In the setting of cancer, T cells upregulate coinhibitory molecules that attenuate TCR signaling and lead to the loss of proliferative capacity and effector function. Checkpoint inhibitors currently in clinical use have dramatically improved mortality from melanoma yet are not effective in all patients, suggesting that additional pathways may contribute to suppression of tumor-specific CD8+ T cell responses in melanoma. Here, we show that FcγRIIB, an inhibitory Fc receptor previously thought to be exclusively expressed on B cells and innate immune cells, is upregulated on tumor-infiltrating effector CD8+ T cells in an experimental melanoma model and expressed on CD8+ T cells in patients with melanoma. Genetic deficiency of Fcgr2b resulted in enhanced tumor-infiltrating CD8+ T cell responses and significantly reduced tumor burden. Adoptive transfer experiments of Fcgr2b–/– tumor antigen-specific T cells into FcγRIIB-sufficient hosts resulted in an increased frequency of tumor-infiltrating CD8+ T cells with greater effector function. Finally, FcγRIIB was expressed on CD8+ memory T cells isolated from patients with melanoma. These data illuminate a cell-intrinsic role for the FcγRIIB checkpoint in suppressing tumor-infiltrating CD8+ T cells.
Clara R. Farley, Anna B. Morris, Marvi Tariq, Kelsey B. Bennion, Sayalee Potdar, Ragini Kudchadkar, Michael C. Lowe, Mandy L. Ford
One of the most common malignancies affecting adults with Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) is the malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor (MPNST), an aggressive and often fatal sarcoma which commonly arises from benign plexiform neurofibromas. Despite advances in our understanding of MPNST pathobiology, there are few effective therapeutic options, and no investigational agents have proven success in clinical trials. To further understand the genomic heterogeneity of MPNST, and to generate a preclinical platform that encompasses this heterogeneity, we developed a collection of NF1-MPNST patient-derived xenografts (PDX). These PDX were compared to the primary tumors from which they were derived using copy number analysis, whole-exome and RNA sequencing. We identified chromosome 8 gain as a recurrent genomic event in MPNST and validated its occurrence by FISH in the PDX and parental tumors, in a validation cohort, and by single cell sequencing in the PDX. Finally, we show that chromosome 8 gain is associated with inferior overall survival in soft tissue sarcomas. Taken together, these data suggest that chromosome 8 gain is a critical event in MPNST pathogenesis, and may account for the aggressive nature and poor outcomes in this sarcoma subtype.
Carina A. Dehner, Chang In Moon, Xiyuan Zhang, Zhaohe Zhou, Christopher A. Miller, Hua Xu, Xiaodan Wan, Kuangying Yang, R. Jay Mashl, Sara J.C. Gosline, Yuxi Wang, Xiaochun Zhang, Abigail Godec, Paul A. Jones, Sonika Dahiya, Himanshi Bhatia, Tina Primeau, Shunqiang Li, Kai Pollard, Fausto J. Rodriguez, Li Ding, Christine A. Pratilas, Jack F. Shern, Angela C. Hirbe
To unequivocally address their unresolved intimate structures in blood, we scrutinized the size distribution of circulating cell-free DNA (cfDNA) using whole genome sequencing (WGS) from both double- and single-strand DNA library preparations (DSP and SSP), as well as using Q-PCR. The size profile in healthy individuals was remarkably homogenous when using either DSP sequencing (DSP-S) or SSP sequencing (SSP-S). Our findings also confirmed that cfDNA size profile shows a characteristic nucleosome fragmentation pattern. Overall, our data indicate that the proportion of cfDNA inserted in mono-nucleosomes, di-nucleosomes and chromatin of higher molecular size (>1,000bp) can be estimated as 67.5-80%, 9.4-11.5% and 8.5-21.0%, respectively. Thus, our data on WGS (N=7) and Q-PCR (N=116 taken together suggests that only a minor proportion of cfDNA is bigger than that existing in mono-nucleosome or transcription factor complexes circulating in blood. Although DNA on single chromatosomes or mono-nucleosomes is detectable, our data revealed that cfDNA is highly nicked (97-98%) on those structures, which appear to be subjected to continuous nuclease activity in the bloodstream. Fragments analysis allows the distinction of cfDNA of different origins: first, cfDNA size profile analysis may be useful in cfDNA extract quality control; second, subtle but reliable differences between healthy metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) patients and healthy individuals vary with the proportion of malignant cell-derived cfDNA in plasma extracts, pointing to a higher degree of cfDNA fragmentation and nuclease activity in samples with high malignant cell cfDNA content. Size profile analysis, or ‘fragmentomics’, has shown significant potential to improve diagnostics and cancer screening.
