Intratumoral T cells that might otherwise control tumors are often identified in an ‘exhausted’ state, defined by specific epigenetic modifications and upregulation of genes such as CD38, CTLA-4 and PD-1. While the term might imply inactivity, there has been little study of this state at the phenotypic level in tumors to understand the extent of their incapacitation. Starting with the observation that T cells move more quickly through mouse tumors as residence time increases and they progress towards exhaustion, we elaborated a non-stimulatory live-biopsy method for real-time study of T cell behaviors within individual patient tumors. Using two-photon microscopy, we studied native CD8 T cells interacting with APCs and cancer cells in different micro-niches of human tumors, finding that T cell speed was variable by region and by patient and was inversely correlated with local tumor density. Across a range of tumor types, we found a strong relationship between CD8 T cell motility and exhausted T cell state that corresponds to observations made in mouse models where exhausted T cells move faster. Our study demonstrates T cell dynamic states in individual human tumors and supports the existence of an active program in ‘exhausted’ T cells that extends beyond incapacitating them.
Ran You, Jordan Artichoker, Adam Fries, Austin W. Edwards, Alexis J. Combes, Gabriella C. Reeder, Bushra Samad, Matthew F. Krummel
Both epidemiologic and cellular studies in the context of autoimmune diseases have established that protein tyrosine phosphatase non-receptor type 22 (PTPN22) is a key regulator of T cell receptor (TCR) signaling. However, its mechanism of action in tumors and its translatability as a target for cancer immunotherapy have not been established. Here we show that a germline variant of PTPN22, rs2476601, portended a lower likelihood of cancer in patients. PTPN22 expression was also associated with markers of immune regulation in multiple cancer types. In mice, lack of PTPN22 augmented antitumor activity with greater infiltration and activation of macrophages, natural killer (NK) cells, and T cells. Notably, we generated a novel small molecule inhibitor of PTPN22, named L-1, that phenocopied the antitumor effects seen in genotypic PTPN22 knockout. PTPN22 inhibition promoted activation of CD8+ T cells and macrophage subpopulations toward MHC-II expressing M1-like phenotypes, both of which were necessary for successful antitumor efficacy. Increased PD1-PDL1 axis in the setting of PTPN22 inhibition could be further leveraged with PD1 inhibition to augment antitumor effects. Similarly, cancer patients with the rs2476601 variant responded significantly better to checkpoint inhibitor immunotherapy. Our findings suggest that PTPN22 is a druggable systemic target for cancer immunotherapy.
Won Jin Ho, Sarah Croessmann, Jianping Lin, Zaw H. Phyo, Soren Charmsaz, Ludmila Danilova, Aditya A. Mohan, Nicole E. Gross, Fangluo Chen, Jiajun Dong, Devesh Aggarwal, Yunpeng Bai, Janey Wang, Jing He, James M. Leatherman, Mark Yarchoan, Todd D. Armstrong, Neeha Zaidi, Elana J. Fertig, Joshua C. Denny, Ben H. Park, Zhong-Yin Zhang, Elizabeth M. Jaffee
PFKP (phosphofructokinase, platelet), the major isoform of PFK1 expressed in T cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL), is predominantly expressed in the cytoplasm to carry out its glycolytic function. Our study showed PFKP was a cyto-nuclear shuttling protein with functional nuclear export and nuclear localization sequences. Cyclin D3/CDK6 facilitated PFKP nuclear translocation by dimerization and by exposing the NLS of PFKP to induce the interaction between PFKP and importin 9. Nuclear PFKP stimulated the expression of C-X-C chemokine receptor type 4 (CXCR4), a chemokine receptor regulating leukemia homing/infiltration, to promote T-ALL cell invasion, which depended on the activity of c-Myc. In vivo experiments showed that nuclear PFKP promoted leukemia homing/infiltration into the bone marrow, spleen and liver, which could be blocked with CXCR4 antagonists. Immunohistochemistry staining of tissues from a clinically well-annotated cohort of T cell lymphoma/leukemia patients showed nuclear PFKP localization only in invasive cancers, but not in non-malignant T lymph node or reactive hyperplasia. The presence of nuclear PFKP in these specimens correlated with poor survival in patients with T cell malignancy, suggesting the potential utility of nuclear PFKP as a diagnostic marker.
