bims-flamet Biomed News
on Cytokines and immunometabolism in metastasis
Issue of 2023‒04‒16
33 papers selected by
Peio Azcoaga
Biodonostia HRI

  1. Zhongguo Fei Ai Za Zhi. 2023 Mar 20. 26(3): 228-237
      Tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs), characterized by high plasticity, are the most abundant immune cells in the tumor microenvironment (TME). TAMs are recruited to tumor region in response to various TME components such as cytokines, chemokines as well as exosomes. Subsequently, these environmental cues induce a certain polarization state of TAMs, ranging from anti-tumor states (M1-like) to pro-tumor states (M2-like). Furthermore, the polarization process of TAMs is continuous and gradually inclines toward the M2-like state with malignant progression, forming a positive feedback loop that facilitates tumor growth and metastasis. Consequently, figuring out the factors and mechanisms affecting TAMs polarization is beneficial for developing novel therapeutic strategies that can be combined with other immunotherapies for lung cancer. In previous studies, many significant molecules and pathways which could promote the M2 polarization of TAMs were identified. However, the underlying mechanisms of this sophisticated cross-talk between tumor cells, stroma cells and TAMs remain still difficult to by fully understand. In this review, we summarize the comprehensive factors involved in triggering TAMs polarization towards the M2 phenotype and further explore the relevant molecular mechanisms.
    Keywords:  Polarization; Tumor immunity; Tumor microenvironment; Tumor-associated macrophages
  2. Front Oncol. 2023 ;13 1063051
      Breast cancer ranks second among the causes of cancer-related deaths in women. In spite of the recent advances achieved in the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer, further study is required to overcome the risk of cancer resistance to treatment and thereby improve the prognosis of individuals with advanced-stage breast cancer. The existence of a hypoxic microenvironment is a well-known event in the development of mutagenesis and rapid proliferation of cancer cells. Tumor cells, purposefully cause local hypoxia in order to induce angiogenesis and growth factors that promote tumor growth and metastatic characteristics, while healthy tissue surrounding the tumor suffers damage or mutate. It has been found that these settings with low oxygen levels cause immunosuppression and a lack of immune surveillance by reducing the activation and recruitment of tumor infiltrating leukocytes (TILs). The immune system is further suppressed by hypoxic tumor endothelium through a variety of ways, which creates an immunosuppressive milieu in the tumor microenvironment. Non responsiveness of tumor endothelium to inflammatory signals or endothelial anergy exclude effector T cells from the tumor milieu. Expression of endothelial specific antigens and immunoinhibitory molecules like Programmed death ligand 1,2 (PDL-1, 2) and T cell immunoglobulin and mucin-domain containing-3 (TIM-3) by tumor endothelium adds fuel to the fire by inhibiting T lymphocytes while promoting regulatory T cells. The hypoxic microenvironment in turn recruits Myeloid Derived Suppressor Cells (MDSCs), Tumor Associated Macrophages (TAMs) and T regulatory cells (Treg). The structure and function of newly generated blood vessels within tumors, on the other hand, are aberrant, lacking the specific organization of normal tissue vasculature. Vascular normalisation may work for a variety of tumour types and show to be an advantageous complement to immunotherapy for improving tumour access. By enhancing immune response in the hypoxic tumor microenvironment, via immune-herbal therapeutic and immune-nutraceuticals based approaches that leverage immunological evasion of tumor, will be briefly reviewed in this article. Whether these tactics may be the game changer for emerging immunological switch point to attenuate the breast cancer growth and prevent metastatic cell division, is the key concern of the current study.
    Keywords:  T regulatory cells (Treg cells); angiogenesis; hypoxia inducible factors (HIFs); hypoxic tumor microenvironment; immunological switch point; myeloid derived suppressor cells (MDSCs); tumor endothelial cells (TECs)
  3. Arch Immunol Ther Exp (Warsz). 2023 Apr 11. 71(1): 11
      Mast cells are involved in tumor growth and their mediators exert both pro- and anti-tumorigenic roles in different human cancers. The identification of defined immunosuppressive pathways that are present in the tumor microenvironment has pointed therapeutic strategies that may promote inflammation and/or innate immune activation in this context. Mast cells can contribute to the immune suppressive tumor microenvironment and may also enhance anti-tumor responses. This review article is focused on the analysis of the mechanisms of the role of mast cells in resistance to immunotherapy in cancer.
