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1.  TLR-2 and TLR-9 are sensors of apoptosis in a mouse model of doxorubicin-induced acute inflammation 
Cell Death and Differentiation  2011;18(8):1316-1325.
Anthracycline antibiotics are inducers of an immunogenic form of apoptosis that has immunostimulatory properties because of the release of damage-associated molecular patterns. To study the mechanisms used by the innate immune system to sense this immunogenic form of cell death, we established an in vivo model of cell death induced by intraperitoneal injection of doxorubicin, a prototype of anthracyclines. The acute sterile inflammation in this model is characterized by rapid influx of neutrophils and increased levels of IL-6 and monocyte chemotactic protein-1. We demonstrate that acute inflammation induced by doxorubicin is associated with apoptosis of monocytes/macrophages and that it is specific for doxorubicin, an immunogenic chemotherapeutic. Further, the inflammatory response is significantly reduced in mice deficient in myeloid differentiation primary response gene 88 (MyD88), TLR-2 or TLR-9. Importantly, a TLR-9 antagonist reduces the recruitment of neutrophils induced by doxorubicin. By contrast, the acute inflammatory response is not affected in TRIFLps2 mutant mice and in TLR-3, TLR-4 and caspase-1 knockout mice, which shows that the inflammasome does not have a major role in doxorubicin-induced acute inflammation. Our findings provide important new insights into how the innate immune system senses immunogenic apoptotic cells and clearly demonstrate that the TLR-2/TLR-9-MyD88 signaling pathways have a central role in initiating the acute inflammatory response to this immunogenic form of apoptosis.
PMCID: PMC3172099  PMID: 21311566
doxorubicin; TLRs; apoptosis; neutrophils; DAMPs; immunogenic cell death
2.  Molecular mechanisms of ATP secretion during immunogenic cell death 
Cell Death and Differentiation  2013;21(1):79-91.
The immunogenic demise of cancer cells can be induced by various chemotherapeutics, such as anthracyclines and oxaliplatin, and provokes an immune response against tumor-associated antigens. Thus, immunogenic cell death (ICD)-inducing antineoplastic agents stimulate a tumor-specific immune response that determines the long-term success of therapy. The release of ATP from dying cells constitutes one of the three major hallmarks of ICD and occurs independently of the two others, namely, the pre-apoptotic exposure of calreticulin on the cell surface and the postmortem release of high-mobility group box 1 (HMBG1) into the extracellular space. Pre-mortem autophagy is known to be required for the ICD-associated secretion of ATP, implying that autophagy-deficient cancer cells fail to elicit therapy-relevant immune responses in vivo. However, the precise molecular mechanisms whereby ATP is actively secreted in the course of ICD remain elusive. Using a combination of pharmacological screens, silencing experiments and techniques to monitor the subcellular localization of ATP, we show here that, in response to ICD inducers, ATP redistributes from lysosomes to autolysosomes and is secreted by a mechanism that requires the lysosomal protein LAMP1, which translocates to the plasma membrane in a strictly caspase-dependent manner. The secretion of ATP additionally involves the caspase-dependent activation of Rho-associated, coiled-coil containing protein kinase 1 (ROCK1)-mediated, myosin II-dependent cellular blebbing, as well as the opening of pannexin 1 (PANX1) channels, which is also triggered by caspases. Of note, although autophagy and LAMP1 fail to influence PANX1 channel opening, PANX1 is required for the ICD-associated translocation of LAMP1 to the plasma membrane. Altogether, these findings suggest that caspase- and PANX1-dependent lysosomal exocytosis has an essential role in ATP release as triggered by immunogenic chemotherapy.
PMCID: PMC3857631  PMID: 23852373
apoptosis; Beclin 1; caspases; endoplasmic reticulum stress; quinacrine; U2OS cells
3.  Doxorubicin and daunorubicin induce processing and release of interleukin-1β through activation of the NLRP3 inflammasome 
Cancer Biology & Therapy  2011;11(12):1008-1016.
Anthracyclines including doxorubicin and daunorubicin are commonly used for the treatment of both hematologic and solid tumors. Dose related adverse effects often limit the effectiveness of anthracyclines in chemotherapy. Drug-related systemic inflammation mediated by interleukin-1beta (IL-1β) has been implicated in contributing to these adverse effects. The molecular mechanisms underlying anthracycline-mediated expression and IL-1β release are not understood. Elucidating the molecular basis by which anthracyclines upregulate IL-1β activity may present opportunities to decrease the inflammatory consequences of these drugs. Here we demonstrate that doxorubicin induces a systemic increase in IL-1β and other inflammatory cytokines, chemokines and growth factors including TNFα, IL-6, Gro-α/CXCL1, CCL2/MCP-1, granulocyte colony stimulating factor (GCSF) and CXCL10/IP-10. Studies with IL-1R-deficient mice demonstrate that IL-1 signaling plays a role in doxorubicin-induced increases in IL-6 and GCSF. In vitro studies with doxorubicin and daunorubicin failed to induce expression of pro-IL-1β in unprimed murine bone marrow-derived macrophages (BMDM) but enhanced the expression of pro-IL-1β in BMDM that had previously been primed with LPS. Furthermore, doxorubicin and daunorubicin induced the processing and release of IL-1β from LPS-primed BMDM by providing danger signals that lead to assembly and activation of the inflammasome. The release of IL-1β required the expression of ASC, caspase-1 and NLRP3, demonstrating that doxorubicin and daunorubicin-induced inflammation is mediated by the NLRP3 inflammasome. As with other agents that induce activation of the NLRP3 inflammasome, the ability of doxorubicin to provide proinflammatory danger signals was inhibited by co-treatment of cells with ROS inhibitors or by incubating cells in high extracellular potassium. These studies suggest that proinflammatory responses to anthracycline chemotherapeutic agents are mediated, at least in part, by promoting the processing and release of IL-1β, and that some of the adverse inflammatory consequences that complicate chemotherapy with anthracyclines may be reduced by suppressing the actions of IL-1β.
PMCID: PMC3142364  PMID: 21464611
doxorubicin; daunorubicin; anthracycline; interleukin-1; cancer therapy; inflammation; quality of life; inflammasome
4.  Caspase-10-Dependent Cell Death in Fas/CD95 Signalling Is Not Abrogated by Caspase Inhibitor zVAD-fmk 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(10):e13638.
Upon CD95/Fas ligation, the initiator caspase-8 is known to activate effector caspases leading to apoptosis. In the presence of zVAD-fmk, a broad-spectrum caspase inhibitor, Fas engagement can also trigger an alternative, non-apoptotic caspase-independent form of cell death, which is initiated by RIP1. Controversy exists as to the ability of caspase-10 to mediate cell death in response to FasL (CD95L or CD178). Herein, the role of caspase-10 in FasL-induced cell death has been re-evaluated.
