Progression of premalignant lesions is restrained by oncogene-induced senescence. Oncogenic Ras triggers senescence in many organs, including the lung, which exhibits high levels of the angiogenesis inhibitor thrombospondin-1 (TSP-1). The contribution of TSP-1 upregulation to the modulation of tumorigenesis in the lung is unclear. Using a mouse model of lung cancer, we have shown that TSP-1 plays a critical and cell-autonomous role in suppressing Kras-induced lung tumorigenesis independent of its antiangiogenic function. Overall survival was decreased in a Kras-driven mouse model of lung cancer on a Tsp-1–/– background. We found that oncogenic Kras–induced TSP-1 upregulation in a p53-dependent manner. TSP-1 functioned in a positive feedback loop to stabilize p53 by interacting directly with activated ERK. TSP-1 tethering of ERK in the cytoplasm promoted a level of MAPK signaling that was sufficient to sustain p53 expression and a senescence response. Our data identify TSP-1 as a p53 target that contributes to maintaining Ras-induced senescence in the lung.
We evaluated a neutralizing anti-TGFβ antibody (GC1008) in cancer patients with malignant pleura mesothelioma (MPM). The goal of this study was to assess immunoregulatory effects in relation to clinical safety and clinical response. Patients with progressive MPM and 1–2 prior systemic therapies received GC1008 at 3mg/kg IV over 90 min every 21 d as part of an open-label, two-center Phase II trial. Following TGFβ blockade therapy, clinical safety and patient survival were monitored along with the effects of anti-TGFβ antibodies on serum biomarkers and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC). Although designed as a larger trial, only 13 patients were enrolled when the manufacturer discontinued further development of the antibody for oncology indications. All participants tolerated therapy. Although partial or complete radiographic responses were not observed, three patients showed stable disease at 3 mo. GC1008 had no effect in the expression of NK, CD4+, or CD8+ T cell activating and inhibitory markers, other than a decrease in the expression of 2B4 and DNAM-1 on NK cells. However, serum from 5 patients showed new or enhanced levels of antibodies against MPM tumor lysates as measured by immunoblotting. Patients who produced anti-tumor antibodies had increased median overall survival (OS) (15 vs 7.5 mo, p < 0.03) compared with those who did not. To our knowledge, these data represent the first immune analysis of TGFβ- blockade in human cancer patients.
GC1008; anti-TGFβ antibody; antibody therapy; clinical trial; immunotherapy; malignant mesothelioma
Rac1b, an alternative splice form of Rac1, has been previously shown to be upregulated in colon and breast cancer cells, suggesting an oncogenic role for Rac1b in these cancers. Our analysis of NSCLC tumor and matched normal tissue samples indicates Rac1b is upregulated in a significant fraction of lung tumors in correlation with mutational status of K-ras. To directly assess the oncogenic potential of Rac1b in vivo, we employed a mouse model of lung adenocarcinoma, in which the expression of Rac1b can be conditionally activated specifically in the lung. While expression of Rac1b alone is insufficient to drive tumor initiation, the expression of Rac1b synergizes with an oncogenic allele of K-ras resulting in increased cellular proliferation and accelerated tumor growth. Finally, we show that in contrast to our previous findings demonstrating a requirement for Rac1 in K-ras-driven cell proliferation, Rac1b is not required in this context. Given the partially overlapping spectrum of downstream effectors regulated by Rac1 and Rac1b, our findings further delineate the signaling pathways downstream of Rac1 that are required for K-ras driven tumorigenesis.
The small molecule anti-tumor agent, 5, 6-dimethylxanthenone-4-acetic acid (DMXAA, now called Vadimezan) is a potent macrophage and dendritic cell activating agent that, in the murine system, results in the release of large amounts of cytokines and chemokines. The mechanisms by which this release is mediated have not been fully elucidated. The mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathways plays an important role in the regulation of proinflammatory cytokines, such as, TNFα, IL-1β, as well as the responses to extracellular stimuli, such as, lipopolysaccharide (LPS). The results of this study demonstrate that DMXAA activates three members of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) superfamily, namely p38 MAPK, extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1 and 2 (ERK1 and ERK2), and c-Jun N-terminal kinases (JNKs) via a RIP2-independent mechanism in murine macrophages. By using selective inhibitors of MAPKs, this study confirms that both activated p38/MK2 pathways and ERK1/2 MAPK play a significant role in regulation of both TNF-α and IL-6 protein production induced by DMXAA at the post-transcriptional level. Our findings also show that Interferon-γ priming can dramatically augment TNF-α protein secretion induced by DMXAA through enhancing activation of multiple MAPKs pathways at the post-transcriptional level. This study expands current knowledge on mechanisms of how DMXAA acts as a potent anti-tumor agent in murine system and also provides useful information for further study on the mechanism of action of this potential anti-tumor compound in human macrophages.
