The importance of immune responses in the control of melanoma growth is well known. However, the implication of these antitumor immune responses in the efficacy of dacarbazine, a cytotoxic drug classically used in the treatment of melanoma, remains poorly understood in humans.
In this prospective observational study, we performed an immunomonitoring of eleven metastatic or locally advanced patients treated with dacarbazine as a first line of treatment. We assessed by flow cytometry lymphoid populations and their activation state; we also isolated NK cells to perform in vitro cytotoxicity tests.
We found that chemotherapy induces lymphopenia and that a significantly higher numbers of naïve CD4+ T cells and lower proportion of Treg before chemotherapy are associated with disease control after dacarbazine treatment. Interestingly, NK cell cytotoxicity against dacarbazine-pretreated melanoma cells is only observed in NK cells from patients who achieved disease control.
Together, our data pinpoint that some immune factors could help to predict the response of melanoma patients to dacarbazine. Future larger scale studies are warranted to test their validity as prediction markers.
Cyclophosphamide is one of several clinically important cancer drugs whose therapeutic efficacy is due in part to their ability to stimulate anti-tumor immune responses. Studying mouse models, we demonstrate that cyclophosphamide alters the composition of microbiota in the small intestine and induces the translocation of selected species of Gram+ bacteria into secondary lymphoid organs. There, these bacteria stimulate the generation of a specific subset of “pathogenic” T helper 17 (pTh17) cells and memory Th1 immune responses. Tumor-bearing mice that were germ-free or that had been treated with antibiotics to kill Gram+ bacteria showed a reduction in pTh17 responses and their tumors were resistant to cyclophosphamide. Adoptive transfer of pTh17 cells partially restored the anti-tumor efficacy of cyclophosphamide. These results suggest that the gut microbiota help shape the anticancer immune response.
In addition to cytotoxic effects, anticancer agents can exert multiple immunomodulatory functions. We have recently described the molecular mechanisms whereby bleomycin can 1) promote endoplasmic reticulum stress, causing the immunogenic death of cancer cells and hence strengthening antitumor CD8+ T cell responses; and 2) induce the secretion of transforming growth factor β (TGFβ), which stimulates regulatory T cells. This suggests that bleomycin may be favorably combined with TGFβ-targeting strategies.
bleomycine; transforming growth factor beta; regulatory T cells; immunogenic cell death; mouse study
Bleomycin (BLM) is an anticancer drug currently used for the treatment of testis cancer and Hodgkin lymphoma. This drug triggers cancer cell death via its capacity to generate radical oxygen species (ROS). However, the putative contribution of anticancer immune responses to the efficacy of BLM has not been evaluated. We make here the observation that BLM induces immunogenic cell death. In particular, BLM is able to induce ROS-mediated reticulum stress and autophagy, which result in the surface exposure of chaperones, including calreticulin and ERp57, and liberation of HMBG1 and ATP. BLM induces anti-tumor immunity which relies on calreticulin, CD8+ T cells and interferon-γ. We also find that, in addition to its capacity to trigger immunogenic cell death, BLM induces expansion of Foxp3+ regulatory T (Treg) cells via its capacity to induce transforming growth factor beta (TGFβ) secretion by tumor cells. Accordingly, Treg cells or TGFβ depletion dramatically potentiates the antitumor effect of BLM. We conclude that BLM induces both anti-tumor CD8+ T cell response and a counteracting Treg proliferation. In the future, TGFβ or Treg inhibition during BLM treatment could greatly enhance BLM anti-tumor efficacy.
Melanoma is a highly chemoresistant and metastatic tumor that, in the absence of BRAF mutations, is generally treated with the alkylating agent dacarbazine (DTIC). We discovered that DTIC upregulates the expression of NKG2D ligands on tumor cells, leading to the activation of natural killer (NK) and CD8+ T cells. These observations underscore the immunogenic properties of DTIC and provide a rationale to combine DTIC with immunotherapeutic agents.
B16; NK cells; NKG2D; dacarbazine; melanoma
Cytotoxic anticancer drugs can promote antitumor immune responses. The anticancer activity of 5-fluorouracil (5FU) relies on the restoration of T-cell immunity following the elimination of myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs). We have recently discovered that the 5FU-driven activation of the NLRP3 inflammasome in MDSCs promotes tumor angiogenesis by eliciting TH17 responses that compromise anticancer immunity. This underscores the need to combine 5-FU with NLRP3 inhibitors to prevent tumor progression.