Methodology and Principal Findings
The present study shows that FasL-induced cell death was completely impaired in caspase-8- and caspase-10-doubly deficient (I9-2e) Jurkat leukaemia T-cell lines. Over-expressing of either caspase-8 or caspase-10 in I9-2e cells triggered cell death and restored sensitivity to FasL, further arguing for a role of both initiator caspases in Fas apoptotic signalling. In the presence of zVAD-fmk, FasL triggered an alternative form of cell death similarly in wild-type (A3) and in caspase-8-deficient Jurkat cells expressing endogenous caspase-10 (clone I9-2d). Cell death initiated by Fas stimulation in the presence of zVAD-fmk was abrogated in I9-2e cells as well as in HeLa cells, which did not express endogenous caspase-10, indicating that caspase-10 somewhat participates in this alternative form of cell death. Noteworthy, ectopic expression of caspase-10 in I9-2e and HeLa cells restored the ability of FasL to trigger cell death in the presence of zVAD-fmk. As a matter of fact, FasL-triggered caspase-10 processing still occurred in the presence of zVAD-fmk.
Conclusions and Significance
Altogether, these data provide genetic evidence for the involvement of initiator caspase-10 in FasL-induced cell death and indicate that zVAD-fmk does not abrogate caspase-10 processing and cytotoxicity in Fas signalling. Our study also questions the existence of an alternative caspase-independent cell death pathway in Fas signalling.
PMCID: PMC2964310  PMID: 21049020
5.  Contribution of IL-17–producing γδ T cells to the efficacy of anticancer chemotherapy 
IL-17 production by γδ T cells is required for tumor cell infiltration by IFN-γ–producing CD8+ T cells and inhibition of tumor growth in response to anthracyclines.
By triggering immunogenic cell death, some anticancer compounds, including anthracyclines and oxaliplatin, elicit tumor-specific, interferon-γ–producing CD8+ αβ T lymphocytes (Tc1 CTLs) that are pivotal for an optimal therapeutic outcome. Here, we demonstrate that chemotherapy induces a rapid and prominent invasion of interleukin (IL)-17–producing γδ (Vγ4+ and Vγ6+) T lymphocytes (γδ T17 cells) that precedes the accumulation of Tc1 CTLs within the tumor bed. In T cell receptor δ−/− or Vγ4/6−/− mice, the therapeutic efficacy of chemotherapy was compromised, no IL-17 was produced by tumor-infiltrating T cells, and Tc1 CTLs failed to invade the tumor after treatment. Although γδ T17 cells could produce both IL-17A and IL-22, the absence of a functional IL-17A–IL-17R pathway significantly reduced tumor-specific T cell responses elicited by tumor cell death, and the efficacy of chemotherapy in four independent transplantable tumor models. Adoptive transfer of γδ T cells restored the efficacy of chemotherapy in IL-17A−/− hosts. The anticancer effect of infused γδ T cells was lost when they lacked either IL-1R1 or IL-17A. Conventional helper CD4+ αβ T cells failed to produce IL-17 after chemotherapy. We conclude that γδ T17 cells play a decisive role in chemotherapy-induced anticancer immune responses.
PMCID: PMC3058575  PMID: 21383056
6.  Zinc supplementation is required for the cytotoxic and immunogenic effects of chemotherapy in chemoresistant p53-functionally deficient cells 
Oncoimmunology  2013;2(9):e26198.
Optimal tumor eradication often results from the death of malignant cells, as induced by chemotherapeutic agents, coupled to the induction of antitumor immune responses. However, cancer cells frequently become resistant to the cytotoxic activity of chemotherapy. The aim of the present study was to evaluate whether zinc dichloride (ZnCl2), which was known to re-establish the chemosensitivity of cancer cells by reactivating p53, promotes immunogenic instances of cell death. We found that ZnCl2, in combination with chemotherapeutic agents such as cisplatin and adriamycin (ADR), favors the apoptotic demise of chemoresistant cells, while cisplatin and ADR alone fail to do so. The co-culture of immature dendritic cells (DCs) with cancer cells succumbing to the co-administration of chemotherapy and ZnCl2 led to DC activation, as indicated by the upregulation of the activation markers CD83 and CD86. In part, such process depended on cell death, as it was limited (but not abrogated) by the pan-caspase inhibitor Z-VAD-fmk. Moreover, DC activation relied on the ZnCl2-induced exposure of calreticulin (CRT) on the surface of cancer cells, correlating with the phosphorylation of eukaryotic translation initiation factor 2α (eIF2α), a marker of endoplasmic reticulum stress. The siRNA-mediated knockdown of CRT as well as the inhibition of CRT exposure with brefeldin A strongly impaired DC maturation, indicating CRT translocation as induced by that ZnCl2 is a key event in this setting. Altogether, these results suggest that ZnCl2, has the potential to enhance the therapeutic effects of antineoplastic agents not only by improving their cytotoxic activity but also by promoting CRT exposure.
PMCID: PMC3820813  PMID: 24228232
apoptosis; calreticulin; chemoresistance; chemotherapy; combination therapy; dendritic cell activation; immunogenicity; p53 reactivation; tumor cells; ZnCl2
7.  Involvement of Caspase-9 in the Inhibition of Necrosis of RAW 264 Cells Infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis▿  
Infection and Immunity  2007;75(6):2894-2902.
In order to know how caspases contribute to the intracellular fate of Mycobacterium tuberculosis and host cell death in the infected macrophages, we examined the effect of benzyloxycarbonyl-Val-Ala-Asp(OMe)-fluoromethane (z-VAD-fmk), a broad-spectrum caspase inhibitor, on the growth of M. tuberculosis H37Rv in RAW 264 cells. In the cells treated with z-VAD-fmk, activation of caspase-8, caspase-3/7, and caspase-9 was clearly suppressed, and DNA fragmentation of the infected cells was also reduced. Under this experimental condition, it was found that the treatment markedly inhibited bacterial growth inside macrophages. The infected cells appeared to undergo cell death of the necrosis type in the presence of z-VAD-fmk. We further found that z-VAD-fmk treatment resulted in the generation of intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the infected cells. By addition of a scavenger of ROS, the host cell necrosis was inhibited and the intracellular growth of H37Rv was significantly restored. Among inhibitors specific for each caspase, only the caspase-9-specific inhibitor enhanced the generation of ROS and induced necrosis of the infected cells. Furthermore, we found that severe necrosis was induced by infection with H37Rv but not H37Ra in the presence of z-VAD-fmk. Caspase-9 activation was also detected in H37Rv-infected cells, but H37Ra never induced such caspase-9 activation. These results indicated that caspase-9, which was activated by infection with virulent M. tuberculosis, contributed to the inhibition of necrosis of the infected host cells, presumably through suppression of intracellular ROS generation.