Cynthia Sanchez, Benoit Roch, Thilbault Mazard, Philippe Blache, Zahra Al Amir Dache, Brice Pastor, Ekaterina Pisareva, Rita Tanos, Alain R. Thierry
One of the most fundamental and challenging questions in the cancer field is how immunity is transformed from tumor immunosurveillance to tumor-promoting inflammation. Here, we identify the tumor suppressor PDZ-LIM domain-containing protein 2 (PDLIM2) as a checkpoint of alveolar macrophages (AMs) important for lung tumor suppression. During lung tumorigenesis, PDLIM2 expression in AMs is down-regulated by reactive oxygen species (ROS)-activated transcription repressor BTB and CNC homology 1 (BACH1). PDLIM2 down-regulation leads to constitutive activation of the transcription factor signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3), driving AM pro-tumorigenic polarization/activation and differentiation from monocytes attracted from the circulation to suppress cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) and promote lung cancer. PDLIM2 down-regulation also decreases AM phagocytosis. These findings establish ROS/BACH1/PDLIM2/STAT3 as a signaling pathway driving AMs for lung tumor promotion.
Liwen Li, Fan Sun, Lei Han, Xujie Liu, Yadong Xiao, Alyssa D. Gregory, Steven D. Shapiro, Gutian Xiao, Zhaoxia Qu
Cancer is caused primarily by genomic alterations resulting in deregulation of gene regulatory circuits in key growth, apoptosis or DNA repair pathways. Multiple genes associated with the initiation and development of tumors are also regulated at the level of mRNA decay, through the recruitment of RNA binding proteins to AU-rich elements (AREs) located in their 3’-untranslated regions. One of these ARE-binding proteins, tristetraprolin (TTP, encoded by Zfp36) is consistently dysregulated in many human malignancies. Herein, using regulated overexpression or conditional ablation in the context of chemical cutaneous carcinogenesis, we show that TTP represents a critical regulator of skin tumorigenesis. We provide evidence that TTP controls both tumor-associated inflammation and key oncogenic pathways in neoplastic epidermal cells. We identify Areg as a direct target of TTP in keratinocytes, and show that EGFR signaling potentially contributes to exacerbated tumor formation. Finally, single-cell RNA-Sequencing analysis indicates that ZFP36 is downregulated in human malignant keratinocytes. We conclude that TTP expression by epidermal cells plays a major role in the control of skin tumorigenesis.
