Dendritic cells (DCs) are the most powerful immunostimulatory cells specialized in the induction and regulation of immune responses. Their properties and the feasibility of their large-scale ex vivo generation led to the application of ex vivo-educated DCs to bypass the dysfunction of endogenous DCs in cancer patients and to induce therapeutic anti-cancer immunity. While multiple paradigms of therapeutic application of DCs reflect their consideration as cancer “vaccines”, numerous features of DC-based vaccination resemble those of autologous transplants, resulting in challenges and opportunities that distinguish them from classical vaccines. In addition to the functional heterogeneity of DC subsets and plasticity of the individual DC types, the unique features of DCs are the kinetic character of their function, limited functional stability, and the possibilitytoimprint in maturing DCs distinct functions relevant for the induction of effective cancer immunity, such as the induction of different effector functions or different homing properties of tumor-specific T cells (delivery of “signal 3” and “signal 4”). These considerations highlight the importance of the application of optimized, potentially patient-specific conditions of ex vivo culture of DCs and their delivery, with the logistic and regulatory implications shared with transplantation and other surgical procedures.
Dendritic cells; IL-12; Immunotherapy; Cancer; Vaccines; Cytokines; Chemokines; Chemokine receptors; Th1; CTL; NK; Treg
Noninvasive biomarkers of anti-tumoral efficacy are of great importance to the development of therapeutic agents. Tumor oxygenation has been shown to be an important indicator of therapeutic response. We report the use of intracellular labeling of tumor cells with perfluorocarbon (PFC) molecules, combined with quantitative 19F spin-lattice relaxation rate (R1) measurements, to assay tumor cell oxygen dynamics in situ. In a murine central nervous system (CNS) GL261 glioma model, we visualized the impact of Pmel-1 cytotoxic T cell immunotherapy, delivered intravenously, on intracellular tumor oxygen levels. GL261 glioma cells were labeled ex vivo with PFC and inoculated into the mouse striatum. The R1 of 19F labeled cells was measured using localized single-voxel magnetic resonance spectroscopy, and the absolute intracellular partial pressure of oxygen (pO2) was ascertained. Three days after tumor implantation, mice were treated with 2×107 cytotoxic T cells intravenously. At day five, a transient spike in pO2 was observed indicating an influx of T cells into the CNS and putative tumor cell apoptosis. Immunohistochemistry and quantitative flow cytometry analysis confirmed that the pO2 was causally related to the T cells infiltration. Surprisingly, the pO2 spike was detected even though few (∼4×104) T cells actually ingress into the CNS and with minimal tumor shrinkage. These results indicate the high sensitivity of this approach and its utility as a non-invasive surrogate biomarker of anti-cancer immunotherapeutic response in preclinical models.
We have recently shown that effective cytokine gene therapy of solid tumors in HLA-A2 Tg (HHD) mice lacking murine MHC class I molecule expression results in the generation of HLA-A2-restricted CD8+ T effector cells selectively recognizing tumor blood vessel-associated pericytes and/or vascular endothelial cells (VEC). Using an HHD model in which HLA-A2neg tumor (MC38 colon carcinoma or B16 melanoma) cells are not recognized by the CD8+ T cell repertoire, we now show that vaccines based on tumor-associated blood vessel antigens (TBVA) elicit protective Tc1-dependent immunity capable of mediating tumor regression or extending overall survival. Vaccine efficacy was not observed if (HLA-A2neg) wild-type C57BL/6 mice were instead used as recipient animals. In the HHD model, effective vaccination resulted in profound infiltration of tumor lesions by CD8+ (but not CD4+) T cells, in a coordinate reduction of CD31+ blood vessels in the tumor microenvironment (TME) and in the “spreading” of CD8+ T cell responses to alternate TBVA that were not intrinsic to the vaccine. Protective Tc1-mediated immunity was durable and directly recognized pericytes and/or VEC flow-sorted from tumor tissue, but not from tumor-uninvolved normal kidneys harvested from these same animals. Strikingly, the depletion of CD8+, but not CD4+, T cells at late time points after effective therapy frequently resulted in the recurrence of disease at the site of the regressed primary lesion. This suggests that the vaccine-induced anti-TBVA T cell repertoire can mediate the clinically-preferred outcomes of either effectively eradicating tumors or policing a state of (occult) tumor dormancy.