PMCID: PMC1932843  PMID: 17403866
8.  HMGB1 Mediates Endogenous TLR2 Activation and Brain Tumor Regression 
PLoS Medicine  2009;6(1):e1000010.
Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most aggressive primary brain tumor that carries a 5-y survival rate of 5%. Attempts at eliciting a clinically relevant anti-GBM immune response in brain tumor patients have met with limited success, which is due to brain immune privilege, tumor immune evasion, and a paucity of dendritic cells (DCs) within the central nervous system. Herein we uncovered a novel pathway for the activation of an effective anti-GBM immune response mediated by high-mobility-group box 1 (HMGB1), an alarmin protein released from dying tumor cells, which acts as an endogenous ligand for Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2) signaling on bone marrow-derived GBM-infiltrating DCs.
Methods and Findings
Using a combined immunotherapy/conditional cytotoxic approach that utilizes adenoviral vectors (Ad) expressing Fms-like tyrosine kinase 3 ligand (Flt3L) and thymidine kinase (TK) delivered into the tumor mass, we demonstrated that CD4+ and CD8+ T cells were required for tumor regression and immunological memory. Increased numbers of bone marrow-derived, tumor-infiltrating myeloid DCs (mDCs) were observed in response to the therapy. Infiltration of mDCs into the GBM, clonal expansion of antitumor T cells, and induction of an effective anti-GBM immune response were TLR2 dependent. We then proceeded to identify the endogenous ligand responsible for TLR2 signaling on tumor-infiltrating mDCs. We demonstrated that HMGB1 was released from dying tumor cells, in response to Ad-TK (+ gancyclovir [GCV]) treatment. Increased levels of HMGB1 were also detected in the serum of tumor-bearing Ad-Flt3L/Ad-TK (+GCV)-treated mice. Specific activation of TLR2 signaling was induced by supernatants from Ad-TK (+GCV)-treated GBM cells; this activation was blocked by glycyrrhizin (a specific HMGB1 inhibitor) or with antibodies to HMGB1. HMGB1 was also released from melanoma, small cell lung carcinoma, and glioma cells treated with radiation or temozolomide. Administration of either glycyrrhizin or anti-HMGB1 immunoglobulins to tumor-bearing Ad-Flt3L and Ad-TK treated mice, abolished therapeutic efficacy, highlighting the critical role played by HMGB1-mediated TLR2 signaling to elicit tumor regression. Therapeutic efficacy of Ad-Flt3L and Ad-TK (+GCV) treatment was demonstrated in a second glioma model and in an intracranial melanoma model with concomitant increases in the levels of circulating HMGB1.
Our data provide evidence for the molecular and cellular mechanisms that support the rationale for the clinical implementation of antibrain cancer immunotherapies in combination with tumor killing approaches in order to elicit effective antitumor immune responses, and thus, will impact clinical neuro-oncology practice.
Maria Castro and colleagues use cell line and transgenic mouse approaches to study the mechanisms underlying the immune response to glioblastoma multiforme.
Editors' Summary
Every year, more than 175,000 people develop a primary brain tumor (a cancer that starts in the brain rather than spreading in from elsewhere). Like all cancers, brain tumors develop when a cell acquires genetic changes that allow it to grow uncontrollably and that change other aspects of its behavior, including the proteins it makes. There are many different types of cells in the brain and, as a result, there are many different types of brain tumors. However, one in five primary brain tumors is glioblastoma multiforme (GBM; also known as grade 4 astrocytoma), a particularly aggressive cancer. With GBM, the average time from diagnosis to death is one year and only one person in 20 survives for five years after a diagnosis of GBM. Symptoms of GBM include headaches, seizures, and changes in memory, mood, or mental capacity. Treatments for GBM, which include surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy, do not “cure” the tumor but they can ease these symptoms.
Why Was This Study Done?
Better treatments for GBM are badly needed, and one avenue that is being explored is immunotherapy—a treatment in which the immune system is used to fight the cancer. Because many tumors make unusual proteins, the immune system can sometimes be encouraged to recognize tumor cells as foreign invaders and kill them. Unfortunately, attempts to induce a clinically useful anti-GBM immune response have been unsuccessful, partly because the brain contains very few dendritic cells, a type of immune system cell that kick-starts effective immune responses by presenting foreign proteins to other immune system cells. Another barrier to immunotherapy for GBM is immune evasion by the tumor. Many tumors develop ways to avoid the immune response as they grow. For example, they sometimes reduce the expression of proteins that the immune system might recognize as foreign. In this study, the researchers test a new combined treatment strategy for GBM in which dendritic cells are encouraged to enter the brain and tumor cells are killed to release proteins capable of stimulating an effective antitumor immune response.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers first established brain tumors in mice. Then, they injected harmless viruses carrying the genes for Fms-like tyrosine kinase 3 ligand (Ftl3L; a protein that attracts dendritic cells) and for thymidine kinase (TK; cells expressing TK are killed by a drug called gancyclovir) into the tumor. Expression of both Flt3L and TK (but not of either protein alone) plus gancyclovir treatment shrank the tumors and greatly improved the survival of the mice. The researchers show that their strategy increased the migration of dendritic cells into the tumor provided they expressed an immune system protein called Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2). TLR2 expression on the dendritic cells was also needed for an effective anti-tumor immune response and for tumor regression. TLR2 normally activates dendritic cells by binding to specific proteins on invading pathogens, so what was TLR2 binding to in the mouse tumors? The researchers reveal that TLR2 was responding to high-mobility-group box 1 (HMGB1), a protein released by the dying tumor cells by showing that treatment of the tumor-bearing mice with the HMGB1 inhibitor glycyrrhizin blocked the therapeutic effect of Flt3L/TK expression. Finally, the researchers report that other tumor cell types release HMGB1 when they are killed and that the Flt3L/TK expression strategy can also kill other tumors growing in mouse brains.
What Do These Findings Mean?