Assiya Assabban, Ingrid Dubois-Vedrenne, Laurye Van Maele, Rosalba Salcedo, Brittany L. Snyder, Lecong Zhou, Abdulkader Azouz, Bérengère de Toeuf, Gaëlle Lapouge, Caroline La, Maxime Melchior, Muriel Nguyen, Séverine Thomas, Si Fan Wu, Wenqian Hu, Véronique Kruys, Cédric Blanpain, Giorgio Trinchieri, Cyril Gueydan, Perry J. Blackshear, Stanislas Goriely
Agonistic anti-CD40 monoclonal antibody (mAb) therapy in combination with chemotherapy (chemoimmunotherapy) shows promise for the treatment of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA). To gain insight into immunological mechanisms of response and resistance to chemoimmunotherapy, we analyzed blood samples from patients (n=22) with advanced PDA treated with an anti-CD40 mAb (CP-870,893) in combination with gemcitabine. We found a stereotyped cellular response to chemoimmunotherapy characterized by transient B cell, CD56+CD11c+HLA-DR+CD141+ cell and monocyte depletion and CD4+ T cell activation. However, these cellular pharmacodynamics did not associate with outcomes. In contrast, we identified an inflammatory network in the peripheral blood consisting of neutrophils, cytokines (IL-6 and IL-8) and acute phase reactants (CRP and SAA) that was associated with outcomes. Furthermore, monocytes from patients with elevated plasma IL-6 and IL-8 showed distinct transcriptional profiles, including upregulation of CCR2 and GAS6; genes associated with regulation of leukocyte chemotaxis and response to inflammation. Patients with systemic inflammation, defined by neutrophil-lymphocyte ratio (NLR) >3.1, had a shorter median OS (5.8 vs 12.3mo; p=0.0105) as compared to patients with NLR <3.1. Taken together, our findings identify systemic inflammation as a potential resistance mechanism to a CD40-based chemoimmunotherapy and suggest biomarkers for future studies.
Max M. Wattenberg, Veronica M. Herrera, Michael A. Giannone, Whitney L. Gladney, Erica L. Carpenter, Gregory L. Beatty
To date, there are no inhibitors that directly and specifically target activated STAT3 and c-Myc in the clinic. Although peptide-based inhibitors can selectively block activated targets, their clinical usage is limited because of low cell penetration and/or serum stability. Here, we generated cell-penetrating acetylated (acet.) STAT3, c-Myc, and Gp130 targeting peptides by attaching phosphorothioated (PS) polymer backbone to peptides. The cell-penetrating peptides efficiently penetrated cells and inhibited activation of the intended targets and their downstream genes. Locally or systemically treating tumor-bearing mice with PS-acet.-STAT3 peptide at low concentrations effectively blocked STAT3 in vivo, resulting in significant antitumor effects in 2 human xenograft models. Moreover, PS-acet.-STAT3 peptide penetrated and activated splenic CD8+ T cells in vitro. Treating immune-competent mice bearing mouse melanoma with PS-acet.-STAT3 peptide inhibited STAT3 in tumor-infiltrating T cells, downregulating tumor-infiltrating CD4+ T regulatory cells while activating CD8+ T effector cells. Similarly, systemic injections of the cell-penetrating c-Myc and Gp130 peptides prevented pancreatic tumor growth and induced antitumor immune responses. Taken together, we have developed therapeutic peptides that effectively and specifically block challenging cancer targets, resulting in antitumor effects through both direct tumor cell killing and indirectly through antitumor immune responses.
Maryam Aftabizadeh, Yi-Jia Li, Qianqian Zhao, Chunyan Zhang, Nigus Ambaye, Jieun Song, Toshikage Nagao, Christoph Lahtz, Marwan Fakih, David K. Ann, Hua Yu, Andreas Herrmann
TAK-243 is a first-in-class inhibitor of ubiquitin-like modifier activating enzyme 1 (UBA1) that catalyzes ubiquitin activation, the first step in the ubiquitylation cascade. Based on its preclinical efficacy and tolerability, TAK-243 has been advanced to phase 1 clinical trials in advanced malignancies. Nonetheless, the determinants of TAK-243 sensitivity remain largely unknown. Here, we conducted a genome-wide CRISPR/Cas9 knockout screen in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cells in the presence of TAK-243 to identify genes essential for TAK-243 action. We identified BEN domain-containing protein 3 (BEND3), a transcriptional repressor and a regulator of chromatin organization, as the top gene whose knockout confers resistance to TAK-243 in vitro and in vivo. Knockout of BEND3 dampened TAK-243 effects on ubiquitylation, proteotoxic stress, and DNA damage response. BEND3 knockout upregulated the ABC efflux transporter breast cancer resistance protein (BCRP; ABCG2), and reduced the intracellular levels of TAK-243. TAK-243 sensitivity correlated with BCRP expression in cancer cell lines of different origin. Moreover, chemical inhibition and genetic knockdown of BCRP sensitized intrinsically resistant high-BCRP cells to TAK-243. Thus, our data demonstrate that BEND3 regulates the expression of BCRP for which TAK-243 is a substrate. Moreover, BCRP expression could serve as a predictor of TAK-243 sensitivity.
