High macrophage infiltration in cancer is associated with reduced survival in animal models and in patients. This reflects a shift in the macrophage response from a tumor-suppressive to tumor-supportive program governed by transcriptional events regulated by the inflammatory milieu. Although several transcription factors are known to drive a prometastatic program, those that govern an antimetastatic program are less understood. IFN regulatory factor-8 (IRF8) is integral for macrophage responses against infections. Using a genetic loss-of-function approach, we tested the hypothesis that IRF8 expression in macrophages governs their capacity to inhibit metastasis. We found that: (a) metastasis was significantly increased in mice with IRF8-deficient macrophages; (b) IRF8-deficient macrophages displayed a program enriched for genes associated with metastasis; and (c) lower IRF8 expression correlated with reduced survival in human breast and lung cancer, as well as melanoma, with high or low macrophage infiltration. Thus, a macrophagehiIRF8hi signature was more favorable than a macrophagehiIRF8lo signature. The same held true for a macrophageloIRF8hi vs. a macrophageloIRF8lo signature. These data suggest that incorporating IRF8 expression levels within a broader macrophage signature or profile strengthens prognostic merit. Overall, to our knowledge, our findings reveal a previously unrecognized role for IRF8 in macrophage biology to control metastasis or predict outcome.
Danielle Y.F. Twum, Sean H. Colligan, Nicholas C. Hoffend, Eriko Katsuta, Eduardo Cortes Gomez, Mary Lynn Hensen, Mukund Seshadri, Michael J. Nemeth, Scott I. Abrams
The routes by which antibody-based therapeutics reach malignant cells are poorly defined. Tofacitinib, an FDA-approved JAK inhibitor, reduced tumor-associated inflammatory cells and allowed increased delivery of antibody-based agents to malignant cells. Alone, tofacitinib exhibited no antitumor activity, but combinations with immunotoxins or an antibody drug conjugate resulted in increased anti-tumor responses. Quantification using flow cytometry revealed that antibody-based agents accumulated in malignant cells at higher percentages following tofacitinib treatment. Profiling of tofacitinib-treated tumor-bearing mice indicated that cytokine transcripts and various proteins involved in chemotaxis were reduced compared to vehicle-treated mice. Histological analysis revealed significant changes to the composition of the tumor microenvironment, with reductions in monocytes, macrophages and neutrophils. Tumor-associated inflammatory cells contributed to non-target uptake of antibody-based therapeutics; with mice treated with tofacitinib showing decreased accumulation of therapeutics in intratumoral inflammatory cells and increased delivery to malignant cells. Present findings serve as a rationale for conducting trials where short-term treatments with tofacitinib could be administered in combination with antibody-based therapies.
Nathan Simon, Antonella Antignani, Stephen M. Hewitt, Massimo Gadina, Christine Alewine, David FitzGerald
miR-155 has recently emerged as an important promoter of antitumor immunity through its functions in T lymphocytes. However, the impact of T cell expressed miR-155 on immune cell dynamics in solid tumors remains unclear. In the present study, we used single-cell RNA-sequencing to define the CD45+ immune cell populations at different timepoints within B16F10 murine melanoma tumors growing in either wild-type or miR-155 T cell conditional knockout (TCKO) mice. miR-155 was required for optimal T cell activation and reinforced the T cell response at the expense of infiltrating myeloid cells. Further, myeloid cells from tumors growing in TCKO mice were defined by an increase in wound healing genes and a decreased IFN-γ response gene signature. Finally, we found that miR-155 expression predicted a favorable outcome in human melanoma patients and was associated with a strong immune signature. Moreover, gene expression analysis of the Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) data revealed that miR-155 expression also correlates with an immune-enriched subtype in 29 other human solid tumors. Together, our study provides an unprecedented analysis of the cell types and gene expression signatures of immune cells within experimental melanoma tumors and elucidates the role of miR-155 in coordinating antitumor immune responses in mammalian tumors.
H. Atakan Ekiz, Thomas B. Huffaker, Allie H. Grossmann, W. Zac Stephens, Matthew A. Williams, June L. Round, Ryan M. O'Connell
Molecular profiling of prostate cancer with liquid biopsies such as circulating tumor cells (CTC) and cell-free nucleic acid analysis yields informative yet distinct datasets. Additional insights may be gained by simultaneously interrogating multiple liquid biopsy components to construct a more comprehensive molecular disease profile. We conducted an initial proof of principle study aimed at piloting this multi-parametric approach. Peripheral blood samples from men with metastatic castrate resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) were analyzed simultaneously for CTC enumeration, single cell copy number variation, CTC DNA and matched cell-free DNA mutations, and plasma cell-free RNA levels of androgen receptor (AR) and AR splice variant (AR-V7). In addition, liquid biopsies were compared with matched tumor profiles when available, and a second liquid biopsy was drawn and analyzed at disease progression in a subset of patients. In this manner, multiparametric liquid biopsy profiles were successfully generated for each patient and time point, demonstrating the feasibility of this approach and highlighting shared as well as unique cancer-relevant alterations. With further refinement and validation in large cohorts, multi-parametric liquid biopsies can optimally integrate disparate but clinically informative datasets and maximize their utility for molecularly directed, real-time patient management.
