Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs), although promising, have variable benefit in head and neck cancer (HNC). We noted that tumor galectin-1 (Gal1) levels were inversely correlated with treatment response and survival in patients with HNC who were treated with ICIs. Using multiple HNC mouse models, we show that tumor-secreted Gal1 mediates immune evasion by preventing T cell migration into the tumor. Mechanistically, Gal1 reprograms the tumor endothelium to upregulate cell-surface programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1) and galectin-9. Using genetic and pharmacological approaches, we show that Gal1 blockade increases intratumoral T cell infiltration, leading to a better response to anti-PD1 therapy with or without radiotherapy. Our study reveals the function of Gal1 in transforming the tumor endothelium into an immune-suppressive barrier and that its inhibition synergizes with ICIs.
Dhanya K. Nambiar, Todd Aguilera, Hongbin Cao, Shirley Kwok, Christina Kong, Joshua Bloomstein, Zemin Wang, Vangipuram S. Rangan, Dadi Jiang, Rie von Eyben, Rachel Liang, Sonya Agarwal, A. Dimitrios Colevas, Alan Korman, Clint T. Allen, Ravindra Uppaluri, Albert C. Koong, Amato Giaccia, Quynh Thu Le
Glucocorticoids (GCs) are a central component of therapy for patients with T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) and while resistance to GCs is a strong negative prognostic indicator in T-ALL, mechanisms of GC resistance remain poorly understood. Using diagnostic samples from patients enrolled on the frontline Children’s Oncology Group (COG) T-ALL clinical trial AALL1231, we demonstrated that one-third of primary T-ALLs were resistant to GCs when cultured in the presence of interleukin-7 (IL7), a cytokine that is critical for normal T-cell function and that plays a well-established role in leukemogenesis. We demonstrated that in these T-ALLs and in distinct populations of normal developing thymocytes, GCs paradoxically induced their own resistance by promoting upregulation of IL7 receptor (IL7R) expression. In the presence of IL7, this augmented downstream signal transduction resulting in increased STAT5 transcriptional output and upregulation of the pro-survival protein BCL-2. Taken together, we demonstrated that IL7 mediates an intrinsic and physiologic mechanism of GC resistance in normal thymocyte development that is retained during leukemogenesis in a subset of T-ALLs and is reversible with targeted inhibition of the IL7R/JAK/STAT5/BCL-2 axis.
Lauren K. Meyer, Benjamin J. Huang, Cristina Delgado-Martin, Ritu P. Roy, Aaron Hechmer, Anica M. Wandler, Tiffaney L. Vincent, Paolo Fortina, Adam B. Olshen, Brent L. Wood, Terzah M. Horton, Kevin M. Shannon, David T. Teachey, Michelle L. Hermiston
Both miRNAs and A-to-I RNA editing, a widespread nucleotide modification mechanism, have recently emerged as key players in cancer pathophysiology. However, the functional impact of RNA editing of miRNAs in cancer remains largely unexplored. Here, we focused on an ADAR2-catalyzed RNA editing site within the miR-379-5p seed region. This site was under-edited in tumors relative to normal tissues, with a high editing level being correlated with better patient survival times across cancer types. We demonstrated that in contrast to wild-type miRNA, edited miR-379-5p inhibited cell proliferation and promoted apoptosis in diverse tumor contexts in vitro, which was due to the ability of edited but not wild-type miR-379-5p to target CD97. Importantly, through nanoliposomal delivery, edited miR-379-5p mimics significantly inhibited tumor growth and extended survival of mice. Our study indicates a role of RNA editing in diversifying miRNA function during cancer progression and highlights the translational potential of edited miRNAs as a new class of cancer therapeutics.
Xiaoyan Xu, Yumeng Wang, Kamalika Mojumdar, Zhicheng Zhou, Kang Jin Jeong, Lingegowda S. Mangala, Shuangxing Yu, Yiu Huen Tsang, Cristian Rodriguez-Aguayo, Yiling Lu, Gabriel Lopez-Berestein, Anil K. Sood, Gordon B. Mills, Han Liang
In patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), 10% to 30% with the normal karyotype express mutations in regulators of DNA methylation, such as TET2 or DNMT3A, in conjunction with activating mutation in the receptor tyrosine kinase FLT3. These patients have a poor prognosis because they do not respond well to established therapies. Here, utilizing mouse models of AML that recapitulate cardinal features of the human disease and bear a combination of loss-of-function mutations in either Tet2 or Dnmt3a along with expression of Flt3ITD, we show that inhibition of the protein tyrosine phosphatase SHP2, which is essential for cytokine receptor signaling (including FLT3), by the small molecule allosteric inhibitor SHP099 impairs growth and induces differentiation of leukemic cells without impacting normal hematopoietic cells. We also show that SHP099 normalizes the gene expression program associated with increased cell proliferation and self-renewal in leukemic cells by downregulating the Myc signature. Our results provide a new and more effective target for treating a subset of patients with AML who bear a combination of genetic and epigenetic mutations.
