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The chemokine receptor, CXCR4, is involved in cancer growth, invasion, and metastasis. Several promising CXCR4 antagonists have been shown to halt tumor metastasis in preclinical studies, and clinical trials evaluating the effectiveness of these agents in patients with cancer are ongoing. However, the impact of targeting CXCR4 specifically on immune cells is not clear. Here, we demonstrate that genetic deletion of CXCR4 in myeloid cells (CXCR4) enhances the antitumor immune response, resulting in significantly reduced melanoma tumor growth. Moreover, CXCR4 mice exhibited slowed tumor progression compared with CXCR4 mice in an inducible melanocyte mouse model. The percentage of Fas ligand (FasL)-expressing myeloid cells was reduced in CXCR4 mice as compared with myeloid cells from CXCR4 mice. In contrast, there was an increased percentage of natural killer (NK) cells expressing FasL in tumors growing in CXCR4 mice. NK cells from CXCR4 mice also exhibited increased tumor cell killing capacity , based on clearance of NK-sensitive Yac-1 cells. NK cell-mediated killing of Yac-1 cells occurred in a FasL-dependent manner, which was partially dependent upon the presence of CXCR4 neutrophils. Furthermore, enhanced NK cell activity in CXCR4 mice was also associated with increased production of IL18 by specific leukocyte subpopulations. These data suggest that CXCR4-mediated signals from myeloid cells suppress NK cell-mediated tumor surveillance and thereby enhance tumor growth. Systemic delivery of a peptide antagonist of CXCR4 to tumor-bearing CXCR4 mice resulted in enhanced NK-cell activation and reduced tumor growth, supporting potential clinical implications for CXCR4 antagonism in some cancers. .
©2018 American Association for Cancer Research.
The class III PI3K Vacuolar protein sorting 34 (Vps34) plays a role in both canonical and noncanonical autophagy, key processes that control the presentation of antigens by dendritic cells (DCs) to naive T lymphocytes. We generated DC-specific -deficient mice to assess the contribution of Vps34 to DC functions. We found that DCs from these animals have a partially activated phenotype, spontaneously produce cytokines, and exhibit enhanced activity of the classic MHC class I and class II antigen-presentation pathways. Surprisingly, these animals displayed a defect in the homeostatic maintenance of splenic CD8α DCs and in the capacity of these cells to cross-present cell corpse-associated antigens to MHC class I-restricted T cells, a property that was associated with defective expression of the T-cell Ig mucin (TIM)-4 receptor. Importantly, mice deficient in the Vps34-associated protein Rubicon, which is critical for a noncanonical form of autophagy called "Light-chain 3 (LC3)-associated phagocytosis" (LAP), lacked such defects. Finally, consistent with their defect in the cross-presentation of apoptotic cells, DC-specific -deficient animals developed increased metastases in response to challenge with B16 melanoma cells. Collectively, our studies have revealed a critical role of Vps34 in the regulation of CD8α DC homeostasis and in the capacity of these cells to process and present antigens associated with apoptotic cells to MHC class I-restricted T cells. Our findings also have important implications for the development of small-molecule inhibitors of Vps34 for therapeutic purposes.
The IL-17/IL-17R axis has controversial roles in cancer, which may be explained by tumor-specific results. Here, we describe a novel molecular mechanism underlying IL-17RC-controlled tumor-specific proliferation. Triggered by IL-17RC knockdown (KD), B16 melanoma and 4T1 carcinoma cells inversely altered homeostatic tumor proliferation and tumor growth in vitro and in vivo. In contrast to the existing dogma that IL-17RC-dependent signaling activates the JNK pathway, IL-17RC KD in both tumor cell lines caused aberrant expression and activation of different JNK isoforms along with markedly diminished levels of the ubiquitin-editing enzyme A20. We demonstrated that differential up-regulation of JNK1 and JNK2 in the two tumor cell lines was responsible for the reciprocal regulation of c-Jun activity and tumor-specific proliferation. Furthermore, we showed that A20 reconstitution of IL-17RCKD clones with expression of full-length A20, but not a truncation-mutant, reversed aberrant JNK1/JNK2 activities and tumor-specific proliferation. Collectively, our study reveals a critical role of IL-17RC in maintaining baseline A20 production and a novel role of the IL-17RC-A20 axis in controlling JNK isoform-dependent tumor-specific homeostatic proliferation.