MAPK; post-transcriptional regulation; TNFα; DMXAA; proinflammatory cytokines
Pulmonary lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM) is a rare genetic disease characterized by neoplastic growth of atypical smooth muscle–like LAM cells, destruction of lung parenchyma, obstruction of lymphatics, and formation of lung cysts, leading to spontaneous pneumothoraces (lung rupture and collapse) and progressive loss of pulmonary function. The disease is caused by mutational inactivation of the tumor suppressor gene tuberous sclerosis complex 1 (TSC1) or TSC2. By injecting TSC2-null cells into nude mice, we have developed a mouse model of LAM that is characterized by multiple random TSC2-null lung lesions, vascular endothelial growth factor–D expression, lymphangiogenesis, destruction of lung parenchyma, and decreased survival, similar to human LAM. The mice show enlargement of alveolar airspaces that is associated with progressive growth of TSC2-null lesions in the lung, up-regulation of proinflammatory cytokines and matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) that degrade extracellular matrix, and destruction of elastic fibers. TSC2-null lesions and alveolar destruction were differentially inhibited by the macrolide antibiotic rapamycin (which inhibits TSC2-null lesion growth by a cytostatic mechanism) and a 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase inhibitor, simvastatin (which inhibits growth of TSC2-null lesions by a predominantly proapoptotic mechanism). Treatment with simvastatin markedly inhibited MMP-2, MMP-3, and MMP-9 levels in lung and prevented alveolar destruction. The combination of rapamycin and simvastatin prevented both growth of TSC2-null lesions and lung destruction by inhibiting MMP-2, MMP-3, and MMP-9. Our findings demonstrate a mechanistic link between loss of TSC2 and alveolar destruction and suggest that treatment with rapamycin and simvastatin together could benefit patients with LAM by targeting cells with TSC2 dysfunction and preventing airspace enlargement.
Both advanced stage lung cancer and malignant pleural mesothelioma are associated with a poor prognosis. Although there have been advances in treatment regimens for both diseases, these have had only a modest effect on their progressive course. Gene therapy for thoracic malignancies represents a novel therapeutic approach and has been evaluated in a number of clinical trials over the last two decades. Strategies have included induction of apoptosis, tumor suppressor gene replacement, suicide gene expression, cytokine based therapy, various vaccination approaches, and adoptive transfer of modified immune cells. This review will consider the clinical results, limitations, and future directions of gene therapy trials for thoracic malignancies.
Gene Therapy; Immunotherapy; Lung cancer; Mesothelioma
To characterize the interactions of Non-small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) tumors with the immune system at the level of mRNA and microRNA (miRNA) expression and to define expression signatures that characterize the presence of a malignant tumor vs. a non-malignant nodule.
We have examined the changes of both mRNA and miRNA expression levels in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) between paired samples collected from NSCLC patients before and after tumor removal using Illumina gene expression arrays.
We found that malignant tumor removal significantly changes expression of more than 3,000 protein-coding genes, especially genes in pathways associated with suppression of the innate immune response, including NK cell signaling and apoptosis-associated ceramide signaling. Binding sites for the ETS-domain transcription factors ELK1, ELK4 and SPI1 were enriched in promoter regions of genes upregulated in the presence of a tumor. Additional important regulators included five miRNAs expressed at significantly higher levels before tumor removal. Repressed protein-coding targets of those miRNAs included many transcription factors, several involved in immunologically important pathways. While there was a significant overlap in the effects of malignant tumors and benign lung nodules on PBMC gene expression, we identified one gene panel which indicates a tumor or nodule presence and a second panel that can distinguish malignant from non-malignant nodules.
