The MHC class I chain–related molecules (MICs) have previously been shown to be induced on most epithelial tumor cells. Engagement of MIC by the activating immune receptor NKG2D triggers NK cells and augments antigen-specific CTL anti-tumor immunity. The MIC-NKG2D system was proposed to participate in epithelial tumor immune surveillance. Paradoxically, studies suggest that tumors may evade MIC-NKG2D–mediated immunity by MIC shedding–induced impairment of effector cell function. Here we demonstrate the first evidence to our knowledge of a significant correlation of MIC shedding and deficiency in NK cell function with the grade of disease in prostate cancer. MIC is widely expressed in prostate carcinoma. The presence of surface target MIC, however, is counteracted by shedding. A significant increase in serum levels of soluble MIC (sMIC) and deficiency in NK cell function was shown in patients with advanced cancer. Finally, the deficiency in NK cell function can be overcome by treatment with IL-2 or IL-15 in vitro. Our results suggest that (a) deficiency in MIC-NKG2D immune surveillance may contribute to prostate cancer progression, (b) sMIC may be a novel biomarker for prostate cancer, and (c) using cytokines to restore MIC-NKG2D–mediated immunity may have clinical significance for prostate cancer in cell-based adaptive immunotherapy.
Jennifer D. Wu, Lily M. Higgins, Alexander Steinle, David Cosman, Kathy Haugk, Stephen R. Plymate
The transcription factor NF-κB is activated in a range of human cancers and is thought to promote tumorigenesis, mainly due to its ability to protect transformed cells from apoptosis. To investigate the role of NF-κB in epithelial plasticity and metastasis, we utilized a well-characterized in vitro/in vivo model of mammary carcinogenesis that depends on the collaboration of the Ha-Ras oncoprotein and TGF-β. We show here that the IKK-2/IκBα/NF-κB pathway is required for the induction and maintenance of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT). Inhibition of NF-κB signaling prevented EMT in Ras-transformed epithelial cells, while activation of this pathway promoted the transition to a mesenchymal phenotype even in the absence of TGF-β. Furthermore, inhibition of NF-κB activity in mesenchymal cells caused a reversal of EMT, suggesting that NF-κB is essential for both the induction and maintenance of EMT. In line with the importance of EMT for invasion, blocking of NF-κB activity abrogated the metastatic potential of mammary epithelial cells in a mouse model system. Collectively, these data provide evidence of an essential role for NF-κB during distinct steps of breast cancer progression and suggest that the cooperation of Ras- and TGF-β–dependent signaling pathways in late-stage tumorigenesis depends critically on NF-κB activity.
Margit A. Huber, Ninel Azoitei, Bernd Baumann, Stefan Grünert, Andreas Sommer, Hubert Pehamberger, Norbert Kraut, Hartmut Beug, Thomas Wirth
Cachexia is a syndrome characterized by wasting of skeletal muscle and contributes to nearly one-third of all cancer deaths. Cytokines and tumor factors mediate wasting by suppressing muscle gene products, but exactly which products are targeted by these cachectic factors is not well understood. Because of their functional relevance to muscle architecture, such targets are presumed to represent myofibrillar proteins, but whether these proteins are regulated in a general or a selective manner is also unclear. Here we demonstrate, using in vitro and in vivo models of muscle wasting, that cachectic factors are remarkably selective in targeting myosin heavy chain. In myotubes and mouse muscles, TNF-α plus IFN-γ strongly reduced myosin expression through an RNA-dependent mechanism. Likewise, colon-26 tumors in mice caused the selective reduction of this myofibrillar protein, and this reduction correlated with wasting. Under these conditions, however, loss of myosin was associated with the ubiquitin-dependent proteasome pathway, which suggests that mechanisms used to regulate the expression of muscle proteins may be cachectic factor specific. These results shed new light on cancer cachexia by revealing that wasting does not result from a general downregulation of muscle proteins but rather is highly selective as to which proteins are targeted during the wasting state.
Swarnali Acharyya, Katherine J. Ladner, Lori L. Nelsen, Jeffrey Damrauer, Peter J. Reiser, Steven Swoap, Denis C. Guttridge
Mutant isoforms of the KIT or PDGF receptors expressed by gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs) are considered the therapeutic targets for STI571 (imatinib mesylate; Gleevec), a specific inhibitor of these tyrosine kinase receptors. Case reports of clinical efficacy of Gleevec in GISTs lacking the typical receptor mutations prompted a search for an alternate mode of action. Here we show that Gleevec can act on host DCs to promote NK cell activation. DC-mediated NK cell activation was triggered in vitro and in vivo by treatment of DCs with Gleevec as well as by a loss-of-function mutation of KIT. Therefore, tumors that are refractory to the antiproliferative effects of Gleevec in vitro responded to Gleevec in vivo in an NK cell–dependent manner. Longitudinal studies of Gleevec-treated GIST patients revealed a therapy-induced increase in IFN-γ production by NK cells, correlating with an enhanced antitumor response. These data point to a novel mode of antitumor action for Gleevec.