Vaccine; Pericyte; Vascular Endothelial Cells; Tumor; CD8+ T cells
MicroRNA (miR) are emerging as important gene expression regulators often involved in a variety of pathogenesis such as cancers and autoimmunity. Signal Transducers and Activators of Transcription (STAT) proteins are the principle signaling proteins for many cytokines and growth factors, thereby play a critical role in regulating immune cell homeostasis, differentiation and cellular functions. In this review, we discuss recent advances in the field demonstrating active interactions between STATs and miRs, with our primary focus on the promotion and inhibition of immune cells and cancer. Additionally, we review the reciprocal regulations between STATs and miR, and discuss how we can use this knowledge in the context of diseases. For example, recent findings related to STAT1 and miR-155 support the presence of a positive feedback loop of miR-155 and STAT1 in response to inflammatory signals or infection. STAT3 is known to play critical roles in tumorigenesis and cancer-induced immunosuppression. There is a growing body of evidence demonstrating that STAT3 directly activates miR-21, one of miRs that promote cancer cell survival and proliferation. While some miRs directly regulate STATs, there are findings demonstrating indirect STAT regulation by miRs also mediate important biological mechanisms. Therefore, further research is warranted to elucidate significant contributions made by direct and indirect miR-STAT mechanisms. As we learn more about miR pathways, we gain the opportunity to manipulate them in cancer cells to slow down growth or increase their susceptibility anti-tumor immunity.
miR-17-92; microRNA; STATs; cytokine; chemokine; T cells; B cells; Malignancy
We and others have previously demonstrated that (chronic) IL-12 gene therapy delivered intratumorally via ex vivo gene-engineered DC is competent to promote the regression of established murine tumors. In this report, we have developed a conditional expression system (rAd.RheoIL12) in order to determine the temporal requirements of transgenic IL-12p70 production by administered DC on therapeutic outcome in a subcutaneous B16 melanoma model. DC infected with rAd.RheoIL12 (DC.RheoIL12) secreted IL-12p70 in a tightly-regulated fashion in response to a synthetic diacylhydrazine small molecule ligand in vitro, and the treatment benefit of DC.RheolIL12 delivered into B16 lesions was strictly ligand-dependent in vivo. Indeed, DC.RheoIL12-based therapy promoted the regression of established day 7 B16 tumor lesions after intratumoral injection, provided that ligand administration occurred within 24h of DC injection and was sustained for approximately 5 or more days. Treatment efficacy was correlated to the magnitude of systemic anti-B16 CD8+ T cells cross-primed in vivo, which in turn, appeared dependent on the early enhanced in vivo survival of adoptively-transferred DC.RheoIL12 in tumor and tumor-draining lymph nodes. The unique safety feature of DC.RheoIL12 application was emphasized in a combined treatment model with rIL-2, where profound TNF-α-associated toxicity could be ameliorated upon discontinuation of activating ligand administration.
melanoma; gene therapy; IL-12; conditional; DC
Successful oncolytic virus treatment of malignant glioblastoma multiforme depends on widespread tumor-specific lytic virus replication and escape from mitigating innate immune responses to infection. Here we characterize a new HSV vector, JD0G, that is deleted for ICP0 and the joint sequences separating the unique long and short elements of the viral genome. We observed that JD0G replication was enhanced in certain glioblastoma cell lines compared to HEL cells, suggesting that a vector backbone deleted for ICP0 may be useful for treatment of glioblastoma. The innate immune response to virus infection can potentially impede oncolytic vector replication in human tumors. Indoleamine-2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) is expressed in response to interferon γ (IFNγ) and has been linked to both antiviral functions and to the immune escape of tumor cells. We observed that IFNγ treatment of human glioblastoma cells induced the expression of IDO and that this expression was quelled by infection with both wild-type and JD0G viruses. The role of IDO in inhibiting virus replication and the connection of this protein to the escape of tumor cells from immune surveillance suggest that IDO downregulation by HSV infection may enhance the oncolytic activity of vectors such as JD0G.
Interleukin-17 (IL-17) producing Type17 T-cells, specifically T-helper (Th)17 cells reactive to central nervous system (CNS) autoantigens, manifest a higher migratory capability to the CNS parenchyma compared with other T-cell subpopulations due to their ability to penetrate the blood brain barrier (BBB). In the field of cancer immunotherapy, there are now a number of cell therapy approaches including early studies using T-cells transduced with chimeric antigen receptors in hematologic malignancy, suggesting that the use of T-cells or genetically modified T-cells could have a significant role in effective cancer therapy. However, the successful application of this strategy in solid tumors, such as CNS tumors, requires careful consideration of critical factors to improve the tumor-homing of T-cells. The current review is dedicated to discuss recent findings on the role of Type17 T-cells in CNS autoimmunity and cancer. The insight gained from these findings may lead to the development of novel therapeutic and prophylactic strategies for CNS autoimmunity and tumors.
