhibit neutrophil-mediated tumor killing through interactions with sialic acid-binding immunoglobulin-like lectins (Siglecs). To enhance antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) using IgA as therapeutic, we explored strategies to disrupt the interaction between tumor cell sialoglycans and Siglecs expressed on neutrophils. We identified Siglec-9 as the primary inhibitory receptor, with Siglec-7 also playing a role to a lesser extent. Blocking Siglec-9 enhanced IgA-mediated ADCC by neutrophils. Concurrent expression of multiple checkpoint ligands necessitated a multi-checkpoint-blocking approach. In certain cancer cell lines, combining CD47 blockade with desialylation improved IgA-mediated ADCC, effectively overcoming resistance that remained when blocking only one checkpoint interaction. Our findings suggest that a combination of CD47 blockade and desialylation may be necessary to optimize cancer immunotherapy, considering the upregulation of checkpoint molecules by tumor cells to evade immune surveillance.


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