Therapeutics that induce cancer cell senescence can block cell proliferation and promote immune rejection. However, the risk of tumor relapse due to senescence escape may remain high due to the long lifespan of senescent cells that are not cleared. Here, we show how combining a senescence-inducing inhibitor of the mitotic kinase Aurora A (AURKA) with an MDM2 antagonist activates p53 in senescent tumors harboring wild-type 53. In the model studied, this effect is accompanied by proliferation arrest, mitochondrial depolarization, apoptosis, and immune clearance of cancer cells by antitumor leukocytes in a manner reliant upon Ccl5, Ccl1, and Cxcl9. The AURKA/MDM2 combination therapy shows adequate bioavailability and low toxicity to the host. Moreover, the prominent response of patient-derived melanoma tumors to coadministered MDM2 and AURKA inhibitors offers a sound rationale for clinical evaluation. Taken together, our work provides a preclinical proof of concept for a combination treatment that leverages both senescence and immune surveillance to therapeutic ends.
©2014 American Association for Cancer Research.
Myeloid cells are capable of promoting or eradicating tumor cells and the nodal functions that contribute to their different roles are still obscure. Here, we show that mice with myeloid-specific genetic loss of the NF-κB pathway regulatory kinase IKKβ exhibit more rapid growth of cutaneous and lung melanoma tumors. In a BRAF(V600E/PTEN(-/-)) allograft model, IKKβ loss in macrophages reduced recruitment of myeloid cells into the tumor, lowered expression of MHC class II molecules, and enhanced production of the chemokine CCL11, thereby negatively regulating dendritic-cell maturation. Elevated serum and tissue levels of CCL11 mediated suppression of dendritic-cell differentiation/maturation within the tumor microenvironment, skewing it toward a Th2 immune response and impairing CD8(+) T cell-mediated tumor cell lysis. Depleting macrophages or CD8(+) T cells in mice with wild-type IKKβ myeloid cells enhanced tumor growth, where the myeloid cell response was used to mediate antitumor immunity against melanoma tumors (with less dependency on a CD8(+) T-cell response). In contrast, myeloid cells deficient in IKKβ were compromised in tumor cell lysis, based on their reduced ability to phagocytize and digest tumor cells. Thus, mice with continuous IKKβ signaling in myeloid-lineage cells (IKKβ(CA)) exhibited enhanced antitumor immunity and reduced melanoma outgrowth. Collectively, our results illuminate new mechanisms through which NF-κB signaling in myeloid cells promotes innate tumor surveillance.
©2014 American Association for Cancer Research.
MerTK, a receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) of the TYRO3/AXL/MerTK family, is expressed in myeloid lineage cells in which it acts to suppress proinflammatory cytokines following ingestion of apoptotic material. Using syngeneic mouse models of breast cancer, melanoma, and colon cancer, we found that tumors grew slowly and were poorly metastatic in MerTK-/- mice. Transplantation of MerTK-/- bone marrow, but not wild-type bone marrow, into lethally irradiated MMTV-PyVmT mice (a model of metastatic breast cancer) decreased tumor growth and altered cytokine production by tumor CD11b+ cells. Although MerTK expression was not required for tumor infiltration by leukocytes, MerTK-/- leukocytes exhibited lower tumor cell-induced expression of wound healing cytokines, e.g., IL-10 and growth arrest-specific 6 (GAS6), and enhanced expression of acute inflammatory cytokines, e.g., IL-12 and IL-6. Intratumoral CD8+ T lymphocyte numbers were higher and lymphocyte proliferation was increased in tumor-bearing MerTK-/- mice compared with tumor-bearing wild-type mice. Antibody-mediated CD8+ T lymphocyte depletion restored tumor growth in MerTK-/- mice. These data demonstrate that MerTK signaling in tumor-associated CD11b+ leukocytes promotes tumor growth by dampening acute inflammatory cytokines while inducing wound healing cytokines. These results suggest that inhibition of MerTK in the tumor microenvironment may have clinical benefit, stimulating antitumor immune responses or enhancing immunotherapeutic strategies.
Oncogene-induced senescence can provide a protective mechanism against tumour progression. However, production of cytokines and growth factors by senescent cells may contribute to tumour development. Thus, it is unclear whether induction of senescence represents a viable therapeutic approach. Here, using a mouse model with orthotopic implantation of metastatic melanoma tumours taken from 19 patients, we observed that targeting aurora kinases with MLN8054/MLN8237 impaired mitosis, induced senescence and markedly blocked proliferation in patient tumour implants. Importantly, when a subset of tumour-bearing mice were monitored for tumour progression after pausing MLN8054 treatment, 50% of the tumours did not progress over a 12-month period. Mechanistic analyses revealed that inhibition of aurora kinases induced polyploidy and the ATM/Chk2 DNA damage response, which mediated senescence and a NF-κB-related, senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP). Blockade of IKKβ/NF-κB led to reversal of MLN8237-induced senescence and SASP. Results demonstrate that removal of senescent tumour cells by infiltrating myeloid cells is crucial for inhibition of tumour re-growth. Altogether, these data demonstrate that induction of senescence, coupled with immune surveillance, can limit melanoma growth.
