• Authors: Ruzicka M. et al.
  • Year: 2020
  • Journal: Leukemia 34 1017-1026
  • Applications: in vivo / dsRNA / in vivo-jetPEI


Retinoic acid-inducible gene-I (RIG-I) is a cytoplasmic immune receptor sensing viral RNA. It triggers the release of type I interferons (IFN) and proinflammatory cytokines inducing an adaptive cellular immune response. We investigated the therapeutic potential of systemic RIG-I activation by short 5'-triphosphate-modified RNA (ppp-RNA) for the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in the syngeneic murine C1498 AML tumor model. ppp-RNA treatment significantly reduced tumor burden, delayed disease onset and led to complete remission including immunological memory formation in a substantial proportion of animals. Therapy-induced tumor rejection was dependent on CD4+ and CD8+ T cells, but not on NK or B cells, and relied on intact IFN and mitochondrial antiviral signaling protein (MAVS) signaling in the host. Interestingly, ppp-RNA treatment induced programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1) expression on AML cells and established therapeutic sensitivity to anti-PD-1 checkpoint blockade in vivo. In immune-reconstituted humanized mice, ppp-RNA treatment reduced the number of patient-derived xenografted (PDX) AML cells in blood and bone marrow while concomitantly enhancing CD3+ T cell counts in the respective tissues. Due to its ability to establish a state of full remission and immunological memory, our findings show that ppp-RNA treatment is a promising strategy for the immunotherapy of AML.