Xueliang Gao, Shenghui Qin, Yongxia Wu, Chen Chu, Baishan Jiang, Roger H. Johnson, Dong Kuang, Jie Zhang, Xi Wang, Anand Mehta, Kenneth D. Tew, Gustavo W. Leone, Xue-Zhong Yu, Haizhen Wang
Glioblastoma (GBM) remains among the deadliest of human malignancies, and the emergence of the cancer stem cell (CSC) phenotype represents a major challenge to durable treatment response. Because the environmental and lifestyle factors that impact CSC populations are not clear, we sought to understand the consequences of diet on CSC enrichment. We evaluated disease progression in mice fed an obesity-inducing high-fat diet (HFD) versus a low-fat, control diet. HFD resulted in hyper-aggressive disease accompanied by CSC enrichment and shortened survival. HFD drove intracerebral accumulation of saturated fats, which inhibited the production of the cysteine metabolite and gasotransmitter, hydrogen sulfide (H2S). H2S functions principally through protein S-sulfhydration and regulates multiple programs including bioenergetics and metabolism. Inhibition of H2S increased proliferation and chemotherapy resistance, whereas treatment with H2S donors led to death of cultured GBM cells and stasis of GBM tumors in vivo. Syngeneic GBM models and GBM patient specimens present an overall reduction in protein S-sulfhydration, primarily associated with proteins regulating cellular metabolism. These findings provide clear evidence that diet modifiable H2S signaling serves to suppress GBM by restricting metabolic fitness, while its loss triggers CSC enrichment and disease acceleration. Interventions augmenting H2S bioavailability concurrent with GBM standard of care may improve outcomes for GBM patients.
Daniel J. Silver, Gustavo A. Roversi, Nazmin Bithi, Sabrina Z. Wang, Katie M. Troike, Chase K.A. Neumann, Grace K. Ahuja, Ofer Reizes, J. Mark Brown, Christopher Hine, Justin D. Lathia
BACKGROUND. Molecular characterization in pediatric papillary thyroid cancer (PTC), distinct from adult PTC, is important for developing molecular targeted therapies for progressive 131I-refractory PTC. METHODS. PTC samples from 106 pediatric patients (age: 4.3–19.8 years; 21 boys) who attended Seoul National University Hospital (January 1983–March 2020) were available for genomic profiling. Previous transcriptome data from 125 adult PTCs were used for comparison. RESULTS. Genetic drivers were found in 80 tumors; 31 with fusion oncogenes (RET in 21, ALK in 6, and NTRK1/3 in 4), 47 with point mutations (BRAFV600E in 41, TERTC228T in 2, and DICER1 variants in 5), and 2 with amplifications. Fusion-oncogene PTCs, predominantly detected in younger patients, presented with a more advanced stage and showed more recurrent or persistent disease than BRAFV600E PTCs, which were detected mostly in adolescents. Pediatric fusion PTCs (in those aged < 10 years) showed lower expression of thyroid differentiation genes, including SLC5A5, than adult fusion PTCs. Two girls with progressive 131I-refractory lung metastases harboring a TPR-NTRK1 or CCDC6-RET fusion received fusion-targeted therapy; larotrectinib and selpercatinib decreased the tumor extent and restored radioiodine uptake. The girl with the CCDC6-RET fusion received 131I therapy combined with selpercatinib, leading to a tumor response. In vitro 125I uptake and 131I clonogenic assays showed that larotrectinib inhibited growth and restored radioiodine avidity. CONCLUSIONS. In pediatric fusion-oncogene PTC cases with 131I-refractory advanced disease, selective fusion-directed therapy may restore radioiodine avidity and lead to a dramatic tumor response, underscoring the importance of molecular testing in pediatric PTC patients. FUNDING. The Ministry of Science, ICT & Future Planning (grant number NRF-2016R1A2B4012417 91 and 2019R1A2C2084332), the Ministry of Health & Welfare, Republic of Korea (grant number 92 H14C1277), the Ministry of Education (grant number 2020R1A6A1A03047972), and the Seoul 93 National University Hospital Research Fund (grant number 04-2015-0830).