Th17; IL-17; autoimmunity; central nervous system; multiple sclerosis; gliomas; adoptive transfer therapy
We have previously reported that the single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs12553612 in IFNA8 is associated with better overall survival of glioma patients with the AA-genotype compared with patients with the AC-genotype. As rs12553612 is located in the IFNA8 promoter, we hypothesized that the A-allele allows for an enhanced IFNA8 promoter activity compared with the C-allele. Reporter assays in the human monocyte derived THP-1 cell line demonstrated a superior promoter activity of the A-allele compared with the C-allele. Electrophoretic mobility shift assays (EMSA) further demonstrated that the A-genotype specifically binds to more nuclear proteins than the C-genotype, including the transcription factor Oct-1. Further, co-transfection of plasmids encoding Oct-1 and the reporter constructs revealed that Oct-1 enhanced the promoter activity with the A- but not the C-allele. Taken together, our data demonstrate that the A-allele in the rs12553612 SNP, which is associated with better glioma patient survival, allows for IFNA8 transcription by allowing for Oct-1 binding, which is absent in patients with C allele, and suggests a molecular mechanism of IFNA8 mediated immune-surveillance of glioma progression.
IFNA8; Oct-1; SNPs; glioma; type-1 interferons
Defects in human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class I antigen processing machinery (APM) component expression can have a negative impact on the clinical course of tumors and the response to T-cell-based immunotherapy. Since brain metastases of breast cancer are of increasing clinical significance, the APM component expression levels and CD8+ T-cell infiltration patterns were analyzed in primary breast and metastatic brain lesions of breast cancer by immunohistochemistry. Comparison of unpaired 50 primary and 33 brain metastases showed lower expression of β2-microgloblin, transporter associated with antigen processing (TAP) 1, TAP2 and calnexin in the brain lesions. Although no significant differences were found in APM component scores between primary breast and brain lesions in 15 paired cases, primary breast lesions of which patients eventually developed brain metastases showed lower levels of β2-microgloblin, TAP1 and calnexin compared with breast lesions without known brain metastases. The extent of CD8+ T cell infiltration was significantly higher in the lesions without metastasis compared with the ones with brain metastases, and was positively associated with the expression of TAP1 and calnexin. Furthermore, mouse tumor cells stably transfected with silencing hairpin (sh)RNA for TAP1 demonstrated a decreased susceptibility to cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) in vitro and enhanced spontaneous brain metastasis in vivo. These data support the functional significance of TAP1 expression in tumor cells. Taken together, our data suggest that patients with low or defective TAP1 or calnexin in primary breast cancers may be at higher risks for developing brain metastasis due to the defects in T cell-based immunosurveillance.
breast cancer; brain metastasis; antigen processing machinery (APM) components; CD8+ T cell; transporter associated with antigen processing (TAP)1
Although recent FDA approvals on ipilimumab and sipuleucel-T represent major milestones, the ultimate success of immunotherapy approaches will likely benefit from appropriate combinations with other immunotherapeutic and/or non-immunotherapeutic approaches. However, implementation of ideal combinations in the clinic may still face formidable challenges in regulatory, drug-availability and intellectual property aspects. The 2011 SITC annual meeting hosted a workshop on combination immunotherapy to discuss: 1) the most promising combinations found in the laboratory; 2) early success of combination immunotherapy in clinical trials; 3) industry perspectives on combination approaches, and 4) relevant regulatory issues. The integrated theme was how to accelerate the implementation of efficacious combined immunotherapies for cancer patients. Rodent animal models are providing many examples of synergistic combinations that typically include more than two agents. However, mouse and human immunology differ in a significant number of mechanisms and hence we might be missing opportunities peculiar to humans. Nonetheless, incisive animal experimentation with deep mechanistic insight remains the best compass that we can use to guide our paths in combinatorial immunotherapy. Combination immunotherapy clinical trials are already in progress and preliminary results are extremely promising. As a key to translate promising combinations into clinic, real and “perceived” business and regulatory hurdles were debated. A formidable step forward would be to be able to test combinations of investigational agents prior to individual approval. Taking together the FDA and the industrial perspective on combinatorial immunotherapy, the audience was left with the clear message that this is by no means an impossible task. The general perception is that the road ahead of us is full of combination clinical trials which hopefully will bring clinical benefit to our cancer patients at a fast pace.