Samir H. Barghout, Ahmed Aman, Kazem Nouri, Zachary Blatman, Karen Arevalo, Geethu E. Thomas, Neil MacLean, Rose Hurren, Troy Ketela, Mehakpreet Saini, Moustafa Abohawya, Taira Kiyota, Rima Al-Awar, Aaron D. Schimmer
Triple negative breast cancers (TNBC) lack effective targeted therapies and cytotoxic chemotherapies remain the standard of care for this subtype. Owing to their increased genomic instability, PARP inhibitors (PARPi) are being tested against TNBCs. In particular, clinical trials are now interrogating the efficacy of PARPi combined with chemotherapies. Intriguingly, while response rates are low, cohorts of patients do respond. Moreover, recent studies suggest that an increase in levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) may sensitize cells to PARPi. This represents a therapeutic opportunity, as several chemotherapies, including doxorubicin, function in part by producing ROS. We previously demonstrated that the p66ShcA adaptor protein is variably expressed in TNBCs. We now show that in response to therapy-induced stress, p66ShcA stimulates ROS production, which, in turn, potentiates synergy between doxorubicin/PARPi combination therapy in TNBCs. This p66ShcA-induced sensitivity relies on the accumulation of oxidative damage in TNBCs, rather than genomic instability, to potentiate cell death. These findings suggest that increasing the expression of p66ShcA protein levels in TNBCs represents a rational approach to bolster the synergy between PARPi and doxorubicin.
Eduardo Cepeda Cañedo, Stephanie Totten, Ryuhjin Ahn, Paul Savage, Deanna MacNeil, Jesse Hudson, Chantal Autexier, Genevieve Deblois, Morag Park, Michael Witcher, Josie Ursini-Siegel
Multiple myeloma (MM) is characterized by an accumulation of malignant plasma cells (PCs) within the bone marrow (BM). The BM microenvironment supports survival of the malignant cells and is comprised of cellular fractions that foster myeloma development and progression by suppression of the immune response. Despite major progress in understanding the biology and pathophysiology of MM, this disease is still incurable and requires aggressive treatment with significant side effects. CD84 is a self-binding immuno-receptor belonging to the signaling lymphocyte activating molecule (SLAM) family. Previously, we showed that CD84 bridges between chronic lymphocytic leukemia cells and their microenvironment, and regulates T cell function. In the current study, we investigated the role of CD84 in MM. Our results show that MM cells express low levels of CD84. However, these cells secrete the cytokine macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF), which induces CD84 expression on cells in their microenvironment. Its activation leads to an elevation of expression of genes regulating differentiation to M/G- myeloid derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) and upregulation of PD-L1 expression on MDSCs, which together suppress T cell function. Downregulation of CD84 or its blocking reduces MDSC accumulation, resulting in elevated T cell activity and reduced tumor load. Our data suggest that CD84 might serve as a novel therapeutic target in MM.
Hadas Lewinsky, Emine Gulsen Gunes, Keren David, Lihi Radomir, Matthias P. Kramer, Bianca Pellegrino, Michal Perpinial, Jing Chen, Ting-fang He, Anthony Mansour, Kun-Yu Teng, Supriyo Bhattacharya, Enrico Caserta, Estelle Troadec, Peter P. Lee, Mingye Feng, Jonathan J. Keats, Amrita Krishnan, Michael Rosenzweig, Jianhua Yu, Michael A. Caligiuri, Yosef Cohen, Olga Shvetz, Shirly Becker-Herman, Flavia Pichiorri, Steven Rosen, Idit Shachar
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