A tumor presence in the lung influences mRNA and miRNA expression in PBMC and this influence is reversed by tumor removal. These results suggest that PBMC gene expression signatures could be used for lung cancer diagnosis.
lung cancer; pbmc; peripheral immune system
Adoptive T cell immunotherapy (ACT) with tumor infiltrating lymphocytes or genetically-modified T cells has yielded dramatic results in some cancers. However, T cells need to traffic properly into tumors in order to adequately exert therapeutic effects.
The chemokine CCL2 was highly secreted by malignant pleural mesotheliomas (MPM) (a planned tumor target), but the corresponding chemokine receptor (CCR2) was minimally expressed on activated human T cells transduced with a chimeric antibody receptor (CAR) directed to the MPM tumor antigen mesothelin (mesoCAR T cells). The chemokine receptor CCR2b was thus transduced into mesoCAR T cells using a lentiviral vector and the modified T cells were used to treat established mesothelin-expressing tumors.
CCR2b transduction led to CCL2-induced calcium flux and increased transmigration, as well as augmentation of in vitro T cell killing ability. A single intravenous injection of 20 million mesoCAR + CCR2b T cells into immunodeficient mice bearing large, established tumors (without any adjunct therapy) resulted in a 12.5-fold increase in T cell tumor infiltration by Day 5 compared to mesoCAR T cells. This was associated with significantly increased anti-tumor activity.
CAR T cells bearing a functional chemokine receptor can overcome the inadequate tumor localization that limits conventional CAR targeting strategies and can significantly improve anti-tumor efficacy in vivo.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. Current therapies are inadequate. Histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACi) are a recently developed class of anticancer agents that cause increased acetylation of core histones and nonhistone proteins leading to modulation of gene expression and protein activity involved in cancer cell growth and survival pathways. We examined the efficacy of the HDACi panobinostat (LBH589) in a wide range of lung cancers and mesotheliomas. Panobinostat was cytotoxic in almost all 37 cancer cell lines tested. IC50 and LD50 values were in the low nmol/L range (4–470 nmol/L; median, 20 nmol/L). Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) cell lines were among the most sensitive lines, with LD50 values consistently <25 nmol/L. In lung cancer and mesothelioma animal models, panobinostat significantly decreased tumor growth by an average of 62% when compared with vehicle control. Panobinostat was equally effective in immunocompetent and severe combined immunodeficiency mice, indicating that the inhibition of tumor growth by panobinostat was not due to direct immunologic effects. Panobinostat was, however, particularly effective in SCLC xenografts, and the addition of the chemotherapy agent etoposide augmented antitumor effects. Protein analysis of treated tumor biopsies revealed elevated amounts of cell cycle regulators such as p21 and proapoptosis factors, such as caspase 3 and 7 and cleaved poly[ADP-ribose] polymerase, coupled with decreased levels of antiapoptotic factors such as Bcl-2 and Bcl-XL. These studies together suggest that panobinostat may be a useful adjunct in the treatment of thoracic malignancies, especially SCLC.
Multiple immunotherapy approaches have improved adaptive anti-tumor immune responses in patients with early stage disease; however, results have been less dramatic when treating patients with late stage disease. These blunted responses are likely due to a host of factors, including changes in the tumor microenvironment and systemic immunosuppressive features, which accompany advanced tumor states. We hypothesized that cytoreductive surgery could control these immunosuppressive networks and restore the potency of immunotherapy in advanced disease scenarios.
To test these hypotheses, two representative intratumoral immunotherapies (an adenoviral vector encoding a suicide gene, AdV-tk, or a type-I interferon, Ad.IFNα) were tested in murine models of lung cancer. Cytoreductive surgery was performed following treatment of advanced tumors. Mechanistic underpinnings were investigated using flow cytometry, in vivo leukocyte depletion methods and in vivo tumor neutralization assays.
AdV-tk and Ad.IFNα were effective in treating early lung cancers, but had little anti-tumor effects in late stage cancers. Interestingly, in late stage scenarios, surgical cytoreduction unmasked the anti-tumor potency of both immunotherapeutic approaches. Immune mechanisms that explained restoration in anti-tumor immune responses included increased CD8 T-cell trafficking and reduced myeloid derived suppressor cell populations.
This study demonstrates that surgical resection combined with immunotherapy may be a rational therapeutic option for patients with advanced stage cancer.
Surgical oncology; Immunotherapy; Cancer; Animal model
Rationale: Acute lung injury (ALI) acts as a complex genetic trait, yet its genetic risk factors remain incompletely understood. Large-scale genotyping has not previously been reported for ALI.