Immunotherapy; Combination immunotherapy; Cancer vaccines; Chemotherapy; Anti-CTLA4; Anti-PD/PD-L1
Epidemiological studies have highlighted associations between the regular use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and reduced glioma risks in humans. Most NSAIDs function as cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitors that prevent production of prostaglandin E2 (PGE2). Since PGE2 induces expansion of myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs), we hypothesized that COX-2 blockade would suppress gliomagenesis by inhibiting MDSC development and accumulation in the tumor microenvironment (TME). In mouse models of glioma, treatment with the COX-2 inhibitors acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) or celecoxib inhibited systemic PGE2 production and delayed glioma development. ASA treatment also reduced the MDSC-attracting chemokine CCL2 in the TME along with numbers of CD11b+Ly6GhiLy6Clo granulocytic MDSCs in both the bone marrow and TME. In support of this evidence that COX-2 blockade blocked systemic development of MDSCs and their CCL2-mediated accumulation in the TME, there were defects in these processes in glioma-bearing Cox2-deficient and Ccl2-deficient mice. Conversely, these mice or ASA-treated wild-type mice displayed enhanced expression of CXCL10 and infiltration of cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) in the TME, consistent with a relief of MDSC-mediated immune suppression. Antibody-mediated depletion of MDSCs delayed glioma growth in association with an increase in CXCL10 and CTLs in the TME, underscoring a critical role for MDSCs in glioma development. Lastly, Cxcl10-deficient mice exhibited reduced CTL infiltration of tumors, establishing that CXCL10 limited this pathway of immune suppression. Taken together, our findings show that the COX-2 pathway promotes gliomagenesis by directly supporting systemic development of MDSC and their accumulation in the TME, where they limit CTL infiltration.
A phase I/II trial was performed to evaluate the safety and immunogenicity of a novel vaccination with α-type 1 polarized dendritic cells (αDC1) loaded with synthetic peptides for glioma-associated antigen (GAA) epitopes and administration of polyinosinic-polycytidylic acid [poly(I:C)] stabilized by lysine and carboxymethylcellulose (poly-ICLC) in HLA-A2+ patients with recurrent malignant gliomas. GAAs for these peptides are EphA2, interleukin (IL)-13 receptor-α2, YKL-40, and gp100.
Patients and Methods
Twenty-two patients (13 with glioblastoma multiforme [GBM], five with anaplastic astrocytoma [AA], three with anaplastic oligodendroglioma [AO], and one with anaplastic oligoastrocytoma [AOA]) received at least one vaccination, and 19 patients received at least four vaccinations at two αDC1 dose levels (1 × or 3 × 107/dose) at 2-week intervals intranodally. Patients also received twice weekly intramuscular injections of 20 μg/kg poly-ICLC. Patients who demonstrated positive radiologic response or stable disease without major adverse events were allowed to receive booster vaccines. T-lymphocyte responses against GAA epitopes were assessed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent spot and HLA-tetramer assays.
The regimen was well-tolerated. The first four vaccines induced positive immune responses against at least one of the vaccination-targeted GAAs in peripheral blood mononuclear cells in 58% of patients. Peripheral blood samples demonstrated significant upregulation of type 1 cytokines and chemokines, including interferon-α and CXCL10. Nine (four GBM, two AA, two AO, and one AOA) achieved progression-free status lasting at least 12 months. One patient with recurrent GBM demonstrated sustained complete response. IL-12 production levels by αDC1 positively correlated with time to progression.
These data support safety, immunogenicity, and preliminary clinical activity of poly-ICLC-boosted αDC1-based vaccines.
Tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) and myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) inhibit anti-tumor immune responses and facilitate tumor growth. Precursors for these immune cell populations migrate to the tumor site in response to tumor secretion of chemokines, such as monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1/CCL2), which was originally purified and identified from human gliomas. In syngeneic mouse GL261 glioma and human U87 glioma xenograft models, we evaluated the efficacy of systemic CCL2 blockade by monoclonal antibodies (mAb) targeting mouse and/or human CCL2. Intraperitoneal (i.p.) administration of anti-mouse CCL2 mAb as monotherapy (2 mg/kg/dose, twice a week) significantly, albeit modestly, prolonged the survival of C57BL/6 mice bearing intracranial GL261 glioma (p=0.0033), which was concomitant with a decrease in TAMs and MDSCs in the tumor microenvironment. Similarly, survival was modestly prolonged in severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) mice bearing intracranial human U87 glioma xenografts treated with both anti-human CCL2 mAb and anti-mouse CCL2 antibodies (2 mg/kg/dose for each, twice a week) compared to mice treated with control IgG (p=0.0159). Furthermore, i.p. administration of anti-mouse CCL2 antibody in combination with temozolomide (TMZ) significantly prolonged the survival of C57BL/6 mice bearing GL261 glioma with 8 of 10 treated mice surviving longer than 70 days, while only 3 of 10 mice treated with TMZ and isotype IgG survived longer than 70 days (p=0.0359). These observations provide support for development of mAb-based CCL2 blockade strategies in combination with the current standard TMZ-based chemotherapy for treatment of malignant gliomas.
glioma; chemokine; CCL2; monoclonal antibody; chemotherapy; temozolomide
Endogenously produced microRNAs are predicted to regulate the translation of over two-thirds all human gene transcripts. Certain microRNAs regulate expression of genes that are critically involved in both innate and adaptive immune responses. Immune cells represent a highly attractive target for microRNA gene therapy approaches, as these cells can be isolated, treated and then reintroduced into the patient. In this short review, we discuss how recent discoveries on the roles of microRNAs in immune-regulation will advance the field of cancer immunology and immunotherapy. Targets identified already in T cells include microRNAs, miR-17-92 family, miR-155, and miR-181a. In macrophages, miR-125b, miR-146, and miR-155 act as Pathogen Associated Molecular Pattern Molecule-associated microRNAs and miR-34C and miR-214 as Damage Associated Molecular Pattern Molecules-associated miRs. We have also demonstrated that the ability of tumors to serve as targets for cytolytic effectors is regulated by miR-222 and miR-339.
microRNA; Type-1 helper (Th1); cancer; cancer immunology; high-mobility group box (HMGB)1
STAT1 is the main signal transducer for type I and II IFNs and plays a central role in the regulation of innate and adaptive immune responses. We used Stat1-deficient mice to test the role of donor Stat1 in MHC-matched minor histocompatibility antigen–mismatched (mHA-mismatched) and fully MHC-mismatched models of bone marrow transplantation. Lack of Stat1 in donor splenocytes reduced graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) in both immunogenetic disparities, leading to substantially attenuated morbidity and mortality. Donor Stat1 deficiency resulted in reduced alloantigen-induced activation and expansion of donor T cells and correlated with the expansion of CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ Tregs in vivo. This expansion of Tregs was further confirmed by studies showing that Stat1 deficiency promoted the proliferation, while inhibiting the apoptosis, of natural Tregs, and that absence of Stat1 enhanced the induction of inducible Tregs both in vitro and in vivo. Ex vivo expanded Stat1–/– Tregs were superior to wild-type Tregs in suppressing alloantigen-driven expansion of T cells in vitro and in inhibiting the development of GVHD. These observations demonstrate that Stat1 is a regulator of Tregs and that targeting Stat1 in CD4+ T cells may facilitate in vitro and in vivo expansion of Tregs for therapeutic use.
Ex-vivo-generation and antigen loading of dendritic cells (DCs) from cancer patients helps to bypass the dysfunction of endogenous DCs. It also allows to control the process of DC maturation and to imprint in maturing DCs several functions essential for induction of effective forms of cancer immunity. Recent reports from several groups including ours demonstrate that distinct conditions of DC generation and maturation can prime DCs for preferential interaction with different (effector versus regulatory) subsets of immune cells. Moreover, differentially-generated DCs have been shown to imprint different effector mechanisms in CD4+ and CD8+ T cells (delivery of “signal three”) and to induce their different homing properties (delivery of “signal four”). These developments allow for selective induction of tumor-specific T cells with desirable effector functions and tumor-relevant homing properties and to direct the desirable types of immune cells to tumors.
dendritic cells; IL-12; immunotherapy; cancer; vaccines; cytokines; chemokines; chemokine receptors; Th1; CTL; NK; Treg
We hypothesized that the type-1 interferons (IFNs) would play a pivotal role in anti-glioma immunosurveillance through promotion of type-1 adaptive immunity and suppression of immunoregulatory cells.