    Keywords:  Immunotherapy; Mast cells; Resistance; Tumor growth
  4. Sci Rep. 2023 Apr 11. 13(1): 5875
      Among the different breast cancer subsets, triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) has the worst prognosis and limited options for targeted therapies. Immunotherapies are emerging as novel treatment opportunities for TNBC. However, the surging immune response elicited by immunotherapies to eradicate cancer cells can select resistant cancer cells, which may result in immune escape and tumor evolution and progression. Alternatively, maintaining the equilibrium phase of the immune response may be advantageous for keeping a long-term immune response in the presence of a small-size residual tumor. Myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) are activated, expanded, and recruited to the tumor microenvironment by tumor-derived signals and can shape a pro-tumorigenic micro-environment by suppressing the innate and adaptive anti-tumor immune responses. We recently proposed a model describing immune-mediated breast cancer dormancy instigated by a vaccine consisting of dormant, immunogenic breast cancer cells derived from the murine 4T1 TNBC-like cell line. Strikingly, these 4T1-derived dormant cells recruited fewer MDSCs compared to aggressive 4T1 cells. Recent experimental studies demonstrated that inactivating MDSCs has a profound impact on reconstituting immune surveillance against the tumor. Here, we developed a deterministic mathematical model for simulating MDSCs depletion from mice bearing aggressive 4T1 tumors resulting in immunomodulation. Our computational simulations indicate that a vaccination strategy with a small number of tumor cells in combination with MDSC depletion can elicit an effective immune response suppressing the growth of a subsequent challenge with aggressive tumor cells, resulting in sustained tumor dormancy. The results predict a novel therapeutic opportunity based on the induction of effective anti-tumor immunity and tumor dormancy.
  5. Med Oncol. 2023 Apr 11. 40(5): 142
      Tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) are an important component of the tumor microenvironment (TME) and have been linked to immunosuppression and poor prognosis. TAMs have been shown to be harmful in ovarian cancer (OC), with a positive correlation between their high levels of tumors and poor overall patient survival. These cells are crucial in the progression and chemoresistance of OC. The primary pro-tumoral role of TAMs is the release of cytokines, chemokines, enzymes, and exosomes that directly enhance the invasion potential and chemoresistance of OC by activating their pro-survival signalling pathways. TAMs play a crucial role in the metastasis of OC in the peritoneum and ascities by assisting in spheroid formation and cancer cell adhesion to the metastatic regions. Furthermore, TAMs interact with tumor protein p53 (TP53), exosomes, and other immune cells, such as stem cells and cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) to support the progression and metastasis of OC. In this review we revisit development, functions and interactions of TAMs in the TME of OC patients to highlight and shed light on challenges and excitement down the road.
    Keywords:  Cancer associated fibroblasts; Exosome; Ovarian cancer; Stem cells; TAMs; TP53
  6. J Cancer Res Clin Oncol. 2023 Apr 13.
      The search for therapeutic options for lung cancer continues to advance, with rapid advances in the search for therapies to improve patient prognosis. At present, systemic chemotherapy, immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy, antiangiogenic therapy, and targeted therapy for driver gene positivity are available in the clinic. Common clinical treatments fail to achieve desired outcomes due to immunosuppression of the tumor microenvironment (TME). Tumor immune evasion is mediated by cytokines, chemokines, immune cells, and other cells such as vascular endothelial cells within the tumor immune microenvironment. Tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) are important immune cells in the TME, inducing tumor angiogenesis, encouraging tumor cell proliferation and migration, and suppressing antitumor immune responses. Thus, TAM targeting becomes the key to lung cancer immunotherapy. This review focuses on macrophage phenotype, polarization mechanism, role in lung cancer, and advances in macrophage centric immunotherapies.