Objectives: To identify ALI risk variants after major trauma using a large-scale candidate gene approach.
Methods: We performed a two-stage genetic association study. We derived findings in an African American cohort (n = 222) using a cardiopulmonary disease–centric 50K single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) array. Genotype and haplotype distributions were compared between subjects with ALI and without ALI, with adjustment for clinical factors. Top performing SNPs (P < 10−4) were tested in a multicenter European American trauma-associated ALI case-control population (n = 600 ALI; n = 2,266 population-based control subjects) for replication. The ALI-associated genomic region was sequenced, analyzed for in silico prediction of function, and plasma was assayed by ELISA and immunoblot.
Measurements and Main Results: Five SNPs demonstrated a significant association with ALI after adjustment for covariates in Stage I. Two SNPs in ANGPT2 (rs1868554 and rs2442598) replicated their significant association with ALI in Stage II. rs1868554 was robust to multiple comparison correction: odds ratio 1.22 (1.06–1.40), P = 0.0047. Resequencing identified predicted novel splice sites in linkage disequilibrium with rs1868554, and immunoblots showed higher proportion of variant angiopoietin-2 (ANG2) isoform associated with rs1868554T (0.81 vs. 0.48; P = 0.038).
Conclusions: An ANGPT2 region is associated with both ALI and variation in plasma angiopoietin-2 isoforms. Characterization of the variant isoform and its genetic regulation may yield important insights about ALI pathogenesis and susceptibility.
acute lung injury; acute respiratory distress syndrome; functional genetic polymorphism; genetic association study
Surgery is the most effective therapy for cancer in the United States, but disease still recurs in more than 40% of patients within 5 years after resection. Chemotherapy is given postoperatively to prevent relapses; however, this approach has had marginal success. After surgery, recurrent tumors depend on rapid neovascular proliferation to deliver nutrients and oxygen. Phosphatidylserine (PS) is exposed on the vascular endothelial cells in the tumor microenvironment but is notably absent on blood vessels in normal tissues. Thus, PS is an attractive target for cancer therapy after surgery. Syngeneic mice bearing TC1 lung cancer tumors were treated with mch1N11 (a novel mouse chimeric monoclonal antibody that targets PS), cisplatin (cis), or combination after surgery. Tumor relapses and disease progression were decreased 90% by combination therapy compared with a 50% response rate for cis alone (P = .02). Mice receiving postoperative mch1N11 had no wound-related complications or added systemic toxicity in comparison to control animals. Mechanistic studies demonstrated that the effects of mch1N11 were associated with a dense infiltration of inflammatory cells, particularly granulocytes. This strategy was independent of the adaptive immune system. Together, these data suggest that vascular-targeted strategies directed against exposed PS may be a powerful adjunct to postoperative chemotherapy in preventing relapses after cancer surgery.
Prediction of cancer recurrence in patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) currently relies on the assessment of clinical characteristics including age, tumor stage, and smoking history. A better prediction of early stage cancer patients with poorer survival and late stage patients with better survival is needed to design patient-tailored treatment protocols. We analyzed gene expression in RNA from peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) of NSCLC patients to identify signatures predictive of overall patient survival. We find that PBMC gene expression patterns from NSCLC patients, like patterns from tumors, have information predictive of patient outcomes. We identify and validate a 26 gene prognostic panel that is independent of clinical stage. Many additional prognostic genes are specific to myeloid cells and are more highly expressed in patients with shorter survival. We also observe that significant numbers of prognostic genes change expression levels in PBMC collected after tumor resection. These post-surgery gene expression profiles may provide a means to re-evaluate prognosis over time. These studies further suggest that patient outcomes are not solely determined by tumor gene expression profiles but can also be influenced by the immune response as reflected in peripheral immune cells.