Results obtained in mouse models of human diseases do not always lead to effective treatments for human patients. Nevertheless, the findings of this study provide new insights into how an effective immune response against brain tumors might be brought about. Most importantly, they show that an effective strategy might need to both attract dendritic cells into the brain tumor and to kill tumor cells, so they release proteins that can activate the dendritic cells. That is, the authors suggest it's important to combine immunotherapies with tumor-killing strategies to provide effective treatments for primary and metastatic brain tumors
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
The US National Cancer Institute provides information about brain tumors for patients and health professionals and about the the immune system and how it can be harnessed to fight cancer (in English and Spanish)
Cancer Research UK provides information on all aspects of brain tumors for patients and their caregivers
MedlinePlus provides links to further information about brain cancer, (including some links to information in Spanish)
The American Brain Tumor Association provides brain tumor resources and information
The National Brain Tumor Society provides educational and support services regarding brain tumors
PMCID: PMC2621261  PMID: 19143470
9.  Therapy of murine tumors with tumor peptide-pulsed dendritic cells: dependence on T cells, B7 costimulation, and T helper cell 1-associated cytokines  
Antigen presentation by host dendritic cells (DC) is critical for the initiation of adaptive immune responses. We have previously demonstrated in immunogenic murine tumor models that bone marrow (BM)- derived DC pulsed ex vivo with synthetic tumor-associated peptides, naturally expressed by tumor cells, serve as effective antitumor vaccines, protecting animals against an otherwise lethal tumor challenge (Mayordomo, J.I., T. Zorina, W.J. Storkus, C. Celluzzi, L.D. Falo, C.J. Melief, T. Ildstad, W.M. Kast, A.B. DeLeo, and M.T. Lotze. 1995. Nature Med. 1:1297-1302). However, T cell-defined epitopes have not been identified for most human cancers. To explore the utility of this approach in the treatment of tumors expressing as yet uncharacterized epitopes, syngeneic granulocyte/macrophage colony- stimulating factor-stimulated and BM-derived DC, pulsed with unfractionated acid-eluted tumor peptides (Storkus, W.J., H.J. Zeh III, R.D. Salter, and M.T. Lotze. 1993. J. Immunother. 14:94-103) were used to treat mice bearing spontaneous, established tumors. The adoptive transfer of 5 x 10(5) tumor peptide-pulsed DC dramatically suppressed the growth of weakly immunogenic tumors in day 4 to day 8 established MCA205 (H-2b) and TS/A (H-2d) tumor models, when applied in three biweekly intravenous injections. Using the immunogenic C3 (H-2b) tumor model in B6 mice, tumor peptide-pulsed DC therapy resulted in the erradication of established d14 tumors and long-term survival in 100% of treated animals. The DC-driven antitumor immune response was primarily cell mediated since the transfer of spleen cells, but not sera, from immunized mice efficiently protected sublethally irradiated naive mice against a subsequent tumor challenge. Furthermore, depletion of either CD4+ or CD8+ T cells from tumor-bearing mice before therapy totally suppressed the therapeutic efficacy of DC pulsed with tumor- derived peptides. Costimulation of the host cell-mediated antitumor immunity was critical since inoculation of the chimeric fusion protein CTLA4-Ig virtually abrogated the therapeutic effects of peptide-pulsed DC in vivo. The analysis of the cytokine pattern in the draining lymph nodes and spleens of tumor-bearing mice immunized with DC pulsed with tumor-eluted peptides revealed a marked upregulation of interleukin (IL) 4 and interferon (IFN) gamma production, as compared with mice immunized with DC alone or DC pulsed with irrelevant peptides. DC- induced antitumor effects were completely blocked by coadministration of neutralizing monoclonal antibody directed against T helper cell 1- associated cytokines (such as IL-12, tumor necrosis factor alpha, IFN- gamma), and eventually, but not initially, blocked by anti-mIL-4 mAb. Based on these results, we believe that DC pulsed with acid-eluted peptides derived from autologous tumors represents a novel approach to the treatment of established, weakly immunogenic tumors, and serves as a basis for designing clinical trials in cancer patients.
PMCID: PMC2192415  PMID: 8551248
10.  Nonproducer malignant tumor cells with rescuable sarcoma virus genome isolated from a recurrent Moloney sarcoma 
Cells from a secondary tumor developing at the site of a regressed Moloney sarcoma virus-induced tumor could be passaged in adult STU mice by intramuscular and intraperitoneal inoculation. The tumors induced by these cells, as well as by a cell line derived from it, grew progressively and led to death of the animals between 3 and 7 wk after tumor transplantation. No evidence for production of virus from these cells was obtained or for the presence of viral antigens (p30, gp69/71). From both cell variants, sarcoma virus genome could be rescued by infection with helper virus, resulting in the establishment of a cell line producing focus- and XC plaque-forming virus. The rescued producer cells very frequently also produced tumors which finally grew progressively. The nonproducer cells were not immunogenic, as was demonstrated in cross transplantation tests and in studies for cell-mediated cytotoxicity (CMC) and complement-dependent antibody- mediated cytotoxicity (AMC). The producer cells, however, were demonstrated to possess a strong immunogenicity. The nonproducer cells, though nonimmunogenic, revealed a weak immunosensitivity when used for challenge in the transplantation protection assay or as target cell for the demonstration of AMC and CMC, if the immune response was induced by cells producing the sarcoma-helper virus complex, but not by cells producing only helper virus. The nonproducer cells, as well as their rescued producer derivative, showed a stronger reactivity with cytotoxic antibodies than with cytotoxic cells, whereas the helper virus-producing cell line was comparably suitable as target cell for AMC and CMC. The recurrence of a regressed Moloney sarcoma is assumed to be the result of the occurrence of transformed nonproducer cells escaping immune destruction, and not as a consequence of a depleted immune resistance in the host.
PMCID: PMC2184942  PMID: 151722
11.  Inhibition of Caspases Increases the Sensitivity of L929 Cells to Necrosis Mediated by Tumor Necrosis Factor  
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  1998;187(9):1477-1485.
Murine L929 fibrosarcoma cells treated with tumor necrosis factor (TNF) rapidly die in a necrotic way, due to excessive formation of reactive oxygen intermediates. We investigated the role of caspases in the necrotic cell death pathway. When the cytokine response modifier A (CrmA), a serpin-like caspase inhibitor of viral origin, was stably overexpressed in L929 cells, the latter became 1,000-fold more sensitive to TNF-mediated cell death. In addition, TNF sensitization was also observed when the cells were pretreated with Ac-YVAD-cmk or zDEVD-fmk, which inhibits caspase-1– and caspase-3–like proteases, respectively. zVAD-fmk and zD-fmk, two broad-spectrum inhibitors of caspases, also rendered the cells more sensitive, since the half-maximal dose for TNF-mediated necrosis decreased by a factor of 1,000. The presence of zVAD-fmk also resulted in a more rapid increase of TNF-mediated production of oxygen radicals. zVAD-fmk–dependent sensitization of TNF cytotoxicity could be completely inhibited by the oxygen radical scavenger butylated hydroxyanisole. These results indicate an involvement of caspases in protection against TNF-induced formation of oxygen radicals and necrosis.
PMCID: PMC2212268  PMID: 9565639
12.  Contribution of humoral immune responses to the antitumor effects mediated by anthracyclines 
Cell Death and Differentiation  2013;21(1):50-58.
