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The molecular and genetic events that contribute to the genesis and progression of cutaneous malignant melanoma are poorly understood, attributable in large part to the different genetic alterations accompanying tumorigenesis. Inhibitor of kinase 4a (INK4a) is often inactivated in families with hereditary melanoma. Loss of INK4a/alternate reading frame (ARF) in mice is associated with increased incidence of other tumors such as lymphoma and fibrosarcoma. However, the incidence of melanoma in INK4a/ARF-deficient mice is very low. Our previous studies have revealed that the CXC chemokine, CXCL1, is overexpressed in human malignant melanoma cells and is linked to transformation of immortalized murine melanocytes. To study the direct role of CXCL1 on the genesis of primary melanoma lesions, transgenic mouse lines were established that express the murine homologue of CXCL1, murine macrophage inflammatory protein 2 (MIP-2), under the transcriptional control of the tyrosinase promoter/enhancer (Tyr-MIP-2) in the mice that were deficient or not deficient for INK4a/ARF. Strong MIP-2 immunoreactivity was associated with pigmented melanocytes in the hyperproliferative hair follicles in the Tyr-MIP-2 transgenic mice, and the level of MIP-2 expression was similar in both INK4a/ARF heterozygous or wild-type mice. After treatment of mice with 7,12-dimethylbenz(a)anthracene, cutaneous melanomas formed in 12% (17/145) of the Tyr-MIP-2 transgene-positive mice, whereas only 2% (3/146) of the Tyr-MIP-2 transgene-negative mice developed melanoma. When melanocytes cultured from MIP-2 transgenic mice null for INK4a/ARF were transplanted into nude mice, melanoma formation occurred in 83% (10/12) of the cases with a latency period of 3 months. However, no melanoma lesions arose in nude mice injected with INK4a/ARF -/- melanocytes, which did not express the MIP-2 transgene. Our results demonstrate that constitutive expression of MIP-2 in INK4a/ARF-deficient melanocytes facilitates formation of malignant melanoma.
Valpha14 NKT cells produce large amounts of IFN-gamma and IL-4 upon recognition of their specific ligand alpha-galactosylceramide (alpha-GalCer) by their invariant TCR. We show here that NKT cells constitutively express CD28, and that blockade of CD28-CD80/CD86 interactions by anti-CD80 and anti-CD86 mAbs inhibits the alpha-GalCer-induced IFN-gamma and IL-4 production by splenic Valpha14 NKT cells. On the other, the blockade of CD40-CD154 interactions by anti-CD154 mAb inhibited alpha-GalCer-induced IFN-gamma production, but not IL-4 production. Consistent with these findings, CD28-deficient mice showed impaired IFN-gamma and IL-4 production in response to alpha-GalCer stimulation in vitro and in vivo, whereas production of IFN-gamma but not IL-4 was impaired in CD40-deficient mice. Moreover, alpha-GalCer-induced Th1-type responses, represented by enhanced cytotoxic activity of splenic or hepatic mononuclear cells and antimetastatic effect, were impaired in both CD28-deficient mice and CD40-deficient mice. In contrast, alpha-GalCer-induced Th2-type responses, represented by serum IgE and IgG1 elevation, were impaired in the absence of the CD28 costimulatory pathway but not in the absence of the CD40 costimulatory pathway. These results indicate that CD28-CD80/CD86 and CD40-CD154 costimulatory pathways differentially contribute to the regulation of Th1 and Th2 functions of Valpha14 NKT cells in vivo.
Certain refractory neoplasms, such as glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) and melanoma, demonstrate a resistant tumor phenotype in vivo. We observed that these refractory tumor models (GBM and melanoma) contain blood vessels that are relatively resistant to radiotherapy. To determine whether the vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2 (Flk-1/KDR) may be a therapeutic target to improve the effects of radiotherapy, we used the soluble extracellular component of Flk-1 (ExFlk), which blocks vascular endothelial growth factor binding to Flk-1 receptor expressed on the tumor endothelium. Both sFlk-1 and the Flk-1-specifc inhibitor SU5416 eliminated the resistance phenotype in GBM and melanoma microvasculature as determined by both the vascular window and Doppler blood flow methods. Human microendothelial cells and human umbilical vein endothelial cells showed minimal radiation-induced apoptosis. The Flk-1 antagonists sFlk-1 and SU5416 reverted these cell models to apoptosis-prone phenotype. Flk-1 antagonists also reverted GBM and melanoma tumor models to radiation-sensitive phenotype after treatment with 3 Gy. These findings demonstrate that the tumor microenvironment including the survival of tumor-associated endothelial cells contributes to tumor blood vessel resistance to therapy.