Endothelial targeting of antioxidant enzymes attenuates acute vascular oxidative stress in animal studies. Superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase conjugated with antibodies to Platelet-Endothelial Cell Adhesion Molecule-1 (anti-PECAM/SOD and anti-PECAM/catalase) bind to endothelium, accumulate in the pulmonary vasculature, and detoxify reactive oxygen species. In order to define the role of conjugate size in the efficacy and specificity of endothelial targeting, we synthesized anti-PECAM/enzyme conjugates of controlled size (40 nm–10,000 nm). Binding of anti-PECAM/enzymes to endothelial cells increased with conjugate size from 300 nm to 2 μm (from 2.5 to 8.5% of bound fraction), and was specific, as conjugates did not bind to PECAM-negative cells. Pulmonary uptake of anti-PECAM/enzyme conjugates injected intravenously in mice also increased from 4.5 to 16% of Injected Dose for particles from 200 to 800 nm. However, control conjugates larger than 300 nm showed elevated non-specific pulmonary uptake, indicating that the targeting specificity of anti-PECAM/enzyme conjugates in vivo has a bell-shaped curve with a maximum close to 300-nm diameter. These results show that: i) the size of an antibody/enzyme conjugate modulates efficacy and specificity of targeting, and ii) a size optimum should be defined in vivo to account for parameters that are difficult to model in cell culture.
Vascular immunotargeting; endothelium; antioxidant delivery; lungs
Neutrophil migration into inflamed tissues is a fundamental component of innate immunity. A decisive step in this process is the polarised migration of blood neutrophils through endothelial cells (ECs) lining the venular lumen (transendothelial cell migration; TEM) in a luminal to abluminal direction. Using real-time confocal imaging we report that neutrophils can exhibit disrupted polarised TEM (“hesitant” and “reverse”) in vivo. These events were noted in inflammation following ischemia-reperfusion injury, characterised by reduced expression of junctional adhesion molecule C (JAM-C) from EC junctions, and were enhanced by EC JAM-C blockade or genetic deletion. The results identify JAM-C as a key regulator of polarised neutrophil TEM in vivo and suggest that reverse TEM neutrophils can contribute to dissemination of systemic inflammation.
The role of chemokines in the pathogenesis of lung cancer has been increasingly appreciated. Monocyte chemoattractant protein–1 (MCP-1, also known as CCL2) is secreted from tumor cells and associated tumor stromal cells. The blockade of CCL2, as mediated by neutralizing antibodies, was shown to reduce tumorigenesis in several solid tumors, but the role of CCL2 in lung cancer remains controversial, with evidence of both protumorigenic and antitumorigenic effects. We evaluated the effects and mechanisms of CCL2 blockade in several animal models of non–small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Anti-murine–CCL2 monoclonal antibodies were administered in syngeneic flank and orthotopic models of NSCLC. CCL2 blockade significantly slowed the growth of primary tumors in all models studied, and inhibited lung metastases in a model of spontaneous lung metastases of NSCLC. In contrast to expectations, no significant effect of treatment was evident in the number of tumor-associated macrophages recruited into the tumor after CCL2 blockade. However, a change occurred in the polarization of tumor-associated macrophages to a more antitumor phenotype after CCL2 blockade. This was associated with the activation of cytotoxic CD8+ T lymphocytes (CTLs). The antitumor effects of CCL2 blockade were completely lost in CB-17 severe combined immunodeficient mice or after CD8 T-cell depletion. Our data from NSCLC models show that CCL2 blockade can inhibit the tumor growth of primary and metastatic disease. The mechanisms of CCL2 blockade include an alteration of the tumor macrophage phenotype and the activation of CTLs. Our work supports further evaluation of CCL2 blockade in thoracic malignancies.
tumor immunology; CCL2; lung cancer; mesothelioma; tumor-associated macrophages
Redirecting T lymphocyte antigen specificity by gene transfer can provide large numbers of tumor reactive T lymphocytes for adoptive immunotherapy. However, safety concerns associated with viral vector production have limited clinical application of T cells expressing chimeric antigen receptors (CARs). T lymphocytes can be gene modified by RNA electroporation without integration-associated safety concerns. To establish a safe platform for adoptive immunotherapy, we first optimized the vector backbone for RNA in vitro transcription to achieve high level transgene expression. CAR expression and function of RNA-electroporated T cells could be detected up to a week post electroporation. Multiple injections of RNA CAR electroporated T cells mediated regression of large vascularized flank mesothelioma tumors in NOD/scid/γc(−/−) mice. Dramatic tumor reduction also occurred when the pre-existing intraperitoneal human-derived tumors, that had been growing in vivo for over 50 days, were treated by multiple injections of autologous human T cells electroporated with anti-mesothelin CAR mRNA. This is the first report using matched patient tumor and lymphocytes demonstrating that autologous T cells from cancer patients can be engineered to provide an effective therapy for a disseminated tumor in a robust preclinical model. Multiple injections of RNA engineered T cells are a novel approach for adoptive cell transfer, providing flexible platform for the treatment of cancer that may complement the use of retroviral and lentiviral engineered T cells. This approach may increase the therapeutic index of T cells engineered to express powerful activation domains without the associated safety concerns of integrating viral vectors.
