bims-stacyt Biomed News
on Paracrine crosstalk between cancer and the organism
Issue of 2021‒03‒07
nine papers selected by
Cristina Muñoz Pinedo
L’Institut d’Investigació Biomèdica de Bellvitge

  1. Oncoimmunology. 2021 Feb 02. 10(1): 1873585
      The understanding of the role of B cells in patients with solid tumors remains insufficient. We found that circulating B cells produced TNFα and/or IL-6, associated with unresponsiveness and poor overall survival of melanoma patients treated with anti-CTLA4 antibody. Transcriptome analysis of B cells from melanoma metastases showed enriched expression of inflammatory response genes. Publicly available single B cell data from the tumor microenvironment revealed a negative correlation between TNFα expression and response to immune checkpoint blockade. These findings suggest that B cells contribute to tumor growth via the production of inflammatory cytokines. Possibly, these B cells are different from tertiary lymphoid structure-associated B cells, which have been described to correlate with favorable clinical outcome of cancer patients. Further studies are required to identify and characterize B cell subsets and their functions promoting or counteracting tumor growth, with the aim to identify biomarkers and novel treatment targets.
    Keywords:  B cells; immune checkpoint; inflammation; melanoma; tumor microenvironment
  2. Int J Oncol. 2021 May;pii: 14. [Epub ahead of print]58(5):
      The tumor microenvironment composed of a mixture of stromal cells and their secretions has a marked impact on cancer progression. In particular, soluble factors and metabolites contribute to malignancy through the dysregulation of autophagy in cancer cells. The present study investigated the effects of ovarian cancer‑associated fibroblasts (OVCAFs) with their secretory substances on the autophagy and migration of ovarian cancer cells. The conditioned‑medium (CM) of OVCAFs isolated from fresh human ovarian cancer tissues was analyzed for the levels of 27 common cytokines/chemokines using a cytokine array. Autophagy in cancer cells was assessed by determining the expression of the vacuolar form of LC3 by western blot analysis and immunofluorescence. Cancer cell migration was assessed by Transwell migration assay. Interleukin (IL)‑8 was found to be the most highly upregulated cytokine among the cytokines/chemokines found in the OVCAF‑CM. The role of IL‑8 in ovarian cancer cell migration and its mechanistic link with autophagy was investigated. Recombinant human IL‑8 (rhIL‑8) stimulated the migration of SKOV3 and Kuramochi ovarian cancer cells, and concurrently downregulated basal autophagy, in concentration‑dependent manner. Compared to the CM of control counterpart normal fibroblasts isolated from benign ovaries (OVNF‑CM), the CM from 3 OVCAF isolates (namely, OVCAF‑9, ‑20 and ‑43) exerted effects similar to rhIL‑8 on both cancer cell lines. The pharmacological induction of autophagy with rapamycin or metformin attenuated the pro‑migratory effects of IL‑8. Neutralizing anti‑IL‑8 antibody counteracted the inhibitory effect of OVCAF‑CM on basal autophagy. On the whole, the present study highlights the involvement of IL‑8 released by CAFs in the ovarian tumor microenvironment in promoting cancer cell migration through the suppression of autophagy.
  3. Cancer Discov. 2021 Mar 02. pii: candisc.0119.2020. [Epub ahead of print]
      Although pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) cells are exposed to a nutrient-depleted tumor microenvironment, they can acquire nutrients via macropinocytosis, an endocytic form of protein scavenging that functions to support cancer metabolism. Here, we provide evidence that macropinocytosis is operational in the pancreatic tumor stroma. We find that glutamine deficiency triggers macropinocytic uptake in pancreatic cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs). Mechanistically, we decipher that stromal macropinocytosis is potentiated via the enhancement of cytosolic Ca2+ and dependent on ARHGEF2 and CaMKK2-AMPK signaling. We elucidate that macropinocytosis has dual function in CAFs - it serves as a source of intracellular amino acids that sustain CAF cell fitness and function, and it provides secreted amino acids that promote tumor cell survival. Importantly, we demonstrate that stromal macropinocytosis supports PDAC tumor growth. These results highlight the functional role of macropinocytosis in the tumor stroma and provide a mechanistic understanding of how nutrient deficiency can control stromal protein scavenging.