Immunogenic cell death induced by cytotoxic compounds contributes to the success of selected chemotherapies by eliciting a protective anticancer immune response, which is mediated by CD4+ and CD8+ T cells producing interferon-γ. In many instances, cancer progression is associated with high titers of tumor-specific antibodies, which become detectable in the serum, but whose functional relevance is elusive. Here, we explored the role of humoral immune responses in the anticancer efficacy of anthracyclines. Chemotherapy reduced the number of tumor-infiltrating B cells, and failed to promote humoral responses against immunodominant tumor antigens. Although anthracycline-based anticancer chemotherapies failed in T cell-deficient mice, they successfully reduced the growth of cancers developing in mice lacking B lymphocytes (due to the injection of a B-cell-depleting anti-CD20 antibody), immunoglobulins (Igs) or Ig receptors (Fc receptor) due to genetic manipulations. These results suggest that the humoral arm of antitumor immunity is dispensable for the immune-dependent therapeutic effect of anthracyclines against mouse sarcoma. In addition, we show here that the titers of IgA and IgG antibodies directed against an autoantigen appearing at the cell surface of tumor cells post chemotherapy (calreticulin, CRT) did not significantly increase in patients treated with anthracyclines, and that anti-CRT antibodies had no prognostic or predictive significance. Collectively, our data indicate that humoral anticancer immune responses differ from cellular responses in, thus far, that they do not contribute to the success of anthracycline-mediated anticancer therapies in human breast cancers and mouse sarcomas.
PMCID: PMC3857618  PMID: 23744294
antibodies; immunogenic cell death; chemotherapy; humoral immunity; FcγR; cancer
13.  Molecular Mechanisms of Paraptosis Induction: Implications for a Non-Genetically Modified Tumor Vaccine 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(2):e4631.
Paraptosis is the programmed cell death pathway that leads to cellular necrosis. Previously, rodent and human monocytes/macrophages killed glioma cells bearing the membrane macrophage colony stimulating factor (mM-CSF) through paraptosis, but the molecular mechanism of this killing process was never identified. We have demonstrated that paraptosis of rat T9 glioma cells can be initiated through a large potassium channel (BK)-dependent process initiated by reactive oxygen species. Macrophage mediated cytotoxicity upon the mM-CSF expressing T9-C2 cells was not prevented by the addition of the caspase inhibitor, zVAD-fmk. By a combination of fluorescent confocal and electron microscopy, flow cytometry, electrophysiology, pharmacology, and genetic knock-down approaches, we demonstrated that these ion channels control cellular swelling and vacuolization of rat T9 glioma cells. Cell lysis is preceded by a depletion of intracellular ATP. Six-hour exposure to BK channel activation caused T9 cells to over express heat shock proteins (Hsp 60, 70, 90 and gp96). This same treatment forced HMGB1 translocation from the nuclear region to the periphery. These last molecules are “danger signals” that can stimulate immune responses. Similar inductions of mitochondrial swelling and increased Hsp70 and 90 expressions by BK channel activation were observed with the non-immunogenic F98 glioma cells. Rats injected with T9 cells which were killed by prolonged BK channel activation developed immunity against the T9 cells, while the injection of x-irradiated apoptotic T9 cells failed to produce the vaccinating effect. These results are the first to show that glioma cellular death induced by prolonged BK channel activation improves tumor immunogenicity; this treatment reproduces the vaccinating effects of mM-CSF transduced cells. Elucidation of strategies as described in this study may prove quite valuable in the development of clinical immunotherapy against cancer.
PMCID: PMC2645013  PMID: 19247476
14.  The Tricyclodecan-9-yl-xanthogenate D609 Triggers Ceramide Increase and Enhances FasL-Induced Caspase-Dependent and -Independent Cell Death in T Lymphocytes 
D609 is known to modulate death receptor-induced ceramide generation and cell death. We show that in Jurkat cells, non-toxic D609 concentrations inhibit sphingomyelin synthase and, to a lesser extent, glucosylceramide synthase, and transiently increase the intracellular ceramide level. D609 significantly enhanced FasL-induced caspase activation and apoptosis. D609 stimulated FasL-induced cell death in caspase-8-deficient Jurkat cells, indicating that D609 acts downstream of caspase-8. At high FasL concentration (500 ng/mL), cell death was significantly, but not completely, inhibited by zVAD-fmk, a broad-spectrum caspase inhibitor, indicating that FasL can activate both caspase-dependent and -independent cell death signaling pathways. FasL-induced caspase activation was abolished by zVAD-fmk, whereas ceramide production was only partially impaired. D609 enhanced caspase-independent ceramide increase and cell death in response to FasL. Also, D609 overcame zVAD-fmk-conferred resistance to a FasL concentration as low as 50 ng/mL and bypassed RIP deficiency. It is likely that mitochondrial events were involved, since Bcl-xL over-expression impaired D609 effects. In PHA-activated human T lymphocytes, D609 enhanced FasL-induced cell death in the presence or absence of zVAD-fmk. Altogether, our data strongly indicate that the inhibition of ceramide conversion to complex sphingolipids by D609 is accompanied by an enhancement of FasL-induced caspase-dependent and -independent cell death in T lymphocytes.
PMCID: PMC3430269  PMID: 22942738
CD95; apoptosis; necrosis; sphingomyelin synthase; glucosylceramide synthase; ALPS
15.  The Progression of Cell Death Affects the Rejection of Allogeneic Tumors in Immune-Competent Mice – Implications for Cancer Therapy 
Large amounts of dead and dying cells are produced during cancer therapy and allograft rejection. Depending on the death pathway and stimuli involved, dying cells exhibit diverse features, resulting in defined physiological consequences for the host. It is not fully understood how dying and dead cells modulate the immune response of the host. To address this problem, different death stimuli were studied in B16F10 melanoma cells by regulated inducible transgene expression of the pro-apoptotic active forms of caspase-3 (revCasp-3), Bid (tBid), and the Mycobacterium tuberculosis-necrosis inducing toxin (CpnTCTD). The immune outcome elicited for each death stimulus was assessed by evaluating the allograft rejection of melanoma tumors implanted subcutaneously in BALB/c mice immunized with dying cells. Expression of all proteins efficiently killed cells in vitro (>90%) and displayed distinctive morphological and physiological features as assessed by multiparametric flow cytometry analysis. BALB/c mice immunized with allogeneic dying melanoma cells expressing revCasp-3 or CpnTCTD showed strong rejection of the allogeneic challenge. In contrast, mice immunized with cells dying either after expression of tBid or irradiation with UVB did not, suggesting an immunologically silent cell death. Surprisingly, immunogenic cell death induced by expression of revCasp-3 or CpnTCTD correlated with elevated intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels at the time point of immunization. Conversely, early mitochondrial dysfunction induced by tBid expression or UVB irradiation accounted for the absence of intracellular ROS accumulation at the time point of immunization. Although ROS inhibition in vitro was not sufficient to abrogate the immunogenicity in our allo-immunization model, we suggest that the point of ROS generation and its intracellular accumulation may be an important factor for its role as damage associated molecular pattern in the development of allogeneic responses.