adoptive transfer; chimeric antigen receptor; electroporation; tumor immunotherapy; mesothelioma
Recent evidence suggests that storage induced alterations of the red blood cell (RBC) are associated with adverse consequences in susceptible hosts. As RBCs have been shown to form Advanced Glycation Endproducts (AGEs) following increased oxidative stress and under pathologic conditions, we examined whether stored RBCs undergo modification with the specific AGE, N-(Carboxymethyl)lysine (Nε-CML) during standard blood banking conditions.
Study Design and Methods
Purified, fresh RBCs from volunteers were compared to stored RBCs (d 35–42 old) obtained from the Blood Bank. Nε-CML formation was quantified using a competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The receptor for advanced glycation end-products (RAGE) was detected in human pulmonary microvascular endothelial cells by real-time PCR, western blotting, and flow cytometry. Intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation was measured by the use of 5-(and 6-)chloromethyl-2',7'-dichlorodihydrofluorescein diacetate, acetyl ester based assays.
Stored RBCs showed increased surface Nε-CML formation when compared with fresh RBCs. Human Pulmonary Microvascular Endothelial Cells (HMVEC-L) showed detectable surface RAGE expression constitutively. When compared to fresh RBCs, stored RBCs triggered increased intracellular ROS generation in both Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells (HUVEC) and Human Pulmonary Microvascular Endothelial Cells (HMVEC-L). RBC-induced endothelial ROS generation was attenuated in the presence of soluble RAGE (sRAGE) or RAGE blocking antibody.
The formation of the AGE Nε-CML on the surface of stored RBCs is one functional consequence of the storage lesion. AGE-RAGE interactions may be one mechanism by which transfused RBCs cause endothelial cell damage.
AGE (advanced glycation endproducts); Nε-CML (N-Carboxymethyl-lysine); RAGE (receptor for advanced glycation endproducts)
Since an immuno-inhibitory environment exists within tumors, successful vaccines will likely require additional approaches to alter the tumor microenvironment. Monocyte chemoattractant proteins (such as CCL2) are produced by many tumors and have both direct and indirect immuno-inhibitory effects. We hypothesized that CCL2 blockade would reduce immunosuppression and augment vaccine immunotherapy. Anti-murine-CCL2/CCL12 monoclonal antibodies were administered in three immunotherapy models: one aimed at the HPV-E7 antigen expressed by a non-small cell lung cancer line, one targeted to mesothelin expressed by a mesothelioma cell line, and one using an adenovirus expressing Interferon-α to treat a non-immunogenic, non-small cell lung cancer line. We evaluated the effect of the combination treatment on tumor growth and assessed the mechanism of these changes by evaluating cytotoxic T cells, immunosuppressive cells, and the tumor microenvironment. Administration of anti-CCL2/CCL12 antibodies along with the vaccines markedly augmented efficacy with enhanced reduction in tumor volume and cures of approximately half of the tumors. The combined treatment generated more total intra-tumoral CD8+ T-cells that were more activated and more anti-tumor antigen specific, as measured by tetramer evaluation. Another important potential mechanism was reduction in intratumoral T-regulatory (T-reg) cells. CCL2 appears to be a key proximal cytokine mediating immunosuppression in tumors. Its blockade augments CD8+ T cell immune response to tumors elicited by vaccines via multifactorial mechanisms. These observations suggest that combining CCL2 neutralization with vaccines should be considered in future immunotherapy trials.