Young Ah Lee, Hyunjung Lee, Sun-Wha Im, Young Shin Song, Do-Youn Oh, Hyoung Jin Kang, Jae-Kyung Won, Kyeong Cheon Jung, Dohee Kwon, Eun-Jae Chung, J. Hun Hah, Jin Chul Paeng, Ji-hoon Kim, Jaeyong Choi, Ok-Hee Kim, Ji Min Oh, Byeong-Cheol Ahn, Lori J. Wirth, Choong Ho Shin, Jong-Il Kim, Young Joo Park
Glioblastoma is a highly malignant and incurable brain tumor characterized by intrinsic and adaptive resistance to immunotherapies. However, how glioma cells induce tumor immunosuppression and escape immunosurveillance remains poorly understood. Here, we find upregulation of cancer-intrinsic Chitinase-3-like-1 (CHI3L1) signaling modulating an immunosuppressive microenvironment by reprogramming tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs). Mechanistically, CHI3L1 binding with Galectin-3 (Gal3) selectively promotes TAM migration and infiltration with a protumor M2-like but not an antitumor M1-like phenotype in vitro and in vivo, governed by a transcriptional program of NFκB/CEBPβ in the CHI3L1/Gal3-PI3K/AKT/mTOR axis. Conversely, Galectin-3-binding protein (Gal3BP) negatively regulates this process by competing with Gal3 to bind CHI3L1. Administration of a Gal3BP mimetic peptide in syngeneic glioblastoma mouse models reverses immune suppression and attenuates tumor progression. These results shed light on the role of CHI3L1 protein complexes in immune evasion by glioblastoma and as a potential immunotherapeutic target for this devastating disease.
Apeng Chen, Yinan Jiang, Zhengwei Li, Lingxiang Wu, Ulises Santiago, Han Zou, Chunhui Cai, Vaibhav Sharma, Yongchang Guan, Lauren H. McCarl, Jie Ma, Yijen L. Wu, Joshua Michel, Yi Shi, Liza Konnikova, Nduka M. Amankulor, Pascal O. Zinn, Gary Kohanbash, Sameer Agnihotri, Songjian Lu, Xinghua Lu, Dandan Sun, George K. Gittes, Qianghu Wang, Xiangwei Xiao, Dean Yimlamai, Ian F. Pollack, Carlos J. Camacho, Baoli Hu
Unlike the better-studied aberrant epigenome in the tumor, the clinicopathologic impact of DNA methylation in the tumor microenvironment (TME), especially the contribution from cancer-associated fibroblast (CAF), remains elusive. CAFs exhibit profound patient-to-patient tumorigenic heterogeneity. We ask whether such heterogeneity may be exploited to quantify the level of TME malignancy or not. We developed a robust and efficient methylome/transcriptome co-analysis system for CAFs and paired normal fibroblasts (NFs) from non-small-cell lung cancer patients. We found 14,781 CpG sites of CAF/NF differential methylation, of which 3,707 sites showed higher methylation changes in ever-smokers than in non-smokers. Concomitant CAF/NF differential gene expression analysis pinpointed to a subset of 54 smoking-associated CpG sites with strong methylation-regulated gene expression. A methylation index that summarizes the beta-values of these CpGs was built for NF/CAF discrimination (MIND) with high sensitivity and specificity. The potential of MIND in detecting pre-malignancy across individual patients was shown. MIND succeeded in predicting tumor recurrence in multiple lung cancer cohorts without reliance on patient survival data, suggesting that the malignancy level of TME may be effectively graded by this index. Precision TME grading may provide additional pathological information to guide cancer prognosis and open up more options in personalized medicine.
Sheng-Fang Su, Hao Ho, Jia-Hua Li, Ming-Fang Wu, Hsu-Chieh Wang, Hsiang-Yuan Yeh, Shuenn-Wen Kuo, Huei-Wen Chen, Chao-Chi Ho, Ker-Chau Li
Myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC) are major negative regulators of immune responses in cancer and chronic infections. It remains unclear if regulation of MDSC activity at different conditions is controlled by similar mechanisms. We compared MDSC in mice with cancer and lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) infection. Chronic LCMV infection caused the development of monocytic - M-MDSC but did not induce polymorphonuclear - PMN-MDSC. In contrast, both MDSC populations were present in cancer models. An acquisition of immune suppressive activity by PMN-MDSC in cancer was controlled by IRE1α and ATF6 pathways of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress response. Abrogation of PMN-MDSC activity by blockade of the ER stress response resulted in increase in tumor-specific immune response and reduced tumor progression. In contrast, the ER stress response was dispensable for suppressive activity of M-MDSC in cancer and LCMV infection. Acquisition of immune suppressive activity by M-MDSC in spleens was mediated by IFN-γ signaling. However, it was dispensable for suppressive activity of M-MDSC in tumor tissues. Suppressive activity of M-MDSC in tumors was retained due to the effect of IL-6 present at high concentrations in tumor site. These results demonstrate disease and population-specific mechanisms of MDSC accumulation and need for targeting of different pathways to achieve inactivation of these cells.