  4. PLoS One. 2021 ;16(3): e0247394
      The inflammatory cytokine IL-6 is known to play a causal role in the promotion of cancer, although the underlying mechanisms remain to be completely understood. Interplay between endogenous and environmental cues determines the fate of cancer development. The Eμ-myc transgenic mouse expresses elevated levels of c-Myc in the B cell lineage and develops B cell lymphomas with associated mutations in p53 or other genes linked to apoptosis. We generated Eμ-myc mice that either lacked the IL-6 gene, or lacked the STAT3 gene specifically in B cells to determine the role of the IL-6/JAK/STAT3 pathway in tumor development. Using the Eμ-myc lymphoma mouse model, we demonstrate that IL-6 is a critical tumor promoter during early stages of B cell lymphomagenesis. IL-6 is shown to inhibit the expression of tumor suppressors, notably BIM and PTEN, and this may contribute to advancing MYC-driven B cell tumorigenesis. Several miRNAs known to target BIM and PTEN are upregulated by IL-6 and likely lead to the stable suppression of pro-apoptotic pathways early during the tumorigenic process. STAT3, a classical downstream effector of IL-6, appears dispensable for Eμ-myc driven lymphomagenesis. We conclude that the growth-promoting and anti-apoptotic mechanisms activated by IL-6 are critically involved in Eμ-myc driven tumor initiation and progression, but the B cell intrinsic expression of STAT3 is not required.
  5. Cancers (Basel). 2021 Feb 16. pii: 821. [Epub ahead of print]13(4):
      Cytokines are key molecules within the tumor microenvironment (TME) that can be used as biomarkers to predict the magnitude of anti-tumor immune responses. During immune monitoring, it has been customary to predict outcomes based on the abundance of a single cytokine, in particular IFN-γ or TGF-β, as a readout of ongoing anti-cancer immunity. However, individual cytokines within the TME can exhibit dual opposing roles. For example, both IFN-γ and TGF-β have been associated with pro- and anti-tumor functions. Moreover, cytokines originating from different cellular sources influence the crosstalk between CD4+ and CD8+ T cells, while the array of cytokines expressed by T cells is also instrumental in defining the mechanisms of action and efficacy of treatments. Thus, it becomes increasingly clear that a reliable readout of ongoing immunity within the TME will have to include more than the measurement of a single cytokine. This review focuses on defining a panel of cytokines that could help to reliably predict and analyze the outcomes of T cell-based anti-tumor therapies.
    Keywords:  T cell; cytokines; effector function; immune monitoring; immunotherapy; polyfunctionality; tumor
  6. Cancer Lett. 2021 Feb 27. pii: S0304-3835(21)00091-4. [Epub ahead of print]
      Human glioblastoma (GBM) is one of the most feared primary malignant brain tumors. We investigated the effect of hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) on GBM patient-derived cells and on microglia cell biology (CHME-5). HBO administered to GBM cells inhibited cell proliferation, downregulated hypoxia-inducible factor 1 α (HIF-1α) expression, and induced glucose metabolism reprogramming (glucose rewiring). It also affected the ability of a cell to perpetuate its lineage, give rise to differentiated cells and interact with its environment to maintain a balance between quiescence, proliferation and regeneration (stemness features). Such an effect may be ascribable to an increase in intracellular ROS levels and to the triggering of inflammasome signaling by HBO itself through caspase1 activation. Moreover, the results obtained from the combination of HBO and radiotherapy (RT) clearly showed a radiosensitizing effect of HBO on GBM cells grown in both 2D and 3D, and a radioprotective effect of HBO in CHME-5. In addition, the exposure of M0 microglia cells to exhausted medium or extracellular vesicles (EVs) of HBO-treated GBM cells upregulated the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines IL1β, IL6 and STAT1, whilst also downregulating the anti-inflammatory cytokine PPARγ. Collectively, these data provide a scientific rationale for the use of HBO in combination with RT for the treatment of patients with GBM.