We induced de novo gliomas in Ifnar1−/− (deficient for type-1 IFN receptors) or wild type (WT) mice by intracerebroventricuar transfection of NRAS and a short hairpin RNA against P53 using the Sleeping Beauty (SB) transposon system. We analyzed survival of 587 glioma patients for single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in type-1 IFN-related genes.
Ifnar1−/− mice exhibited accelerated tumor growth and death. Analyses of brain tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (BILs) in Ifnar1−/− mice revealed an increase of cells positive for CD11b+Ly6G+ and CD4+FoxP3+, which represent myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) and regulatory T-cells (Tregs), respectively, but a decrease of CD8+ CTLs compared with WT mice. Ifnar1−/− mouse-derived glioma tissues exhibited a decrease in mRNA for the CTL-attracting chemokine CXCL10, but an increase of CCL2 and CCL22, both of which are known to attract immunoregulatory cell populations. Dendritic cells (DCs) generated from the bone marrow of Ifnar1−/− mice failed to function as effective antigen-presenting cells (APCs). Moreover, depletion of Ly6G+ cells prolonged the survival of mice with developing gliomas. Human epidemiological studies revealed that SNPs in IFNAR1 and IFNA8 are associated with significantly altered overall survival of patients with WHO grade 2–3 gliomas.
The novel SB-induced murine glioma model led us to discover a pivotal role for the type-1 IFN pathway in anti-glioma immunosurveillance and relevant human SNPs that may represent novel prognostic markers.
A variety of cancers, including malignant gliomas, overexpress transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β), which helps tumors evade effective immune surveillance through a variety of mechanisms, including inhibition of CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) and enhancing the generation of regulatory T (Treg) cells. We hypothesized that inhibition of TGF-β would improve the efficacy of vaccines targeting glioma-associated antigen (GAA)-derived CTL epitopes by reversal of immunosuppression.
Mice bearing orthotopic GL261 gliomas were treated systemically with a TGF-β neutralizing monoclonal antibody, 1D11, with or without subcutaneous (s.c.) vaccinations of synthetic peptides for GAA-derived CTL epitopes, GARC-1 (77-85) and EphA2 (671-679) emulsified in incomplete Freund's adjuvant.
Mice receiving the combination regimen exhibited significantly prolonged survival compared with mice receiving either 1D11 alone, GAA-vaccines alone or mock-treatments alone. TGF-β neutralization enhanced the systemic induction of antigen-specific CTLs in glioma-bearing mice. Flow cytometric analyses of brain infiltrating lymphocytes revealed that 1D11 treatment suppressed phosphorylation of Smad2, increased GAA-reactive/interferon (IFN)-γ-producing CD8+ T cells, and reduced CD4+/FoxP3+ Treg cells in the glioma microenvironment. Neutralization of TGF-β also up-regulated plasma levels of interleukin (IL)-12, macrophage inflammatory protein-1α and IFN-inducible protein-10, suggesting a systemic promotion of type-1 cytokine/chemokine production. Furthermore, 1D11 treatment up-regulated plasma IL-15 levels and promoted the persistence of GAA-reactive CD8+ T cells in glioma-bearing mice.
These data suggest that systemic inhibition of TGF-β by 1D11 can reverse the suppressive immunological environment of orthotopic tumor-bearing mice both systemically and locally, thereby enhancing the therapeutic efficacy of GAA-vaccines.
Transforming growth factor β; glioma vaccines; type-1 immune response; regulatory T cells
Murine CD4+ T cells cultured under Type-1 polarizing conditions selectively express significantly higher levels of the VLA-4 and VLA-6 integrins when compared to T cells cultured under Type-2 or non-polarizing (Type-0) conditions. This difference appears due to the action of IL-4, since loss of VLA-4/-6 expression on Th cells was prevented by inclusion of neutralizing anti-IL-4 mAb during the initial culture period. We also observed that CD4+ T cells deficient in Stat6, a critical component of the IL-4R signaling cascade, retained high levels of VLA-4 and VLA-6 expression, regardless IL-4 status in culture conditions. When applied to committed Th1 cells, rIL-4 readily inhibited VLA-4 and VLA-6 expression to levels observed for Th2 cells, without altering the Type-1 functional status of these cells. Conversely, low levels of VLA-4/-6 expressed by committed Th2 cells could not be resurrected by culture in the presence of the Th1-kines IL-12p70 and IFN-γ. Predictably, among the Th populations evaluated, Th1 cells alone adhered efficiently to, and were co-stimulated by, plate-bound VCAM-1 and laminin in a VLA-4- or VLA-6-dependent manner, respectively. Finally, adoptive-transferred Th1 (but not Th2) cells developed from OT-II mice were uniquely competent to traffick into OVA+ M05 melanoma lesions in vivo, thereby enhancing the therapeutic benefits associated with co-transferred OVA-specific Tc1 (OT-I) cells. These data suggest that treatment strategies capable of sustaining/enhancing VLA-4/-6 expression on Th1 effector cells may yield improved clinical efficacy in the cancer setting.