IL1; NLRP3; fluorouracil; inflammasome; myeloid derived suppressor cells
Cancer growth is controlled by cancer cells (cell intrinsic phenomenon), but also by the immune cells in the tumor microenvironment (cell extrinsic phenomenon). Thus cancer progression is mediated by the activation of transcription programs responsible for cancer cell proliferation, but also induced proliferation/activation of immunosuppressive cells such as Th17, Treg or myeloid derived suppressor cells (MDSCs). One of the key transcription factors involved in these pathways is the signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3). In this review we will focus on STAT3 activation in immune cells, and how it impacts on tumor progression.
MDSC; STAT3; T helpers; Th17; Treg; cancer; dendritic cells; immune response; macrophages
It is now well known that tumor immunosurveillance contributes to the control of cancer growth. Many mechanisms can be used by cancer cells to avoid the antitumor immune response. One such mechanism relies on the capacity of cancer cells or more generally of the tumor microenvironment to generate adenosine, a major molecule involved in antitumor T cell response suppression. Adenosine is generated by the dephosphorylation of extracellular ATP released by dying tumor cells. The conversion of ATP into adenosine is mediated by ectonucleotidase molecules, namely, CD73 and CD39. These molecules are frequently expressed in the tumor bed by a wide range of cells including tumor cells, regulatory T cells, Th17 cells, myeloid cells, and stromal cells. Recent evidence suggests that targeting adenosine by inhibiting ectonucleotidases may restore the resident antitumor immune response or enhance the efficacy of antitumor therapies. This paper will underline the impact of adenosine and ectonucleotidases on the antitumor response.
Anaplastic oligodendrogliomas (AOD) are rare glial tumors in adults with relative homogeneous clinical, radiological and histological features at the time of diagnosis but dramatically various clinical courses. Studies have identified several molecular abnormalities with clinical or biological relevance to AOD (e.g. t(1;19)(q10;p10), IDH1, IDH2, CIC and FUBP1 mutations).
To better characterize the clinical and biological behavior of this tumor type, the creation of a national multicentric network, named “Prise en charge des OLigodendrogliomes Anaplasiques (POLA),” has been supported by the Institut National du Cancer (InCA). Newly diagnosed and centrally validated AOD patients and their related biological material (tumor and blood samples) were prospectively included in the POLA clinical database and tissue bank, respectively.
At the molecular level, we have conducted a high-resolution single nucleotide polymorphism array analysis, which included 83 patients. Despite a careful central pathological review, AOD have been found to exhibit heterogeneous genomic features. A total of 82% of the tumors exhibited a 1p/19q-co-deletion, while 18% harbor a distinct chromosome pattern. Novel focal abnormalities, including homozygously deleted, amplified and disrupted regions, have been identified. Recurring copy neutral losses of heterozygosity (CNLOH) inducing the modulation of gene expression have also been discovered. CNLOH in the CDKN2A locus was associated with protein silencing in 1/3 of the cases. In addition, FUBP1 homozygous deletion was detected in one case suggesting a putative tumor suppressor role of FUBP1 in AOD.
Our study showed that the genomic and pathological analyses of AOD are synergistic in detecting relevant clinical and biological subgroups of AOD.
A better identification of patients who are more likely to benefit from vascular endothelial growth factor–targeted therapy is warranted in metastatic renal cell carcinoma. High VFA could be a predictive biomarker from shorter survival in patients given first-line antiangiogenic agents for metastatic renal cell carcinoma.
A better identification of patients who are more likely to benefit from vascular endothelial growth factor–targeted therapy is warranted in metastatic renal cell carcinoma (mRCC). As adipose tissue releases angiogenic factors, we determined whether parameters such as visceral fat area (VFA) were associated with outcome in these patients.
In 113 patients with mRCC who received antiangiogenic agents (bevacizumab, sunitinib, or sorafenib) (n = 64) or cytokines (n = 49) as first-line treatment, we used computed tomography to measure VFA and subcutaneous fat area (SFA). We evaluated associations linking body mass index (BMI), SFA, and VFA to time to progression (TTP) and overall survival (OS).
High SFA and VFA values were significantly associated with shorter TTP and OS. By multivariate analysis, high VFA was independently associated with shorter TTP and OS. These results were internally validated using bootstrap analysis. By contrast, VFA was not associated with survival in the cytokine group. In the whole population, interaction between VFA and treatment group was significant for TTP and OS, thereby confirming the results.