PMCID: PMC4227513  PMID: 25426116
immunogenicity; apoptosis; cancer; ROS; caspase-3; tBid; necrosis; DAMPs
16.  A Flagellin-Derived Toll-Like Receptor 5 Agonist Stimulates Cytotoxic Lymphocyte-Mediated Tumor Immunity 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e85587.
Toll-like receptor (TLR) mediated recognition of pathogen associated molecular patterns allows the immune system to rapidly respond to a pathogenic insult. The “danger context” elicited by TLR agonists allows an initially non-immunogenic antigen to become immunogenic. This ability to alter environment is highly relevant in tumor immunity, since it is inherently difficult for the immune system to recognize host-derived tumors as immunogenic. However, immune cells may have encountered certain TLR ligands associated with tumor development, yet the endogenous stimulation is typically not sufficient to induce spontaneous tumor rejection. Of special interest are TLR5 agonists, because there are no endogenous ligands that bind TLR5. CBLB502 is a pharmacologically optimized TLR5 agonist derived from Salmonella enterica flagellin. We examined the effect of CBLB502 on tumor immunity using two syngeneic lymphoma models, both of which do not express TLR5, and thus do not directly respond to CBLB502. Upon challenge with the T-cell lymphoma RMAS, CBLB502 treatment after tumor inoculation protects C57BL/6 mice from death caused by tumor growth. This protective effect is both natural killer (NK) cell- and perforin-dependent. In addition, CBLB502 stimulates clearance of the B-cell lymphoma A20 in BALB/c mice in a CD8+ T cell-dependent fashion. Analysis on the cellular level via ImageStream flow cytometry reveals that CD11b+ and CD11c+ cells, but neither NK nor T cells, directly respond to CBLB502 as determined by NFκB nuclear translocation. Our findings demonstrate that CBLB502 stimulates a robust antitumor response by directly activating TLR5-expressing accessory immune cells, which in turn activate cytotoxic lymphocytes.
PMCID: PMC3891810  PMID: 24454895
17.  Dual involvement of Caspase-4 in Inflammatory and ER Stress-induced Apoptotic Responses in Human Retinal Pigment Epithelial Cells 
To investigate the functional involvement of caspase-4 in human retinal pigment epithelial (hRPE) cells.
Expression and activation of caspase-4 in hRPE cells were measured after stimulation with pro-inflammatory agents IL-1β (2 ng/ml), TNF-α (20 ng/ml), lipopolysaccharide (1000 ng/ml), γ-interferon (500 U/ml), or monocyte co-culture in the absence or presence of immunomodulating agents cyclosporine (3 or 30ng/ml), dexamethasone (10 μM), or IL-10 (100 U/ml), as well as endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress inducers thapsigargin (25 nM) or tunicamycin (3 or 10 μM). The onset of ER stress was determined by expression of GRP78. The Involvement of caspase-4 in inflammation and apoptosis was further examined by treating the cells with caspase-4 inhibitor ZLEVD-fmk, caspase-1 and -4 inhibitor Z-YVAD-fmk and pan-caspase inhibitor Z-VAD-fmk.
Caspase-4 mRNA expression and protein activation were induced by all the pro-inflammatory agents and ER stress inducers tested in this study. Caspase-4 activation was blocked or reduced by dexamethasone, and IL-10. Elevated ER stress by pro-inflammatory agents and ER stress inducers was shown by increased expression of the ER stress marker GRP78. The induced caspase-4 and caspase-3 activities by tunicamycin, and the stimulated IL-8 protein expression by IL-1β were markedly reduced by caspase-4 inhibitor Z-LEVD-fmk. While caspase-4 inhibitor Z-LEVD-fmk and caspase-1 and -4 inhibitor Z-YVAD-fmk reduced tunicamycin-induced hRPE apoptotic cell death by 59 and 86%, respectively, pan-caspase inhibitor Z-VAD-fmk completely abolished the induced apoptosis.
Caspase-4 is dually involved in hRPE pro-inflammatory and proapoptotic responses. Various pro-inflammatory stimuli and ER stress induce hRPE caspase-4 mRNA synthesis and protein activation. The ER stress-induced hRPE cell death is caspase- and, in part, caspase-4-dependent.
PMCID: PMC3208232  PMID: 19643964
18.  Macrophages Require Constitutive NF-κB Activation To Maintain A1 Expression and Mitochondrial Homeostasis 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2000;20(23):8855-8865.
NF-κB is a critical mediator of macrophage inflammatory responses, but its role in regulating macrophage survival has yet to be elucidated. Here, we demonstrate that constitutive NF-κB activation is essential for macrophage survival. Blocking the constitutive activation of NF-κB with pyrrolidine dithiocarbamate or expression of IκBα induced apoptosis in macrophagelike RAW 264.7 cells and primary human macrophages. This apoptosis was independent of additional death-inducing stimuli, including Fas ligation. Suppression of NF-κB activation induced a time-dependent loss of mitochondrial transmembrane potential (ΔΨm) and DNA fragmentation. Examination of initiator caspases revealed the cleavage of caspase 9 but not caspase 8 or the effector caspase 3. Addition of a general caspase inhibitor, z-VAD.fmk, or a specific caspase 9 inhibitor reduced DNA fragmentation but had no effect on ΔΨm collapse, indicating this event was caspase independent. To determine the pathway leading to mitochondrial dysfunction, analysis of Bcl-2 family members established that only A1 mRNA levels were reduced prior to ΔΨm loss and that ectopic expression of A1 protected against cell death following inactivation of NF-κB. These data suggest that inhibition of NF-κB in macrophages initiates caspase 3-independent apoptosis through reduced A1 expression and mitochondrial dysfunction. Thus, constitutive NF-κB activation preserves macrophage viability by maintaining A1 expression and mitochondrial homeostasis.
PMCID: PMC116114  PMID: 11073986
19.  Caspase Inhibitors Protect Neurons by Enabling Selective Necroptosis of Inflamed Microglia* 
The Journal of Biological Chemistry  2013;288(13):9145-9152.
Background: Caspase-8 signaling can mediate apoptosis or survival depending on the cellular context.
Results: Inflamed microglia survive because of caspase-dependent suppression of RIPK1-mediated necroptosis for survival.
Conclusion: Caspase inhibition rescues neurons by triggering necroptosis of neurotoxic inflamed microglia.