Ruchi Pandey, Baskar Ramdas, Changlin Wan, George Sandusky, Morvarid Mohseni, Chi Zhang, Reuben Kapur
EGFR mutated lung adenocarcinoma patients treated with gefitinib and osimertinib show a therapeutic benefit limited by the appearance of secondary mutations, such as EGFRT790M and EGFRC797S. It is generally assumed that these secondary mutations render EGFR completely unresponsive to the inhibitors, but contrary to this, we uncovered here that gefitinib and osimertinib increased STAT3 phosphorylation (pSTAT3) in EGFRT790M and EGFRC797S tumoral cells. Interestingly, we also found that concomitant Notch inhibition with gefitinib or osimertinib treatment induced a pSTAT3-dependent strong reduction in the levels of the transcriptional repressor HES1. Importantly, we showed that tyrosine kinase inhibitor resistant tumors, with EGFRT790M and EGFRC797S mutations, were highly responsive to the combined treatment of Notch inhibitors with gefitinib and osimertinib respectively. Finally, in patients with EGFR mutations treated with tyrosine kinase inhibitors, HES1 protein levels increased during relapse and correlated with shorter progression-free survival. Therefore, our results offer a proof of concept for an alternative treatment to chemotherapy in lung adenocarcinoma osimertinib treated patients after disease progression.
Emilie Bousquet Mur, Sara Bernardo, Laura Papon, Maicol Mancini, Eric Fabbrizio, Marion Goussard, Irene Ferrer, Anais Giry, Xavier Quantin, Jean-Louis Pujol, Olivier Calvayrac, Herwig P. Moll, Yaël Glasson, Nelly Pirot, Andrei Turtoi, Marta Cañamero, Kwok-Kin Wong, Yosef Yarden, Emilio Casanova, Jean-Charles Soria, Jacques Colinge, Christian W. Siebel, Julien Mazieres, Gilles Favre, Luis Paz-Ares, Antonio Maraver
Immunotherapy targeting programmed cell death-1 (PD-1) induces durable antitumor efficacy in many types of cancer. However, such clinical benefit is limited because of the insufficient reinvigoration of antitumor immunity with the drug alone; therefore, rational therapeutic combinations are required to improve its efficacy. In our preclinical study, we evaluated the antitumor effect of U3-1402, a human epidermal growth factor receptor 3 (HER3)–targeting antibody-drug conjugate, and its potential synergism with PD-1 inhibition. Using a syngeneic mouse tumor model that is refractory to anti–PD-1 therapy, treatment with U3-1402 exhibited an obvious antitumor effect via direct lysis of tumor cells. Disruption of tumor cells by U3-1402 enhanced the infiltration of innate and adaptive immune cells. Chemotherapy with exatecan derivative (Dxd: the drug payload of U3-1402) revealed that the enhanced antitumor immunity produced by U3-1402 was associated with the induction of alarmins including HMGB-1 via tumor-specific cytotoxicity. Notably, U3-1402 significantly sensitized the tumor to PD-1 blockade, as a combination of U3-1402 and the PD-1 inhibitor significantly enhanced antitumor immunity. Further, clinical analyses indicated that tumor-specific HER3 expression was frequently observed in patients with PD-1 inhibitor–resistant solid tumors. Overall, U3-1402 is a promising candidate as a partner of immunotherapy for such patients.
Koji Haratani, Kimio Yonesaka, Shiki Takamura, Osamu Maenishi, Ryoji Kato, Naoki Takegawa, Hisato Kawakami, Kaoru Tanaka, Hidetoshi Hayashi, Masayuki Takeda, Naoyuki Maeda, Takashi Kagari, Kenji Hirotani, Junji Tsurutani, Kazuto Nishio, Katsumi Doi, Masaaki Miyazawa, Kazuhiko Nakagawa
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is considered to be a highly immunosuppressive and heterogenous neoplasm. Despite improved knowledge regarding the genetic background of the tumor and better understanding of the tumor microenvironment, immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy (targeting CTLA4, PD1, PDL1) has not been very successful against PDAC. The robust desmoplastic stroma, along with an extensive extracellular matrix (ECM) that is rich in hyaluronan, plays an integral role in this immune evasion. Hexosamine biosynthesis pathway (HBP), a shunt pathway of glycolysis, is a metabolic node in cancer cells that can promote survival pathways on one hand and influence the hyaluronan synthesis in the ECM on the other. The rate-limiting enzyme of the pathway, glutamine-fructose amidotransferase (GFAT1), uses glutamine and fructose 6-phosphate to eventually synthesize UDP-GlcNAc. In the current manuscript, we targeted this glutamine-utilizing enzyme by a small molecule glutamine analog (6-diazo-5-oxo-L-norleucine or DON). Our results showed that DON decreased the self-renewal potential and metastatic ability of tumor cell. Further, treatment with DON decreased hyaluronan and collagen in the tumor microenvironment, leading to an extensive remodeling of the ECM, and an increased infiltration CD8+ T-cells. Additionally, treatment with DON sensitized pancreatic tumors to anti-PD1 therapy resulting in tumor regression and prolonged survival.