    Keywords:  Glioblastoma; Hypoxia; Inflammation; Preclinical studies; Radioresistance
  7. Oncol Rep. 2021 Mar;45(3): 1284-1294
      The cancer microenvironment exhibits local acidosis compared with the surrounding normal tissue. Many reports have shown that acidosis accelerates the invasiveness and metastasis of cancer, yet the underlying molecular mechanisms remain unclear. In the present study, we focused on acid-induced functional changes through acid receptors in breast cancer cells. Acidic treatment induced interleukin (IL)-8 expression in MDA-MB-231 cells and promoted cell migration and invasion. The acidic microenvironment elevated matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2 and MMP-9 activity, and addition of IL-8 had similar effects. However, inhibition of IL-8 suppressed the acid-induced migration and invasion of MDA-MB-231 cells. MDA-MB-231 cells express various acid receptors including ion channels and G protein-coupled receptors. Interestingly, acidic stimulation increased the expression of acid-sensing ion channel 1 (ASIC1), and acid-induced IL-8 was significantly decreased by ASIC1 knockdown. Moreover, phosphorylation of nuclear factor (NF)-κB was induced by acidic treatment, and inhibition of NF-κB activation reduced acid-induced IL-8 expression. These results suggest that IL-8 induction by an acidic microenvironment promotes breast cancer development and that ASIC1 might be a novel therapeutic target for breast cancer metastasis.
  8. Cell Immunol. 2021 Feb 12. pii: S0008-8749(21)00031-9. [Epub ahead of print]363 104312
      Myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) impair protective anti-tumor immunity and remain major obstacles that stymie the effectiveness of promising cancer therapies. Diverse tumor-derived stressors galvanize the differentiation, intra-tumoral expansion, and immunomodulatory function of MDSCs. These tumor-associated 'axes of stress' underwrite the immunosuppressive programming of MDSCs in cancer and contribute to the phenotypic/functional heterogeneity that characterize tumor-MDSCs. This review discusses various tumor-associated axes of stress that direct MDSC development, accumulation, and immunosuppressive function, as well as current strategies aimed at overcoming the detrimental impact of MDSCs in cancer. To better understand the constellation of signals directing MDSC biology, we herein summarize the pivotal roles, signaling mediators, and effects of reactive oxygen/nitrogen species-related stress, chronic inflammatory stress, hypoxia-linked stress, endoplasmic reticulum stress, metabolic stress, and therapy-associated stress on MDSCs. Although therapeutic targeting of these processes remains mostly pre-clinical, intercepting signaling through the axes of stress could overcome MDSC-related immune suppression in tumor-bearing hosts.
    Keywords:  Cancer; ER stress; Immunotherapy; MDSC
  9. Cancer Immunol Res. 2021 Mar 01. pii: canimm.0692.2020. [Epub ahead of print]
      Type I interferons (IFN) are implicated in tumor immunogenicity and response to systemic therapy, but their interaction with oncogene signaling is not well understood. Here, we studied oncogenic KIT, which drives gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST), the most common sarcoma. Using mouse models of GIST, we found that KIT inhibition reduced type I IFN production and signaling, which downregulated tumor MHC class I expression. Absence of type I IFN signaling increased tumor size, in part due to CD8+ T-cell impairment. Oncogenic KIT was required for GIST type I IFN signal transduction via STAT1. In human GIST cell lines and surgical specimens, type I IFN signaling contributed to HLA class I expression and correlated with tumor immunogenicity. Augmenting the type I IFN response partially compensated for the immunosuppressive effects of KIT inhibition. Thus, KIT signaling contributes to type I IFN signaling while KIT inhibition attenuates tumor immunogenicity and is party rescued by innate immune stimulation.