Continuous expression of the MGSA/GROalpha, beta, or gamma chemokine bestows tumor-forming capacity to the immortalized murine melanocyte cell line, melan-a. The mechanism for this transformation is unclear, although both autocrine and paracrine processes are possible because melan-a cells as well as endothelial cells express a low level of the receptor for this ligand. To further define the role of MGSA/GRO proteins in melanocyte transformation, two types of experiments were designed to neutralize the biological effects of MGSA/GRO in the transfected melan-a clones: (1) the effect of neutralizing antiserum to MGSA/GRO proteins on melan-a tumor growth was assessed; (2) the tumor-forming capacity of melan-a clones expressing ELR motif-mutated forms of MGSA/GRO with compromised receptor affinity was compared to the tumor-forming capacity of clones expressing wild-type MGSA/GRO. These experiments revealed that SCID mice inoculated with MGSA/GROalpha- or gamma-expressing melan-a cells and subsequently treated with antiserum to the respective chemokine exhibited decreased tumor growth. This reduction in tumor growth was accompanied by declining angiogenic activity in MGSA/GROgamma-expressing tumors. Moreover, athymic nude mice injected with melan-a cells expressing ELR-mutant forms of MGSA/GROalpha exhibited markedly impaired tumor-forming capacity compared with those mice injected with melan-a clones expressing wild-type MGSA/GRO. These data suggest that continuous expression of MGSA/GRO proteins may facilitate tumor growth by stimulating the growth of microvessels into the tumor (paracrine) and by affecting melanocyte growth (autocrine).
Human melanoma cells (from biopsies and culture) express sialyl-Lewis(x) and sialyl Lewis(a), the ligands for ECAM. These ligands may facilitate tumor progression and metastasis in human cancers. To test whether the antibodies to these ligands inhibit tumor progression, IgG and IgM responses to sLe(x) and sLe(a) were induced in C57BL/6j mice (n = 76) by immunization with human melanoma cells, with or without adjuvants (BCG, MPL, KLH). Control mice were treated with saline or BCG. Tumor growth and antigen expression were monitored after challenge with B16 mouse melanoma cells expressing sLe(x), sLe(a) and the ganglioside GM3. Tumor growth was reduced in mice immunized with BCG alone or cells with BCG or MPL, while tumors in mice receiving cells without adjuvants grew larger than in the control. Augmentation of IgM titers to sLe(x) and GM3 after immunization with BCG, or with cells with BCG or MPL correlated with retarded tumor growth, while increased IgG titers to sLe(x) significantly correlated with aggressive tumor growth in mice immunized with cells without adjuvants. SLe(x), sLe(a) and GM3 were expressed in tumors from mice treated with saline or BCG. SLe(x) expression, in particular, was lost in tumors growing in mice immunized with cells with or without adjuvants. Anti-sLe(x) antibodies may promote or prevent tumor growth by antigenic modulation or by cytotoxic killing of tumor cells. Since early anti-sLe(x) IgM correlated with tumor regression, in contrast to anti-sLe(x) IgG, it may serve as a potential early endpoint for the effectiveness of melanoma vaccines expressing the antigens.
In the work described here we demonstrate that the clonal cell line Mel-a-6, produced by transfection of mouse Melan-a cells with human MGSA, had an increased ability to form large colonies in soft agar and increased ability to form tumors when injected into nude mice as compared to cells transfected with the neomycin resistance gene alone. This effect appeared to be dependent on the levels of MGSA produced since another transfected clone, Mel-a-l, produced only a low level of MGSA transgene mRNA, formed only minimal large colonies in soft agar and had a tumorigenic rate equal to that of neomycin resistant controls. The histology of the Mel-a-6 tumors is compatible with features normally exhibited by melanoma tumors. The cells do not stain for melanin, and they are positive for the neural crest marker protein S-100 as well as the HMB 45 melanoma specific antigen. Immunohistochemical studies revealed expression of the human MGSA in tumor cells from tissues, excised from animals injected with cells from clone Mel-a-6. Whereas DNA ploidy analysis suggests that in vitro the Mel-a parent cell line, control Mel-a-neo, Mel-a-1 and Mel-a-6 cells show no evidence of aneuploidy, the nuclei isolated from the tumors from animals injected with Mel-a-6 do exhibit aneuploidy. These data suggest that over-expression of MGSA in immortalized melanocytes contributes to transformation.