CCL2; Cancer immunotherapy; Lung Cancer; Mesothelioma; T-lymphocytes
TGF-β blockade significantly slows tumor growth through many mechanisms, including activation of CD8+ T-cells and macrophages. Here, we show that TGF-β blockade also increases neutrophil-attracting chemokines resulting in an influx of CD11b+/Ly6G+ tumor-associated neutrophils (TAN) that are hypersegmented, more cytotoxic to tumor cells, and express higher levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Accordingly, following TGF-β blockade, depletion of these neutrophils significantly blunts anti-tumor effects of treatment and reduces CD8+ T-cell activation. In contrast, in control tumors, neutrophil depletion decreases tumor growth and results in more activated CD8+ T-cells intra-tumorally. Together, these data suggest that TGF-β within the tumor microenvironment induces a population of TAN with a pro-tumor phenotype. TGF-β blockade results in the recruitment and activation of TAN with an anti-tumor phenotype.
tumor immunology; immunosuppression; TGFβ; tumor associated macrophages; Tumor associated neutrophils; lung cancer; mesothelioma
Rationale: Endothelial thrombomodulin (TM) regulates thrombosis and inflammation. Diverse forms of pulmonary and vascular injury are accompanied by down-regulation of TM, which aggravates tissue injury. We postulated that anchoring TM to the endothelial surface would restore its protective functions.
Objectives: To design an effective and safe strategy to treat pulmonary thrombotic and inflammatory injury.
Methods: We synthesized a fusion protein, designated scFv/TM, by linking the extracellular domain of mouse TM to a single-chain variable fragment of an antibody to platelet endothelial cell adhesion molecule-1 (PECAM-1). The targeting and protective functions of scFv/TM were tested in mouse models of lung ischemia-reperfusion and acute lung injury (ALI) caused by intratracheal endotoxin and hyperoxia, both of which caused approximately 50% reduction in the endogenous expression of TM.
Measurements and Main Results: Biochemical assays showed that scFv/TM accelerated protein C activation by thrombin and bound mouse PECAM-1 and cytokine high mobility group-B1. After intravenous injection, scFv/TM preferentially accumulated in the mouse pulmonary vasculature. In a lung model of ischemia-reperfusion injury, scFv/TM attenuated elevation of early growth response-1, inhibited pulmonary deposition of fibrin and leukocyte infiltration, and preserved blood oxygenation more effectively than soluble TM. In an ALI model, scFv/TM, but not soluble TM, suppressed activation of nuclear factor-κB, inflammation and edema in the lung and reduced mortality without causing hemorrhage.
Conclusions: Targeting TM to the endothelium using an scFv anchor enhances its antithrombotic and antiinflammatory effectiveness in models of ALI.
vascular targeting; acute lung injury; PECAM-1; protein C; pulmonary endothelium
Endocan is a proteoglycan expressed by endothelial cells in the lung which may inhibit leukocyte recruitment and thus prevent the development of acute lung injury (ALI). We tested the association of serum endocan levels with subsequent development of ALI after major trauma.
Materials and Methods
Single-center nested case control study within a prospective cohort study of major trauma patients. Using an ELISA test, we measured endocan levels from admission serum in 24 controls (no ALI) and 24 cases (ALI within 5 days of trauma). Multivariable logistic regression was used to test the association of admission serum endocan levels with subsequent ALI.
Patients who developed ALI had lower levels of endocan on admission (mean 3.5 ± 1.4 ng/mL vs. 4.9 ± 2.6 ng/mL in controls, p=0.02). For each 1-unit increase in serum endocan level, the odds ratio for ALI development decreased (0.69, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.49, 0.97, p=0.03). Lower endocan levels remained associated with a higher incidence of ALI after adjustment for age and illness severity.
Lower levels of serum endocan on admission are associated with subsequent development of ALI in trauma patients. These observations may be explained by endocan-mediated blockade of leukocyte recruitment in the lung.
Trauma; acute respiratory distress syndrome; acute lung injury; biomarkers; endothelium
A potential strategy for diagnosing lung cancer, the leading cause of cancer-related death, is to identify metabolic signatures (biomarkers) of the disease. Although data supports the hypothesis that volatile compounds can be detected in the breath of lung cancer patients by the sense of smell or through bioanalytical techniques, analysis of breath samples is cumbersome and technically challenging, thus limiting its applicability. The hypothesis explored here is that variations in small molecular weight volatile organic compounds (“odorants”) in urine could be used as biomarkers for lung cancer. To demonstrate the presence and chemical structures of volatile biomarkers, we studied mouse olfactory-guided behavior and metabolomics of volatile constituents of urine. Sensor mice could be trained to discriminate between odors of mice with and without experimental tumors demonstrating that volatile odorants are sufficient to identify tumor-bearing mice. Consistent with this result, chemical analyses of urinary volatiles demonstrated that the amounts of several compounds were dramatically different between tumor and control mice. Using principal component analysis and supervised machine-learning, we accurately discriminated between tumor and control groups, a result that was cross validated with novel test groups. Although there were shared differences between experimental and control animals in the two tumor models, we also found chemical differences between these models, demonstrating tumor-based specificity. The success of these studies provides a novel proof-of-principle demonstration of lung tumor diagnosis through urinary volatile odorants. This work should provide an impetus for similar searches for volatile diagnostic biomarkers in the urine of human lung cancer patients.