Christophe Borg, Magali Terme, Julien Taïeb, Cédric Ménard, Caroline Flament, Caroline Robert, Koji Maruyama, Hiro Wakasugi, Eric Angevin, Kris Thielemans, Axel Le Cesne, Véronique Chung-Scott, Vladimir Lazar, Isabelle Tchou, Florent Crépineau, François Lemoine, Jacky Bernard, Jonhantan A. Fletcher, Ali Turhan, Jean-Yves Blay, Alain Spatz, Jean-François Emile, Michael C. Heinrich, Salah Mécheri, Thomas Tursz, Laurence Zitvogel
One mechanism contributing to immunologic unresponsiveness toward tumors may be presentation of tumor antigens by tolerogenic host APCs. We show that mouse tumor-draining LNs (TDLNs) contained a subset of plasmacytoid DCs (pDCs) that constitutively expressed immunosuppressive levels of the enzyme indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO). Despite comprising only 0.5% of LN cells, these pDCs in vitro potently suppressed T cell responses to antigens presented by the pDCs themselves and also, in a dominant fashion, suppressed T cell responses to third-party antigens presented by nonsuppressive APCs. Adoptive transfer of DCs from TDLNs into naive hosts created profound local T cell anergy, specifically toward antigens expressed by the transferred DCs. Anergy was prevented by targeted disruption of the IDO gene in the DCs or by administration of the IDO inhibitor drug 1-methyl-D-tryptophan to recipient mice. Within the population of pDCs, the majority of the functional IDO-mediated suppressor activity segregated with a novel subset of pDCs coexpressing the B-lineage marker CD19. We hypothesize that IDO-mediated suppression by pDCs in TDLNs creates a local microenvironment that is potently suppressive of host antitumor T cell responses.
David H. Munn, Madhav D. Sharma, Deyan Hou, Babak Baban, Jeffrey R. Lee, Scott J. Antonia, Jane L. Messina, Phillip Chandler, Pandelakis A. Koni, Andrew L. Mellor
Bone marrow of breast cancer patients was found to contain CD8+ T cells specific for peptides derived from breast cancer–associated proteins MUC1 and Her-2/neu. Most of these cells had a central or effector memory phenotype (CD45RA–CD62L+ or CD45RA–CD62L–, respectively). To test their in vivo function, we separated bone marrow–derived CD45RA+ naive or CD45RA–CD45RO+ memory T cells, stimulated them with autologous dendritic cells pulsed with tumor lysate, and transferred them into NOD/SCID mice bearing autologous breast tumors and normal skin transplants. CD45RA– memory but not CD45RA+ naive T cells infiltrated autologous tumor but not skin tissues after the transfer. These tumor-infiltrating cells had a central or effector memory phenotype and produced perforin. Many of them expressed the P-selectin glycoprotein ligand 1 and were found around P-selectin+ tumor endothelium. Tumor infiltration included cluster formation in tumor tissue by memory T cells with cotransferred dendritic cells. It was associated with the induction of tumor cell apoptosis and significant tumor reduction. We thus demonstrate selective homing of memory T cells to human tumors and suggest that tumor rejection is based on the recognition of tumor-associated antigens on tumor cells and dendritic cells by autologous specifically activated central and effector memory T cells.
Philipp Beckhove, Markus Feuerer, Mathias Dolenc, Florian Schuetz, Carmen Choi, Nora Sommerfeldt, Jochen Schwendemann, Katrin Ehlert, Peter Altevogt, Gunther Bastert, Volker Schirrmacher, Viktor Umansky
Deregulated expression of both Myc and Bcl-XL are consistent features of human plasma cell neoplasms (PCNs). To investigate whether targeted expression of Myc and Bcl-XL in mouse plasma cells might lead to an improved model of human PCN, we generated Myc transgenics by inserting a single-copy histidine-tagged mouse Myc gene, MycHis, into the mouse Ig heavy-chain Cα locus. We also generated Bcl-XL transgenic mice that contain a multicopy Flag-tagged mouse Bcl-xFlag transgene driven by the mouse Ig κ light-chain 3′ enhancer. Single-transgenic Bcl-XL mice remained tumor free by 380 days of age, whereas single-transgenic Myc mice developed B cell tumors infrequently (4 of 43, 9.3%). In contrast, double-transgenic Myc/Bcl-XL mice developed plasma cell tumors with short onset (135 days on average) and full penetrance (100% tumor incidence). These tumors produced monoclonal Ig, infiltrated the bone marrow, and contained elevated amounts of MycHis and Bcl-XLFlag proteins compared with the plasma cells that accumulated in large numbers in young tumor-free Myc/Bcl-XL mice. Our findings demonstrate that the enforced expression of Myc and Bcl-XL by Ig enhancers with peak activity in plasma cells generates a mouse model of human PCN that recapitulates some features of human multiple myeloma.