Evgenii N. Tcyganov, Shino Hanabuchi, Ayumi Hashimoto, David Campbell, Gozde Kar, Timothy W.F. Slidel, Corinne Cayatte, Aimee Landry, Fernanda Pilataxi, Susana Hayes, Brian Dougherty, Kristin C. Hicks, Kathy Mulgrew, Chih-Hang A. Tang, Chih-Chi A. Hu, Wei Guo, Sergei Grivennikov, Mohammed-Alkhatim A. Ali, Jean-Christophe Beltra, E. John Wherry, Yulia Nefedova, Dmitry I. Gabrilovich
Clinical immunotherapy approaches are lacking efficacy in the treatment of glioblastoma (GBM). In this study, we sought to reverse local and systemic GBM-induced immunosuppression using the Helicobacter pylori neutrophil-activating protein (NAP), a potent TLR2 agonist, as an immunostimulatory transgene expressed in an oncolytic measles virus (MV) platform, retargeted to allow viral entry through the urokinase-type plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR). While single-agent murine anti-PD1 treatment or repeat in situ immunization with MV-s-NAP-uPA provided modest survival benefit in MV-resistant syngeneic GBM models, the combination treatment led to synergy with a cure rate of 80% in mice bearing intracranial GL261 tumors and 72% in mice with CT-2A tumors. Combination NAP-immunovirotherapy induced massive influx of lymphoid cells in mouse brain, with CD8+ T cell predominance; therapeutic efficacy was CD8+ T cell dependent. Inhibition of the IFN response pathway using the JAK1/JAK2 inhibitor ruxolitinib decreased PD-L1 expression on myeloid-derived suppressor cells in the brain and further potentiated the therapeutic effect of MV-s-NAP-uPA and anti-PD1. Our findings support the notion that MV strains armed with bacterial immunostimulatory antigens represent an effective strategy to overcome the limited efficacy of immune checkpoint inhibitor–based therapies in GBM, creating a promising translational strategy for this lethal brain tumor.
Eleni Panagioti, Cheyne Kurokawa, Kimberly Viker, Arun Ammayappan, S. Keith Anderson, Sotiris Sotiriou, Kyriakos Chatzopoulos, Katayoun Ayasoufi, Aaron J. Johnson, Ianko D. Iankov, Evanthia Galanis
SLIT2 is a secreted polypeptide that guides migration of cells expressing ROBO1&2 receptors. Herein, we investigated SLIT2/ROBO signaling effects in gliomas. In patients with glioblastoma (GBM), SLIT2 expression increased with malignant progression and correlated with poor survival and immunosuppression. Knockdown of SLIT2 in mouse glioma cells and patient derived GBM xenografts reduced tumor growth and rendered tumors sensitive to immunotherapy. Tumor cell SLIT2 knockdown inhibited macrophage invasion and promoted a cytotoxic gene expression profile, which improved tumor vessel function and enhanced efficacy of chemotherapy and immunotherapy. Mechanistically, SLIT2 promoted microglia/macrophage chemotaxis and tumor-supportive polarization via ROBO1&2-mediated PI3Kgamma activation. Macrophage Robo1&2 deletion and systemic SLIT2 trap delivery mimicked SLIT2 knockdown effects on tumor growth and the tumor microenvironment (TME), revealing SLIT2 signaling through macrophage ROBOs as a potentially novel regulator of the GBM microenvironment and immunotherapeutic target for brain tumors.
Luiz H. Geraldo, Yunling Xu, Laurent Jacob, Laurence Pibouin-Fragner, Rohit Rao, Nawal Maïssa, Maite Verreault, Nolwenn Lemaire, Camille Knosp, Corinne Lesaffre, Thomas Daubon, Joost Dejaegher, Lien Solie, Justine Rudewicz, Thomas Viel, Bertrand Tavitian, Steven De Vleeschouwer, Marc Sanson, Andreas Bikfalvi, Ahmed Idbaih, Qing Richard Lu, Flavia R.S. Lima, Jean-Leon Thomas., Anne Eichmann, Thomas Mathivet