Emmanuelle Hodara, Gareth Morrison, Alexander T. Cunha, Daniel Zainfeld, Tong Xu, Yucheng Xu, Paul W. Dempsey, Paul C. Pagano, Farideh Bischoff, Aditi Khurana, Bonik S. Koo, Marc J. Ting, Philip D. Cotter, Matthew W. Moore, Shelly Gunn, Joshua Usher, Shahrooz Rabizadeh, Peter Danenberg, Kathleen Danenberg, John Carpten, Tanya B. Dorff, David I. Quinn, Amir Goldkorn
Although the importance of the tumor immune environment for the modulation of tumorigenesis and tumor regression is becoming increasingly clear, most of the research related to tumor-immune therapies has focused on adaptive immune cells, while the role and regulation of innate leukocytes such as neutrophils remains controversial and less defined. Here we observed that the selective deletion of Tollip, a key innate immune-cell modulator, led to enhanced tumor immune surveillance in a chemically induced colorectal cancer model. Tollip-deficient neutrophils significantly elevated T cell activation through enhanced expression of the costimulatory molecule CD80, and reduced expression of the inhibitory molecule PD-L1. Mechanistically, Tollip deficiency increased STAT5 and reduced STAT1, the transcription factors responsible for the expression of CD80 and PD-L1, respectively. Through adoptive transfer, we demonstrate that Tollip-deficient neutrophils, but not Tollip-deficient monocytes, are sufficient to drive enhanced tumor immune surveillance and reduced colorectal cancer burden in vivo. Our data reveal a strategy for the reprogramming of neutrophil functions conducive for the enhancement of the antitumor immune environment.
Yao Zhang, Christina Lee, Shuo Geng, Liwu Li
Tumor radioresistance leading to local therapy failure remains a major obstacle for successful treatment of high-grade glioma. We hypothesized that distinct radiobiological features of particle therapy with carbon ions may circumvent glioma radioresistance. We demonstrate that carbon irradiation (CIR) efficiently eradicates radioresistant patient-derived glioma stem cells (GSCs), leading to growth inhibition and prolonged survival. The impact of CIR at the tumor–stroma interface was further investigated in 2 syngeneic mouse and 2 orthotopic GSC xenograft models. Intriguingly, tumor regressions and long-term local controls were observed at doses greater than or equal to 15-Gy CIR. Fractionated CIR further prolonged survival. The enhanced relative biological effectiveness of CIR in vivo was attributed to its potent antiangiogenic effects and eradication of radioresistant hypoxic tumor cells. Blockade of the HIF1-α/stromal cell–derived factor 1/CXCR4 axis by CIR reduced the recruitment of microglia and myeloid-derived suppressor cells (CD11b+Gr1+). Consequently, CIR abrogated M2-like immune polarization and enhanced the influx of CD8+ cells, generating an immunopermissive niche. We report that radiotherapy with carbon ions could surmount several central glioma resistance mechanisms by eradicating hypoxic and stem cell–like tumor cells, as well as modulating the glioma niche toward an antiangiogenic and less immunosuppressive state. Conclusively, potentially novel rationales for CIR in conquering glioma radioresistance are provided.
Sara Chiblak, Zili Tang, Dieter Lemke, Maximilian Knoll, Ivana Dokic, Rolf Warta, Mahmoud Moustafa, Walter Mier, Stephan Brons, Carmen Rapp, Stefan Muschal, Philipp Seidel, Martin Bendzsus, Sebastian Adeberg, Otmar D. Wiestler, Uwe Haberkorn, Jürgen Debus, Christel Herold-Mende, Wolfgang Wick, Amir Abdollahi
Liver cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer-related mortality and is distinguished by a relative paucity of chemotherapy options. It has been hypothesized that intratumor genetic heterogeneity may contribute to the high failure rate of chemotherapy. Here, we evaluated functional heterogeneity in a cohort of primary human liver cancer organoid lines. Each primary human liver cancer surgical specimen was used to generate multiple cancer organoid lines, obtained from distinct regions of the tumor. A total of 27 liver cancer lines were established and tested with 129 cancer drugs, generating 3,483 cell survival data points. We found a rich intratumor, functional (drug response) heterogeneity in our liver cancer patients. Furthermore, we established that the majority of drugs were either ineffective, or effective only in select organoid lines. In contrast, we found that a subset of drugs appeared pan-effective, displaying at least moderate activity in the majority of these cancer organoid lines. These drugs, which are FDA approved for indications other than liver cancers, deserve further consideration as either systemic or local therapeutics. Of note, molecular profiles, obtained for a reduced sample set, did not correlate with the drug response heterogeneity of liver cancer organoid lines. Taken together, these findings lay the foundation for in-depth studies of pan-effective drugs, as well as for functional personalized oncology approaches. Lastly, these functional studies demonstrate the utility of cancer organoid drug testing as part of a drug discovery pipeline.
