Tumor-derived GDF-15 blocks LFA-1 dependent T cell recruitment and suppresses responses to anti-PD-1 treatment

Markus Haake, Beatrice Haack, Tina Schäfer, Patrick N. Harter, Greta Mattavelli, Patrick Eiring, Neha Vashist, Florian Wedekink, Sabrina Genssler, Birgitt Fischer, Julia Dahlhoff, Fatemeh Mokhtari, Anastasia Kuzkina, Marij J.P. Welters, Tamara M. Benz, Lena Sorger, Vincent Thiemann, Giovanni Almanzar, Martina Selle, Klara TheinJacob Späth, Maria Cecilia Gonzalez, Carmen Reitinger, Andrea Ipsen-Escobedo, Kilian Wistuba-Hamprecht, Kristin Eichler, Katharina Filipski, Pia S. Zeiner, Rudi Beschorner, Renske Goedemans, Falk Hagen Gogolla, Hubert Hackl, Rogier W. Rooswinkel, Alexander Thiem, Paula Romer Roche, Hemant Joshi, Dirk Pühringer, Achim Wöckel, Joachim E. Diessner, Manfred Rüdiger, Eugen Leo, Phil F. Cheng, Mitchell P. Levesque, Matthias Goebeler, Markus Sauer, Falk Nimmerjahn, Christine Schuberth-Wagner, Stefanie von Felten, Michel Mittelbronn, Matthias Mehling, Andreas Beilhack, Sjoerd H. van der Burg, Angela Riedel, Benjamin Weide, Reinhard Dummer, Jörg Wischhusen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Immune checkpoint blockade therapy is beneficial and even curative for some cancer patients. However, the majority don't respond to immune therapy. Across different tumor types, pre-existing T cell infiltrates predict response to checkpoint-based immunotherapy. Based on in vitro pharmacological studies, mouse models and analyses of human melanoma patients, we show that the cytokine GDF-15 impairs LFA-1/β2-integrin-mediated adhesion of T cells to activated endothelial cells, which is a pre-requisite of T cell extravasation. In melanoma patients, GDF-15 serum levels strongly correlate with failure of PD-1-based immune checkpoint blockade therapy. Neutralization of GDF-15 improves both T cell trafficking and therapy efficiency in murine tumor models. Thus GDF-15, beside its known role in cancer-related anorexia and cachexia, emerges as a regulator of T cell extravasation into the tumor microenvironment, which provides an even stronger rationale for therapeutic anti-GDF-15 antibody development.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4253
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jul 2023


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