Copyright © 2013 The Authors. Published by John Wiley and Sons, Ltd on behalf of EMBO.
CD40, a member of the tumor necrosis factor receptor superfamily, is broadly expressed on antigen-presenting cells and other cells, including fibroblasts and endothelial cells. Binding of CD40 and its natural ligand CD40L (CD154) triggers cytokine secretion, and increased expression of costimulatory molecules is required for T-cell activation and proliferation. However, to our knowledge, the use of agonistic antibodies to CD40 to boost adoptively transferred T cells in vivo has not been investigated. The purpose of this study was to determine whether anti-CD40 monoclonal antibody (mAb) in combination with interleukin (IL)-2 could improve the efficacy of in vitro-activated T cells to enhance antitumor activity. Mice bearing B16 melanoma tumors expressing the gp100 tumor antigen were treated with cultured, activated T cells transgenic for a T-cell receptor specifically recognizing gp100, with or without anti-CD40 mAb. In this model, the combination of anti-CD40 mAb with IL-2 led to expansion of adoptively transferred T cells and induced a more robust antitumor response. Furthermore, the expression of CD40 on bone marrow-derived cells and the presence of CD80/CD86 in the host were required for the expansion of adoptively transferred T cells. The use of neutralizing mAb to IL-12 provided direct evidence that enhanced IL-12 secretion induced by anti-CD40 mAb was crucial for the expansion of adoptively transferred T cells. Collectively, these findings provide a rationale to evaluate the potential application of anti-CD40 mAb in adoptive T-cell therapy for cancer.
Nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) inducing kinase (NIK) is a MAP3K that regulates the activation of NF-κB. NIK is often highly expressed in tumor cells, including melanoma, but the significance of this in melanoma progression has been unclear. Tissue microarray analysis of NIK expression reveals that dysplastic nevi (n=22), primary (n=15) and metastatic melanoma (n=13) lesions showed a statistically significant elevation in NIK expression when compared with benign nevi (n=30). Moreover, when short hairpin RNA techniques were used to knock-down NIK, the resultant NIK-depleted melanoma cell lines exhibited decreased proliferation, increased apoptosis, delayed cell cycle progression and reduced tumor growth in a mouse xenograft model. As expected, when NIK was depleted there was decreased activation of the non-canonical NF-κB pathway, whereas canonical NF-κB activation remained intact. NIK depletion also resulted in reduced expression of genes that contribute to tumor growth, including CXCR4, c-MYC and c-MET, and pro-survival factors such as BCL2 and survivin. These changes in gene expression are not fully explained by the attenuation of the non-canonical NF-κB pathway. Shown here for the first time is the demonstration that NIK modulates β-catenin-mediated transcription to promote expression of survivin. NIK-depleted melanoma cells exhibited downregulation of survivin as well as other β-catenin regulated genes including c-MYC, c-MET and CCND2. These data indicate that NIK mediates both β-catenin and NF-κB regulated transcription to modulate melanoma survival and growth. Thus, NIK may be a promising therapeutic target for melanoma.
Tumor progression is associated with the release of signaling substances from the primary tumor into the bloodstream. Tumor-derived cytokines are known to promote the mobilization and the recruitment of cells from the bone marrow, including endothelial progenitor cells (EPC). Here, we examined whether such paracrine influence could also influence the capacity of EPC to interfere with circulating metastatic cells. We therefore consecutively injected EPC prestimulated by tumor-conditioned medium (EPC-CM) and luciferase-expressing B16 melanoma cells to mice. A net decrease in metastases spreading (vs. nonstimulated EPC) led us to carry out a 2-dimensional difference gel electrophoresis (2D-DIGE) proteomic study to identify possible mediators of EPC-driven protection. Among 33 proteins exhibiting significant changes in expression, secreted protein, acidic and rich in cysteine (SPARC) presented the highest induction after EPC exposure to CM. We then showed that contrary to control EPC, SPARC-silenced EPC were not able to reduce the extent of metastases when injected with B16 melanoma cells. Using adhesion tests and the hanging drop assay, we further documented that cell-cell interactions between EPC-CM and melanoma cells were promoted in a SPARC-dependent manner. This interaction led to the engulfment of melanoma cells by EPC-CM, a process prevented by SPARC silencing and mimicked by recombinant SPARC. Finally, we showed that contrary to melanoma cells, the prometastatic human breast cancer cell line MDA-MB231-D3H2 reduced SPARC expression in human EPC and stimulated metastases spreading. Our findings unravel the influence of tumor cells on EPC phenotypes through a SPARC-driven accentuation of macrophagic capacity associated with limitations to metastatic spread.