Ling Li, Hildur Knutsdottir, Ken Hui, Matthew J. Weiss, Jin He, Benjamin Philosophe, Andrew M. Cameron, Christopher L. Wolfgang, Timothy M. Pawlik, Gabriel Ghiaur, Andrew J. Ewald, Esteban Mezey, Joel S. Bader, Florin M. Selaru
Primary prostate cancer lesions are clonally heterogeneous and often arise independently. In contrast, metastases were reported to share a monoclonal background. Because prostate cancer mortality is the consequence of distant metastases, prevention of metastatic outgrowth by primary tumor ablation is the main focus of treatment for localized disease. Focal therapy is targeted ablation of the primary index lesion, but it is unclear whether remaining primary lesions metastasize at a later stage. In this study, we compared copy number aberration profiles of primary prostate cancer lesions with matching pelvic lymph node metastases of 30 patients to establish clonality between a lymph node metastasis and multiple primary lesions within the same patient. Interestingly, in 23.3% of the cases, the regional metastasis was not clonally linked to the index primary lesion. These findings suggest that focal ablation of only the index lesion is potentially an undertreatment of a significant proportion of prostate cancer patients.
Jeroen Kneppers, Oscar Krijgsman, Monique Melis, Jeroen de Jong, Daniel S. Peeper, Elise Bekers, Henk G. van der Poel, Wilbert Zwart, Andries M. Bergman
Medulloblastoma (MB) is the most prevalent malignant brain tumor in children, accounting for 20% of all childhood brain tumors. The molecular profiling of MB into 4 major subgroups (WNT, SHH, Grp3, and Grp4) emphasizes the heterogeneity of MB and opens paths in which treatments may be targeted to molecularly aggressive and distinct tumors. Current therapeutic strategies for Group 3 MB are challenging and can be accompanied by long-term side effects from treatment. The involvement of altered epigenetic machinery in neoplastic transformation in MB has become more evident. Thus, we performed an epigenomic RNAi and chemical screen and identified SETD8/PRE-SET7/KMT5a as a critical player in maintaining proliferation and cell survival of MB cells. We have found that inhibition of SETD8 effects the migration/invasive ability of MB cells. SETD8 alters H4K20me chromatin occupancy at key genes involved in tumor invasiveness and pluripotency. Interestingly, these results link the aggressive and metastatic behavior of MYC-driven MB with SETD8 activity. Based on our results, we suggest that SETD8 has a critical role mediating Group 3 MB tumorigenesis. Establishing a role for SETD8 as a factor in MYC-driven MB has potential to lead to more effective therapies needed to improve outcomes in high-risk patients.
Bethany Veo, Etienne Danis, Angela Pierce, Ismail Sola, Dong Wang, Nicholas K. Foreman, Jian Jin, Anqi Ma, Natalie Serkova, Sujatha Venkataraman, Rajeev Vibhakar
Smoking has historically been recognized as a negative prognostic factor in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). This study aimed to assess the mutational differences between heavy smokers (>20 pack years) and never smokers among the HNSCC patients within The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA). Single nucleotide variation and copy number aberration differences between heavy smokers and never smokers were compared within human papillomavirus–positive (HPV-positive) (n = 67) and HPV-negative (n = 431) TCGA cohorts with HNSCC, and the impact of these mutations on survival were assessed. No genes were differentially mutated between smoking and never-smoking patients with HPV-positive tumors. By contrast, in HPV-negative tumors, NSD1 and COL1A11 were found to be more frequently mutated in heavy smokers, while CASP8 was more frequently altered in never smokers. HPV-negative patients with NSD1 mutations experienced significantly improved overall survival compared with NSD1 WT patients. This improved prognosis was validated in an independent cohort of 77 oral cavity cancer patients and a meta-analysis that included 2 additional data sets (688 total patients, hazard ratio for death 0.44, 95% CI, 0.30–0.65). NSD1 mutations are more common in HPV-negative heavy smokers, define a cohort with favorable prognosis, and may represent a clinically useful biomarker to guide treatment deintensification for HPV-negative patients.
Farhad Ghasemi, Stephenie D. Prokopec, Danielle MacNeil, Neil Mundi, Steven F. Gameiro, Christopher Howlett, William Stecho, Paul Plantinga, Nicole Pinto, Kara M. Ruicci, Mohammed Imran Khan, John Yoo, Kevin Fung, Axel Sahovaler, David A. Palma, Eric Winquist, Joe S. Mymryk, John W. Barrett, Paul C. Boutros, Anthony C. Nichols
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