Our study provides the first evidence that high VFA could be a predictive biomarker from shorter survival in patients given first-line antiangiogenic agents for mRCC.
Antiangiogenic agents; Renal cell carcinoma; Visceral fat
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.
The best method to deliver intraperitoneal chemotherapy (IPC) for peritoneal carcinomatosis from ovarian cancer is not well defined. The aim of this study was to assess the ability of hyperthermia and adrenaline to enhance the intratumoral accumulation of cisplatin in a rat model of peritoneal carcinomatosis.
Four groups of 5 BDIX rats with ovarian peritoneal carcinomatosis underwent IPC with 30 mg/l of cisplatin according to the following conditions: normothermia at 37° for 1 or 2 hours, hyperthermia at 42°C for 1 hour or normothermia at 37°C for 2 hours with 2 mg/l adrenaline. Tissue platinum content was measured by atomic absorption spectroscopy. The effect of hyperthermia, adrenaline and the duration of exposure to the drug was measured in vivo (tissue concentration of platinum in tumor, abdominal and extra abdominal tissues) and in vitro (cytotoxicity on human ovarian cancer cells).
In vitro, hyperthermia and longer exposure enhanced the accumulation and the cytotoxic effect of cisplatin on cancer cells. In vivo, only the 2 hours treatment with adrenaline resulted in increased platinum concentrations. The rats treated with adrenaline showed significantly lower concentrations of cisplatin in extra peritoneal tissues than those treated with hyperthermia.
Adrenaline is more effective than hyperthermia in order to enhance the intratumoral concentration of cisplatin in rats with peritoneal carcinomatosis from ovarian origin. It may also decrease the systemic absorption of the drug.
Hepatic arterial infusion (HAI) of chemotherapy can be performed in cases of liver-confined metastatic disease, resulting in increased local drug concentrations. Here we report the case of a 61-year-old man who presented with an isolated large unresectable liver metastasis of colon cancer after failure of surgery and multiple administration of systemic chemotherapy. The patient was treated with a combination of gemcitabine and oxaliplatin using HAI. The tolerance was excellent and a radiological complete response was obtained after 8 cycles of HAI. The rationale for the use of gemcitabine and oxaliplatin as well as that for the combination of the 2 drugs is discussed in this paper. HAI of gemcitabine-oxaliplatin should be evaluated in further clinical trials.
Hepatic artery; Chemotherapy; Colon cancer; Liver metastasis; Gemcitabine; Oxaliplatin; Contrast media; Computed tomography
Myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) have been identified in humans and mice as a population of immature myeloid cells with the ability to suppress T cell activation. They accumulate in tumor-bearing mice and humans and have been shown to contribute to cancer development. Here, we have isolated tumor-derived exosomes (TDEs) from mouse cell lines and shown that an interaction between TDE-associated Hsp72 and MDSCs determines the suppressive activity of the MDSCs via activation of Stat3. In addition, tumor-derived soluble factors triggered MDSC expansion via activation of Erk. TDE-associated Hsp72 triggered Stat3 activation in MDSCs in a TLR2/MyD88-dependent manner through autocrine production of IL-6. Importantly, decreasing exosome production using dimethyl amiloride enhanced the in vivo antitumor efficacy of the chemotherapeutic drug cyclophosphamide in 3 different mouse tumor models. We also demonstrated that this mechanism is relevant in cancer patients, as TDEs from a human tumor cell line activated human MDSCs and triggered their suppressive function in an Hsp72/TLR2-dependent manner. Further, MDSCs from cancer patients treated with amiloride, a drug used to treat high blood pressure that also inhibits exosome formation, exhibited reduced suppressor functions. Collectively, our findings show in both mice and humans that Hsp72 expressed at the surface of TDEs restrains tumor immune surveillance by promoting MDSC suppressive functions.
Tumors that progress do so via their ability to escape the antitumor immune response through several mechanisms, including developing ways to induce the differentiation and/or recruitment of CD4+CD25+ Tregs. The Tregs, in turn, inhibit the cytotoxic function of T cells and NK cells, but whether they have an effect on the cytotoxic function of tumor-infiltrating DCs (TIDCs) has not been determined. Here we have shown, in 2 rodent models of colon cancer, that CD4+CD25+ Tregs inhibit the ability of CD11b+ TIDCs to mediate TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand–induced (TRAIL-induced) tumor cell death. In both models of cancer, combination treatment with Mycobacterium bovis Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG), which activates the innate immune system via TLR2, TLR4, and TLR9, and cyclophosphamide (CTX), which depletes Tregs, eradicated the tumors. Further analysis revealed that the treatment led to a marked increase in the number of CD11b+ TIDCs that killed the tumor cells via a TRAIL-dependent mechanism. Furthermore, acquisition of TRAIL expression by the CD11b+ TIDCs was induced by BCG and dependent on signaling through TLR2, TLR4, and TLR9. In vivo transfer of Tregs abrogated the ability of BCG to induce CD11b+ TIDCs to express TRAIL and thereby nullified the efficacy of the CTX-BCG treatment. Our data have therefore delineated what we believe to be a novel mechanism by which Tregs inhibit the antitumor immune response.