VLA-4; VLA-6; IL-4; T helper-1; melanoma
Stimulation of double-stranded (ds)RNA receptors can increase the effectiveness of cancer vaccines, but the underlying mechanisms are not completely elucidated. In this study, we sought to determine critical roles of host IFN-α and IFN-γ pathways in the enhanced therapeutic efficacy mediated by peptide-vaccines and polyinosinic-polycytidylic acid (poly[I:C]) stabilized by lysine and carboxymethylcellulose (poly-ICLC) in the murine central nervous system (CNS) GL261 glioma. C57BL/6-background wild type (WT), IFN-α receptor-1 (IFN-αR1)−/− or IFN-γ−/− mice bearing syngeneic CNS GL261 glioma received subcutaneous (s.c.) vaccinations with synthetic peptides encoding CTL epitopes with or without intramuscular (i.m.) injections of poly-ICLC. The combinational treatment induced a robust transcription of CXCL10 in the glioma site. Blockade of CXCL10 with a specific monoclonal antibody (mAb) abrogated the efficient CNS homing of antigen-specific type-1 CTL (Tc1). Both IFN-αR1−/− and IFN-γ−/− hosts failed to up-regulate the CXCL10 mRNA and recruit Tc1 cells to the tumor site, indicating non-redundant roles of type-1 and type-2 IFNs in the effects of poly-ICLC-assisted vaccines. The efficient trafficking of Tc1 also required Tc1-derived IFN-γ. Our data point to critical roles of the host-IFN-α and IFN-γ pathways in the modulation of CNS glioma microenvironment, and the therapeutic effectiveness of poly-ICLC-assisted glioma vaccines.
CNS glioma; poly-ICLC; glioma vaccine; type-1 immune response; chemokine
In contrast to the well-established efficacy of preventive vaccines, the effectiveness of therapeutic vaccines remains limited. To develop effective vaccination regimens against cancer, we have analyzed the effect of effector and memory CD8+ T cells on the ability of dendritic cells to mediate the immunologic and antitumor effects of vaccination. We show that in contrast to effector CD8+ T cells that kill antigen-carrying dendritic cells, IFNγ-producing memory CD8+ T cells act as “helper” cells, supporting the ability of dendritic cells to produce interleukin-12 (IL-12) p70. Promoting the interaction of tumor antigen-carrying dendritic cells with memory-type “heterologous” (tumor-irrelevant) CD8+ T cells strongly enhances the IL-12p70-dependent immunogenic and therapeutic effects of vaccination in the animals bearing established tumors. Our data show that the suppressive and helper functions of CD8+ T cells are differentially expressed at different phases of CD8+ T-cell responses. Selective performance of helper functions by memory (in contrast to effector) CD8+ T cells helps to explain the phenomenon of immune memory and facilitates the design of effective therapeutic vaccines against cancer and chronic infections.
Type-1 T cells are critical for effective anti-tumor immune responses. The recently discovered microRNAs (miRs) are a large family of small regulatory RNAs that control diverse aspects of cell function, including immune regulation. We identified miRs differentially regulated between type-1 and type-2 T cells, and determined how the expression of such miRs is regulated.
We performed miR microarray analyses on in vitro differentiated murine T helper type-1 (Th1) and T helper type-2 (Th2) cells to identify differentially expressed miRs. We used quantitative RT-PCR to confirm the differential expression levels. We also used WST-1, ELISA, and flow cytometry to evaluate the survival, function and phenotype of cells, respectively. We employed mice transgenic for the identified miRs to determine the biological impact of miR-17-92 expression in T cells.