Locally-produced TGF-β promotes tumor-induced immunosuppression and contributes to resistance to immunotherapy. This paper explores the potential for increased efficacy when combining immunotherapies with TGF-β suppression using the TGF-β type I receptor kinase inhibitor, SM16. Adenovirus expressing IFNβ (Ad.IFNβ) was injected intratumorally once in established subcutaneous AB12 (mesothelioma) and LKR (lung cancer) tumors or intratracheally in a K-ras orthotopic lung tumor model. Mice bearing TC1 (lung cancer) tumors were vaccinated with two injections of adenovirus expressing HPV-E7 (Ad.E7). SM16 was administered orally in formulated chow. Tumor growth was assessed and cytokine-expression and cell populations were measured in tumors and spleens by real time-PCR and flow cytometry. SM16 potentiated the efficacy of both immunotherapies in each of the models and caused changes in the tumor microenvironment. The combination of SM16 and Ad.INFβ increased the number of intratumoral leukocytes (including macrophages, NK cells, and CD8+ cells) and increased the percentage of T-cells expressing the activation marker CD25. SM16 also augmented the anti-tumor effects of Ad.E7 in the TC1 flank tumor model. The combination did not increase HPV-E7 tetramer-positive CD8+ T cells in the spleens, but did induce a marked increase in the tumors. Tumors from SM16-treated mice showed increased mRNA and protein for immunostimulatory cytokines and chemokines, as well as endothelial adhesion molecules, suggesting a mechanism for the increased intratumoral leukocyte trafficking. Blockade of the TGF-β signaling pathway augments the anti-tumor effects of Ad.INFβ immune-activating or Ad.E7 vaccination therapy. The addition of TGF-β blocking agents in clinical trials of immunotherapies may increase efficacy.
tumor immunology; immunosuppression; TGFβ; tumor associated macrophages; cytokines; lung cancer; mesothelioma; tumor vaccine; interferon-β
Coupling drug carriers to antibodies for targeting endothelial cells (ECs) may improve treatment of vascular and pulmonary diseases. Selecting antibodies that deliver carriers to the cell surface or intracellularly may further optimize specifcity of interventions. We studied antibody-directed targeting of nanocarriers to platelet–endothelial cell adhesion molecule (PECAM)-1, an endothelial glycoprotein containing 6 Ig-like extracellular domains. PECAM-1 antibodies bind to ECs without internalization, but ECs internalize by endocytosis nanocarriers carrying multiple copies of anti-PECAM (anti-PECAM/NCs). To determine whether binding and intracellular transport of anti-PECAM/NCs depend on the epitope engaged, we targeted five PECAM-1 epitopes: mAb35, mAb37 and mAb62 (membrane-distal Ig domain 1), mAbGi34 (Ig domains 2/3), and mAb4G6 (membrane-proximal Ig domain 6). The antibodies bound to ECs regardless of the epitope proximity to the plasmalemma, whereas 130 nm diameter nanocarriers only targeted effectively distal domains (mAb4G6/NCs did not bind to ECs). ECs internalized mAb35, mAb62, and mAbGi34 carriers regardless of their size (0.13 to 5 µm diameter), yet they did not internalize mAb37/NCs. After internalization, mAb62/NCs trafficked to lysosomes within 2–3 h, whereas mAb35/NCs had prolonged residence in pre-lysosomal vesicles. Therefore, endothelial binding, endocytosis, and intracellular transport of anti-PECAM/NCs are epitope-specific. This paradigm will guide the design of endothelial drug delivery systems providing specific cellular localizations.
Vascular targeting; Endothelial PECAM-1; Polymer carriers; Endocytosis; Intracellular drug delivery