Although the impact of tumor immunology on the clinical management of most cancers is still negligible, there is increasing evidence that anticancer immune responses may contribute to the control of cancer after conventional chemotherapy. Thus, radiotherapy and some chemotherapeutic agents, in particular anthracyclines, can induce specific immune responses that result either in immunogenic cancer cell death or in immunostimulatory side effects. This anticancer immune response then helps to eliminate residual cancer cells (those that fail to be killed by chemotherapy) or maintains micrometastases in a stage of dormancy. Based on these premises, in this Review we address the question, How may it be possible to ameliorate conventional therapies by stimulating the anticancer immune response? Moreover, we discuss the rationale of clinical trials to evaluate and eventually increase the contribution of antitumor immune responses to the therapeutic management of neoplasia.
Systemic anticancer chemotherapy is immunosuppressive and mostly induces nonimmunogenic tumor cell death. Here, we show that even in the absence of any adjuvant, tumor cells dying in response to anthracyclins can elicit an effective antitumor immune response that suppresses the growth of inoculated tumors or leads to the regression of established neoplasia. Although both antracyclins and mitomycin C induced apoptosis with caspase activation, only anthracyclin-induced immunogenic cell death was immunogenic. Caspase inhibition by Z-VAD-fmk or transfection with the baculovirus inhibitor p35 did not inhibit doxorubicin (DX)-induced cell death, yet suppressed the immunogenicity of dying tumor cells in several rodent models of neoplasia. Depletion of dendritic cells (DCs) or CD8+T cells abolished the immune response against DX-treated apoptotic tumor cells in vivo. Caspase inhibition suppressed the capacity of DX-killed cells to be phagocytosed by DCs, yet had no effect on their capacity to elicit DC maturation. Freshly excised tumors became immunogenic upon DX treatment in vitro, and intratumoral inoculation of DX could trigger the regression of established tumors in immunocompetent mice. These results delineate a procedure for the generation of cancer vaccines and the stimulation of anti-neoplastic immune responses in vivo.
Tumor growth promotes the expansion of CD4+CD25+ regulatory T (T reg) cells that counteract T cell–mediated immune responses. An inverse correlation between natural killer (NK) cell activation and T reg cell expansion in tumor-bearing patients, shown here, prompted us to address the role of T reg cells in controlling innate antitumor immunity. Our experiments indicate that human T reg cells expressed membrane-bound transforming growth factor (TGF)–β, which directly inhibited NK cell effector functions and down-regulated NKG2D receptors on the NK cell surface. Adoptive transfer of wild-type T reg cells but not TGF-β−/− T reg cells into nude mice suppressed NK cell–mediated cytotoxicity, reduced NKG2D receptor expression, and accelerated the growth of tumors that are normally controlled by NK cells. Conversely, the depletion of mouse T reg cells exacerbated NK cell proliferation and cytotoxicity in vivo. Human NK cell–mediated tumor recognition could also be restored by depletion of T reg cells from tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes. These findings support a role for T reg cells in blunting the NK cell arm of the innate immune system.
The mechanisms through which regulatory T cells accumulate in lymphoid organs of tumor-bearing hosts remain elusive. Our experiments indicate that the accumulation of CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells (T reg cells) expressing FoxP3 and exhibiting immunosuppressive function originates from the proliferation of naturally occurring CD25+ T cells and requires signaling through transforming growth factor (TGF)–β receptor II. During tumor progression, a subset of dendritic cells (DCs) exhibiting a myeloid immature phenotype is recruited to draining lymph nodes. This DC subset selectively promotes the proliferation of T reg cells in a TGF-β–dependent manner in mice and rats. Tumor cells are necessary and sufficient to convert DCs into regulatory cells that secrete bioactive TGF-β and stimulate T reg cell proliferation. In conclusion, tumor expansion can stimulate T reg cells via a specific DC subset.