NK cells are a major component of the antitumor immune response and are involved in controlling tumor progression and metastases in animal models. Here, we show that dysfunction of these cells accompanies human breast tumor progression. We characterized human peripheral blood NK (p-NK) cells and malignant mammary tumor-infiltrating NK (Ti-NK) cells from patients with noninvasive and invasive breast cancers. NK cells isolated from the peripheral blood of healthy donors and normal breast tissue were used as controls. With disease progression, we found that expression of activating NK cell receptors (such as NKp30, NKG2D, DNAM-1, and CD16) decreased while expression of inhibitory receptors (such as NKG2A) increased and that this correlated with decreased NK cell function, most notably cytotoxicity. Importantly, Ti-NK cells had more pronounced impairment of their cytotoxic potential than p-NK cells. We also identified several stroma-derived factors, including TGF-β1, involved in tumor-induced reduction of normal NK cell function. Our data therefore show that breast tumor progression involves NK cell dysfunction and that breast tumors model their environment to evade NK cell antitumor immunity. This highlights the importance of developing future therapies able to restore NK cell cytotoxicity to limit/prevent tumor escape from antitumor immunity.
Emilie Mamessier, Aude Sylvain, Marie-Laure Thibult, Gilles Houvenaeghel, Jocelyne Jacquemier, Rémy Castellano, Anthony Gonçalves, Pascale André, François Romagné, Gilles Thibault, Patrice Viens, Daniel Birnbaum, François Bertucci, Alessandro Moretta, Daniel Olive
This file is in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) format. If you have not installed and configured the Adobe Acrobat Reader on your system.
PDFs are designed to be printed out and read, but if you prefer to read them online, you may find it easier if you increase the view size to 125%.
Many versions of the free Acrobat Reader do not allow Save. You must instead save the PDF from the JCI Online page you downloaded it from. PC users: Right-click on the Download link and choose the option that says something like "Save Link As...". Mac users should hold the mouse button down on the link to get these same options.