Significance: We demonstrate a novel neuroprotective mechanism of caspase inhibitors, namely killing of neurotoxic microglia by necroptosis.
Microglia are resident brain macrophages, which can cause neuronal loss when activated in infectious, ischemic, traumatic, and neurodegenerative diseases. Caspase-8 has both prodeath and prosurvival roles, mediating apoptosis and/or preventing RIPK1-mediated necroptosis depending on cell type and stimulus. We found that inflammatory stimuli (LPS, lipoteichoic acid, or TNF-α) caused an increase in caspase-8 IETDase activity in primary rat microglia without inducing apoptosis. Inhibition of caspase-8 with either Z-VAD-fmk or IETD-fmk resulted in necrosis of activated microglia. Inhibition of caspases with Z-VAD-fmk did not kill non-activated microglia, or astrocytes and neurons in any condition. Necrostatin-1, a specific inhibitor of RIPK1, prevented microglial caspase inhibition-induced death, indicating death was by necroptosis. In mixed cerebellar cultures of primary neurons, astrocytes, and microglia, LPS induced neuronal loss that was prevented by inhibition of caspase-8 (resulting in microglial necroptosis), and neuronal death was restored by rescue of microglia with necrostatin-1. We conclude that the activation of caspase-8 in inflamed microglia prevents their death by necroptosis, and thus, caspase-8 inhibitors may protect neurons in the inflamed brain by selectively killing activated microglia.
PMCID: PMC3610987  PMID: 23386613
Apoptosis; Caspase; Cell Death; Microglia; Necrosis (Necrotic Death); Necroptosis; Neurodegeneration; Neuroinflammation; Neuron; Phagoptosis
20.  Tumor Necrosis Factor-Related Apoptosis-Inducing Ligand Induces Caspase-Dependent Interleukin-8 Expression and Apoptosis in Human Astroglioma Cells 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2002;22(3):724-736.
Among the tumor necrosis factor (TNF) family of cytokines, FasL and TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) are known to induce cell death via caspase activation. Recently, other biological functions of these death ligands have been postulated in vitro and in vivo. It was previously shown that Fas ligation induces chemokine expression in human glioma cells. In this study, we investigated whether the TRAIL-DR5 system transduces signals similar to those induced by other TNF family ligands and receptors. To address this issue, two human glioma cell lines, CRT-MG and U87-MG, were used, and an agonistic antibody against DR5 (TRA-8) and human recombinant TRAIL were used to ligate DR5. We demonstrate that DR5 ligation by either TRAIL or TRA-8 induces two functional outcomes, apoptosis and expression of the chemokine interleukin-8 (IL-8); the nonspecific caspase inhibitor Boc-D-Fmk blocks both TRAIL-mediated cell death and IL-8 production; the caspase 3-specific inhibitor z-DEVD-Fmk suppresses TRAIL-mediated apoptosis but not IL-8 induction; caspase 1- and 8-specific inhibitors block both TRAIL-mediated cell death and IL-8 production; and DR5 ligation by TRAIL mediates AP-1 and NF-κB activation, which can be inhibited by caspase 1- and 8-specific inhibitors. These findings collectively indicate that DR5 ligation on human glioma cells leads to apoptosis and that the activation of AP-1 and NF-κB leads to the induction of IL-8 expression; these responses are dependent on caspase activation. Therefore, the TRAIL-DR5 system has a role not only as an inducer of apoptotic cell death but also as a tranducer for proinflammatory and angiogenic signals in human brain tumors.
PMCID: PMC133544  PMID: 11784850
21.  Non-apoptotic function of caspases in a cellular model of hydrogen peroxide-associated colitis 
Oxidative stress, caused by reactive oxygen species (ROS), is a major contributor to inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)-associated neoplasia. We mimicked ROS exposure of the epithelium in IBD using non-tumour human colonic epithelial cells (HCEC) and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). A population of HCEC survived H2O2-induced oxidative stress via JNK-dependent cell cycle arrests. Caspases, p21WAF1 and γ-H2AX were identified as JNK-regulated proteins. Up-regulation of caspases was linked to cell survival and not, as expected, to apoptosis. Inhibition using the pan-caspase inhibitor Z-VAD-FMK caused up-regulation of γ-H2AX, a DNA-damage sensor, indicating its negative regulation via caspases. Cell cycle analysis revealed an accumulation of HCEC in the G1-phase as first response to oxidative stress and increased S-phase population and then apoptosis as second response following caspase inhibition. Thus, caspases execute a non-apoptotic function by promoting cells through G1- and S-phase by overriding the G1/S- and intra-S checkpoints despite DNA-damage. This led to the accumulation of cells in the G2/M-phase and decreased apoptosis. Caspases mediate survival of oxidatively damaged HCEC via γ-H2AX suppression, although its direct proteolytic inactivation was excluded. Conversely, we found that oxidative stress led to caspase-dependent proteolytic degradation of the DNA-damage checkpoint protein ATM that is upstream of γ-H2AX. As a consequence, undetected DNA-damage and increased proliferation were found in repeatedly H2O2-exposed HCEC. Such features have been associated with neoplastic transformation and appear here to be mediated by a non-apoptotic function of caspases. Overexpression of upstream p-JNK in active ulcerative colitis also suggests a potential importance of this pathway in vivo.
PMCID: PMC3822895  PMID: 23742011
hydrogen peroxide-associated colitis; DNA-damage checkpoints; non-apoptotic caspase function; JNK-dependent cell cycle arrests; inflammation; neoplastic transformation; ATM degradation; γ-H2AX
22.  Cytokine Secretion by Genetically Modified Nonimmunogenic Murine Fibrosarcoma 
Recent investigations have demonstrated that the in vivo growth of weakly immunogenic murine tumors can be inhibited by genetic manipulations that enable them to secrete a variety of cytokines. Inasmuch as most human tumors fail to elicit a detectable host immune response we questioned whether the growth of a nonimmunogenic murine tumor could be inhibited by the secretion of cytokines. We have thus inserted the cDNA encoding for human IL-2 or TNF into the nonimmunogenic murine fibrosarcoma MCA 102. Tumor cells secreting IL-2 failed to grow in vivo despite normal in vitro growth. This growth inhibition required an intact immune system as tumors grew progressively in mice sublethally irradiated before tumor injection. Tumor inhibition was abrogated by the in vivo depletion, by specific mAb before tumor injection, of either CD8+ T cells or NK cells, but not CD4+ T cells. IL-2 secretion by tumor afforded a significant survival benefit to the animal, and IL-2-secreting tumor limited the growth of admixed nonsecreting parental tumor. Histologic evidence and FACS analyses revealed a dense lymphocytic infiltration of IL-2-secreting tumors composed of both CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. In contrast, secretion of TNF failed to inhibit the growth of MCA 102, and similar lymphocyte subset depletions, or administration of specific anti-TNF mAb had no effect on the growth of TNF secreting MCA 102. In summary, these investigations demonstrated that the host response to this nonimmunogenic tumor can be markedly enhanced by the genetic manipulation of the tumor cells to secrete IL-2, but not TNF. This strategy has potential application for the development of immunotherapies for nonimmunogenic tumors.