Our initial miR microarray analyses revealed that the miR-17-92 cluster is one of the most significantly over-expressed miR in murine Th1 cells when compared with Th2 cells. RT-PCR confirmed that the miR-17-92 cluster expression was consistently higher in Th1 cells than Th2 cells. Disruption of the IL-4 signaling through either IL-4 neutralizing antibody or knockout of signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT)6 reversed the miR-17-92 cluster suppression in Th2 cells. Furthermore, T cells from tumor bearing mice and glioma patients had decreased levels of miR-17-92 when compared with cells from non-tumor bearing counterparts. CD4+ T cells derived from miR-17-92 transgenic mice demonstrated superior type-1 phenotype with increased IFN-γ production and very late antigen (VLA)-4 expression when compared with counterparts derived from wild type mice. Human Jurkat T cells ectopically expressing increased levels of miR-17-92 cluster members demonstrated increased IL-2 production and resistance to activation-induced cell death (AICD).
The type-2-skewing tumor microenvironment induces the down-regulation of miR-17-92 expression in T cells, thereby diminishing the persistence of tumor-specific T cells and tumor control. Genetic engineering of T cells to express miR-17-92 may represent a promising approach for cancer immunotherapy.
We and others have previously demonstrated that IL-4-dependent Tc2 are inferior to Tc1 effector CD8+ T cells in regulating tumor progression in vivo. This functional disparity relates, in part, to the comparatively poor ability of Tc2 to migrate into diseased tissues. We now show that IL-4 treatment of committed Tc1 cells promotes the selective loss in expression of Very-Late Antigen (VLA)-4, without impacting the Tc1 cytokine production profile, cytotoxic activity, or expression of alternate cell surface markers. Down-regulation of VLA-4 expression on Tc1 cells was unique to treatment with IL-4 (i.e. Tc1IL-4), and did not occur in the presence of the Type 2 cytokine IL-13 or the regulatory cytokines IL-10 or TGF-β. Notably, the inhibitory effects of IL-4 on Tc1 expression of VLA-4 could be blocked by the presence of IL-12, but not IFN-γ. Predictably, Tc1IL-4 (but not Tc1 control) cells adhere poorly to plate-bound VCAM-1-Fc fusion protein and fail to be co-stimulated by VCAM-1 in vitro. They were also markedly impaired in their ability to traffic into intracranial melanoma lesions after adoptive transfer, yielding inferior therapeutic benefit to tumor-bearing mice. These results suggest a novel suppressive mechanism for IL-4 that limits Tc1 efficacy via preventing their recruitment into tumors. (200 words)
VLA-4; IL-4; Tc1; adoptive therapy; melanoma
The development of effective immunotherapy strategies for glioma requires adequate understanding of the unique immunological microenvironment in the central nervous system (CNS) and CNS tumors. Although the CNS is often considered to be an immunologically privileged site and poses unique challenges for the delivery of effector cells and molecules, recent advances in technology and discoveries in CNS immunology suggest novel mechanisms that may significantly improve the efficacy of immunotherapy against gliomas. In this review, we first summarize recent advances in the CNS and CNS tumor immunology. We address factors that may promote immune escape of gliomas. We also review advances in passive and active immunotherapy strategies for glioma, with an emphasis on lessons learned from recent early-phase clinical trials. We also discuss novel immunotherapy strategies that have been recently tested in non-CNS tumors and show great potential for application to gliomas. Finally, we discuss how each of these promising strategies can be combined to achieve clinical benefit for patients with gliomas.
glioma; cancer vaccines; antibody; adoptive transfer; T cells; antigen-presenting cells; tumor immunity
VLA-4 plays a critical role in T cell trafficking into inflammatory sites. Our recent studies have suggested that VLA-4 expression on CD8+ T cells is negatively controlled by IL-4 and serves as a functionally distinguishing variable for why Type-1, but not Type-2, CD8+ T cells are able to traffic into tumors. In this study, using in vitro culture of murine CD8+ T cells under Type-1 and Type-2 cytokine conditions, we show that IL-4-mediated down-regulation of VLA-4 expression is completely abrogated in Stat6-deficient CD8+ T cells. Conversely, CD8+ T cells expressing a constitutively active mutant form Stat6 (Stat6VT) failed to express VLA-4 even in the absence of IL-4-stimulation. Notably, Type-2 CD8+ T cells developed from Stat6−/− but not wild-type mice were competent to migrate into tumor lesions in vivo. These results suggest that Stat6-signaling is necessary and sufficient to restrict CD8+ T cell expression of VLA-4 (by IL-4), thereby serving as a regulator for CD8+ T cell infiltration into tumors.