Nikita S. Sharma, Vineet K. Gupta, Vanessa T. Garrido, Roey Hadad, Brittany C. Durden, Kousik Kesh, Bhuwan Giri, Anthony Ferrantella, Vikas Dudeja, Ashok Saluja, Sulagna Banerjee
Tumor-resident lymphocytes can mount a response against neoantigens expressed in microsatellite-stable gastrointestinal (GI) cancers, and adoptive transfer of neoantigen-specific lymphocytes has demonstrated antitumor activity in selected patients. However, whether peripheral blood could be used as an alternative minimally invasive source to identify lymphocytes targeting neoantigens in patients with GI cancer with relatively low mutation burden is unclear. We used a personalized high-throughput screening strategy to investigate whether PD-1 expression in peripheral blood could be used to identify CD8+ or CD4+ lymphocytes recognizing neoantigens identified by whole-exome sequencing in 7 patients with GI cancer. We found that neoantigen-specific lymphocytes were preferentially enriched in the CD8+PD-1+/hi or CD4+PD-1+/hi subsets, but not in the corresponding bulk or PD-1– fractions. In 6 of 7 individuals analyzed we identified circulating CD8+ and CD4+ lymphocytes targeting 6 and 4 neoantigens, respectively. Moreover, neoantigen-reactive T cells and a T cell receptor (TCR) isolated from the CD8+PD-1+ subsets recognized autologous tumor, albeit at reduced levels, in 2 patients with available cell lines. These data demonstrate the existence of circulating T cells targeting neoantigens in GI cancer patients and provide an approach to generate enriched populations of personalized neoantigen-specific lymphocytes and isolate TCRs that could be exploited therapeutically to treat cancer.
Alena Gros, Eric Tran, Maria R. Parkhurst, Sadia Ilyas, Anna Pasetto, Eric M. Groh, Paul F. Robbins, Rami Yossef, Andrea Garcia-Garijo, Carlos A. Fajardo, Todd D. Prickett, Li Jia, Jared J. Gartner, Satyajit Ray, Lien Ngo, John R. Wunderllich, James C. Yang, Steven A. Rosenberg
Polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMNs) are increasingly recognized to influence solid tumor development, but why their effects are so context-dependent and even frequently divergent remains poorly understood. Using an autochthonous mouse model of uterine cancer and the administration of respiratory hyperoxia as a means to improve tumor oxygenation, we provide in vivo evidence that hypoxia is a potent determinant of tumor-associated PMN phenotypes and direct PMN-tumor cell interactions. Upon relief of tumor hypoxia, PMNs were recruited less intensely to the tumor-bearing uterus but the recruited cells much more effectively killed tumor cells, an activity our data moreover suggested was mediated via their production of NADPH oxidase-derived reactive oxygen species and MMP-9. Simultaneously, their ability to promote tumor cell proliferation, which appeared mediated via their production of neutrophil elastase, was rendered less effective. Relieving tumor hypoxia thus greatly improved net PMN-dependent tumor control, leading to a massive reduction in tumor burden. Remarkably, this outcome was T cell-independent. Together, these findings identify key hypoxia-regulated molecular mechanisms through which PMNs directly induce tumor cell death and proliferation in vivo and suggest that the contrasting properties of PMNs in different tumor settings may in part reflect the effects of hypoxia on direct PMN-tumor cell interactions.
Karim Mahiddine, Adam Blaisdell, Stephany Ma, Amandine Créquer-Grandhomme, Clifford A. Lowell, Adrian Erlebacher
Patients with bladder cancer (BCa) with clinical lymph node (LN) metastasis have extremely poor prognosis. VEGF-C has been demonstrated to play vital roles in LN metastasis in BCa. However, approximately 20% of BCa with LN metastasis exhibits low VEGF-C expression, suggesting a VEGF-C-independent mechanism for LN metastasis of BCa. Herein, we demonstrated that BCa cell-secreted exosomes-mediated lymphangiogenesis promoted LN metastasis in BCa, which was in a VEGF-C-independent manner. We identified an exosomal long noncoding RNA (lncRNA), termed lymph node metastasis-associated transcript 2 (LNMAT2), stimulated HLEC tube formation and migration in vitro and enhanced tumor lymphangiogenesis and LN metastasis in vivo. Mechanistically, LNMAT2 was loaded to BCa cell-secreted exosomes by directly interacting with heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein A2B1 (hnRNPA2B1). Subsequently, exosomal LNMAT2 was internalized by HLECs and epigenetically upregulated prospero homeobox 1 (PROX1) expression by recruitment of hnRNPA2B1 and increasing the H3K4 trimethylation level in the PROX1 promoter, ultimately resulting in lymphangiogenesis and lymphatic metastasis. Therefore, our findings highlight a VEGF-C-independent mechanism of exosomal lncRNA-mediated LN metastasis and identify LNMAT2 as a therapeutic target for LN metastasis in BCa.
Changhao Chen, Yuming Luo, Wang He, Yue Zhao, Yao Kong, Hongwei Liu, Guangzheng Zhong, Yuting Li, Jun Li, Jian Huang, Rufu Chen, Tianxin Lin