Wan Cheung Cheung, Joong Su Kim, Michael Linden, Liangping Peng, Brian Van Ness, Roberto D. Polakiewicz, Siegfried Janz
PTEN is a tumor suppressor gene mutated in many human cancers, and its expression is reduced or absent in almost half of hepatoma patients. We used the Cre-loxP system to generate a hepatocyte-specific null mutation of Pten in mice (AlbCrePtenflox/flox mice). AlbCrePtenflox/flox mice showed massive hepatomegaly and steatohepatitis with triglyceride accumulation, a phenotype similar to human nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. Adipocyte-specific genes were induced in mutant hepatocytes, implying adipogenic-like transformation of these cells. Genes involved in lipogenesis and β-oxidation were also induced, possibly as a result of elevated levels of the transactivating factors PPARγ and SREBP1c. Importantly, the loss of Pten function in the liver led to tumorigenesis, with 47% of AlbCrePtenflox/flox livers developing liver cell adenomas by 44 weeks of age. By 74–78 weeks of age, 100% of AlbCrePtenflox/flox livers showed adenomas and 66% had hepatocellular carcinomas. AlbCrePtenflox/flox mice also showed insulin hypersensitivity. In vitro, AlbCrePtenflox/flox hepatocytes were hyperproliferative and showed increased hyperoxidation with abnormal activation of protein kinase B and MAPK. Pten is thus an important regulator of lipogenesis, glucose metabolism, hepatocyte homeostasis, and tumorigenesis in the liver.
Yasuo Horie, Akira Suzuki, Ei Kataoka, Takehiko Sasaki, Koichi Hamada, Junko Sasaki, Katsunori Mizuno, Go Hasegawa, Hiroyuki Kishimoto, Masahiro Iizuka, Makoto Naito, Katsuhiko Enomoto, Sumio Watanabe, Tak Wah Mak, Toru Nakano
The IL-12Rβ2 gene is expressed in human mature B cell subsets but not in transformed B cell lines. Silencing of this gene may be advantageous to neoplastic B cells. Our objective was to investigate the mechanism(s) and the functional consequence(s) of IL-12Rβ2 gene silencing in primary B cell tumors and transformed B cell lines. Purified tumor cells from 41 patients with different chronic B cell lymphoproliferative disorders, representing the counterparts of the major mature human B cell subsets, tested negative for IL-12Rβ2 gene expression. Hypermethylation of a CpG island in the noncoding exon 1 was associated with silencing of this gene in malignant B cells. Treatment with the DNA methyltransferase inhibitor 5-Aza-2′-deoxycytidine restored IL-12Rβ2 mRNA expression in primary neoplastic B cells that underwent apoptosis following exposure to human recombinant IL-12 (hrIL-12). hrIL-12 inhibited proliferation and increased the apoptotic rate of IL-12Rβ2–transfected B cell lines in vitro. Finally, hrIL-12 strongly reduced the tumorigenicity of IL-12Rβ2–transfected Burkitt lymphoma RAJI cells in SCID-NOD mice through antiproliferative and proapoptotic effects, coupled with neoangiogenesis inhibition related to human IFN-γ–independent induction of hMig/CXCL9. The IL-12Rβ2 gene acts as tumor suppressor in chronic B cell malignancies, and IL-12 exerts direct antitumor effects on IL-12Rβ2–expressing neoplastic B cells.
Irma Airoldi, Emma Di Carlo, Barbara Banelli, Lidia Moserle, Claudia Cocco, Annalisa Pezzolo, Carlo Sorrentino, Edoardo Rossi, Massimo Romani, Alberto Amadori, Vito Pistoia
The clonotypic surface Ig receptor expressed by malignant B cells, idiotype, is a tumor-specific antigen and an attractive target for active immunotherapy. While Ab’s specific for tumor idiotype have been well described in patients with B cell malignancies, the precise antigenic epitopes in human idiotype recognized by autologous T cells remain largely unknown. We report here that T cell lines generated from lymphoma patients actively immunized with idiotype protein specifically recognized multiple, unique immunodominant epitopes in autologous tumor idiotype. Synthetic peptides corresponding to hypervariable, but not framework, regions of Ig heavy chain specifically stimulated CD4+ and CD8+ T cells to proliferate and secrete proinflammatory cytokines in an MHC-associated manner. Detailed analysis revealed a minimal determinant of an immunodominant epitope, comprising critical residues at the amino terminus that may be a product of somatic hypermutation. Association of idiotype-specific T cell responses with previously documented molecular remissions in idiotype-vaccinated patients suggests that the newly identified T cell epitopes may be clinically relevant. Such antigenic epitopes may serve as candidates for novel peptide-vaccine strategies, and as tools to selectively expand tumor antigen–specific T cells for adoptive immunotherapy and for monitoring T cell immunity in vaccinated patients.
Sivasubramanian Baskar, Carol B. Kobrin, Larry W. Kwak