PMCID: PMC2121323  PMID: 8423345
23.  An Antiviral Peptide Inhibitor That Is Active against Picornavirus 2A Proteinases but Not Cellular Caspases 
Journal of Virology  2006;80(19):9619-9627.
The replication of many viruses is absolutely dependent on proteolytic cleavage. Infected cells also use this biological mechanism to induce programmed cell death in response to viral infection. Specific inhibitors for both viral and cellular proteases are therefore of vital importance. We have recently shown that the general caspase inhibitor zVAD.fmk inhibits not only caspases, but also the 2Apro of human rhinoviruses (HRVs) (L. Deszcz, J. Seipelt, E. Vassilieva, A. Roetzer, and E. Kuechler, FEBS Lett. 560:51-55, 2004). Here, we describe a derivative of zVAD.fmk that inhibits HRV2 2Apro but that has no effect on caspase 9. This gain in specificity was achieved by replacing the aspartic acid of zVAD.fmk with methionine to generate zVAM.fmk. Methionine was chosen because an oligopeptide with methionine at the P1 position was a much better substrate than an oligopeptide with an alanine residue, which is found at the P1 position of the wild-type HRV2 2Apro cleavage site. zVAM.fmk inhibits the replication of HRV type 2 (HRV2), HRV14, and HRV16. In contrast to zVAD.fmk, however, zVAM.fmk did not inhibit apoptosis induced by puromycin in HeLa cells. zVAM.fmk inhibited in vitro the intermolecular cleavage of eukaryotic initiation factor 4GI (eIF4GI) by HRV2 2Apro at nanomolar concentrations. However, much higher concentrations of zVAM.fmk were required to inhibit HRV14 2Apro cleavage of eIF4GI. In contrast, intramolecular self-processing of HRV14 2Apro was much more susceptible to inhibition by zVAM.fmk than that of HRV2 2Apro, suggesting that zVAM.fmk inhibits HRV2 and HRV14 replication by targeting different reactions of the same proteinase.
PMCID: PMC1617246  PMID: 16973565
24.  Sorafenib inhibits ERK1/2 and MCL-1L phosphorylation levels resulting in caspase-independent cell death in malignant pleural mesothelioma 
Cancer biology & therapy  2009;8(24):2406-2416.
Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is an aggressive, rapidly progressive malignancy without effective therapy. We evaluate sorafenib efficacy and impact on the cellular pro-survival machinery in vitro, efficacy of sorafenib as monotherapy and in combination with the naturally occurring death receptor agonist, TRAIL using human MPM cell lines, MSTO-211H, M30, REN, H28, H2052 and H2452. In vitro studies of the six MPM lines demonstrated single agent sensitivity to the multikinase inhibitor sorafenib and resistance to TRAIL. H28 and H2452 demonstrated augmented apoptosis with the addition of TRAIL to sorafenib in vitro. Treated cell lines demonstrated sorafenib-induced rapid dephosphorylation of AKT followed shortly by near complete dephosphorylation of the constitutively phosphorylated ERK1/2. Sorafenib therapy also decreased phosphorylation of B-Raf and mTOR in several cell lines. Within 3 h of sorafenib treatment, a number of known pro-survival molecules were dephosphorylated and/or downregulated in expression including MCL-1L, c-FLIPL, survivin and cIAP 1. These changes and eventual cell death did not elicit significant caspase-3 activation or PARP cleavage and pretreatment with the pan-caspase inhibitor, Z-VAD-FMK, did not block sorafenib efficacy but did block the effect of TRAIL monotherapy. Pre-treatment with Z-VAD-FMK did not block the synergistic effect of TRAIL and sorafenib in H28. In summary, single agent treatment with sorafenib results in widespread inhibition of the pro-survival machinery in vitro leading to cell death via a primarily caspase-independent mechanism. Combining sorafenib therapy with TRAIL, may be useful in order to provide a more efficient death signal and this synergistic effect appears to be caspase-independent. Pilot in vivo data demonstrates promising evidence of therapeutic efficacy in human tumor bearing xenograft nu/nu mice. We document single agent activity of sorafenib against MPM, unravel novel effects of sorafenib on anti-apoptotic signaling mediators, and suggest the combination of sorafenib plus TRAIL as possible therapy for clinical testing in MPM.
PMCID: PMC3052759  PMID: 20038816
mesothelioma; cancer therapy; cell death; sorafenib; MCL-1; imaging; TRAIL; caspase-independent
25.  Radiation-induced immunogenic modulation of tumor enhances antigen processing and calreticulin exposure, resulting in enhanced T-cell killing 
Oncotarget  2013;5(2):403-416.
Radiation therapy (RT) is used for local tumor control through direct killing of tumor cells. Radiation-induced cell death can trigger tumor antigen-specific immune responses, but these are often noncurative. Radiation has been demonstrated to induce immunogenic modulation (IM) in various tumor types by altering the biology of surviving cells to render them more susceptible to T cell-mediated killing. Little is known about the mechanism(s) underlying IM elicited by sub-lethal radiation dosing. We have examined the molecular and immunogenic consequences of radiation exposure in breast, lung, and prostate human carcinoma cells. Radiation induced secretion of ATP and HMGB1 in both dying and surviving tumor cells. In vitro and in vivo tumor irradiation induced significant upregulation of multiple components of the antigen-processing machinery and calreticulin cell-surface expression. Augmented CTL lysis specific for several tumor-associated antigens was largely dictated by the presence of calreticulin on the surface of tumor cells and constituted an adaptive response to endoplasmic reticulum stress, mediated by activation of the unfolded protein response.
This study provides evidence that radiation induces a continuum of immunogenic alterations in tumor biology, from immunogenic modulation to immunogenic cell death. We also expand the concept of immunogenic modulation, where surviving tumor cells recovering from radiation-induced endoplasmic reticulum stress become more sensitive to CTL killing. These observations offer a rationale for the combined use of radiation with immunotherapy, including for patients failing RT alone.
PMCID: PMC3964216  PMID: 24480782
radiation; immunogenic modulation; antigen-processing machinery; calreticulin; CTL; ER stress; PERK; TAP1; TAP2; calnexin; tapasin; LMP2; LMP7; LMP10

Results 1-25 (1008109)