    Keywords:  Immunotherapy; Lung cancer; Therapeutic target; Tumor immune microenvironment; Tumor-associated macrophages
  7. Cancer Res. 2023 Apr 14. 83(8): 1170-1172
      Despite their abundance throughout the body, adipocytes are often ignored for their contributions within the tumor microenvironment (TME). However, their role in fueling cancer is becoming increasingly apparent as interest in the TME has seen remarkable advances in recent years. A seminal study by Dirat and colleagues highlighted the essential impact of the peritumoral adipose tissue in breast cancer progression and was among the first to demonstrate that tumor cells can reprogram adipocytes within their immediate niche to adopt unique characteristics. These "cancer-associated adipocytes" (CAA) were found to exchange cytokines and lipids with tumor cells, leading to their metabolic rewiring and acquisition of proinflammatory and invasive phenotypes. These important discoveries have represented a breakthrough in understanding the bidirectional metabolic dialog between adipocytes and tumor cells, and have contributed renewed perspectives on the functional contributions of adipocytes within the TME. Moreover, the effects of CAA may be further amplified in the setting of obesity as lipids dramatically accumulate, providing insights into the link between breast cancer and its more advanced clinical state in obese conditions. Thus, the different molecular actors involved in the dialog between tumor cells and CAA represent promising therapeutic targets that may have particular relevance in improving prognosis in obese patients with cancer. See related article by Dirat and colleagues, Cancer Res 2011;71:2455-65.
  8. Adv Healthc Mater. 2023 Apr 08. e2300191
      Myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) and tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs), two immunosuppressive myeloid components within the tumor microenvironment (TME), represent fundamental barriers in cancer immunotherapy, whereas current nanomedicines rarely exert dual modulatory roles on these cell types simultaneously. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) not only mediates MDSC-induced immunosuppression but also triggers differentiation and polarization of M2-TAMs. We herein report an ROS scavenging nanozyme, Zr-CeO, with enhanced superoxide dismutase (SOD)- and catalase (CAT)-like activities for renal tumor growth inhibition. Mechanistically, intracellular ROS scavenging by Zr-CeO significantly attenuated MDSC immunosuppression via dampening the unfolded protein response, hindered M2-TAM polarization through the ERK and STAT3 pathways, but barely affected neoplastic cells and cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs). Furthermore, Zr-CeO enhanced the anti-tumor effect of PD-1 inhibition in murine renal and breast tumor models, accompanied with substantially decreased MDSC recruitment and reprogrammed phenotype of TAMs in the tumor mass. Upon cell isolation, we identified reversed immunosuppressive phenotypes of MDSCs and TAMs. In addition, Zr-CeO alone or combination therapy enhanced T lymphocyte infiltration and IFN-γ production within the TME. Collectively, we provided a promising strategy to impair the quantity and function of immunosuppressive myeloid cells and sensitize immunotherapy in both renal and breast cancers. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Keywords:  cancer immunotherapy; immune checkpoint blockade therapy; myeloid-derived suppressor cells; nanozymes; tumor-associated macrophages
  9. J Transl Med. 2023 Apr 12. 21(1): 255
      PURPOSE: The claudin 18.2 (CLDN18.2) antigen is frequently expressed in malignant tumors, including pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). Although CLDN18.2-targeted CAR-T cells demonstrated some therapeutic efficacy in PDAC patients, further improvement is needed. One of the major obstacles might be the abundant cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) in the PDAC tumor microenvironment (TME). Targeting fibroblast activation protein (FAP), a vital characteristic of CAFs provides a potential way to overcome this obstacle. In this study, we explored the combined antitumor activity of FAP-targeted and CLDN18.2-targeted CAR-T cells against PDAC.METHODS: Novel FAP-targeted CAR-T cells were developed. Sequential treatment of FAP-targeted and CLDN18.2-targeted CAR-T cells as well as the corresponding mechanism were explored in immunocompetent mouse models of PDAC.
    RESULTS: The results indicated that the priorly FAP-targeted CAR-T cells infusion could significantly eliminate CAFs and enhance the anti-PDAC efficacy of subsequently CLDN18.2-targeted CAR-T cells in vivo. Interestingly, we observed that FAP-targeted CAR-T cells could suppress the recruitment of myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) and promote the survival of CD8+ T cells and CAR-T cells in tumor tissue.
    CONCLUSION: In summary, our finding demonstrated that FAP-targeted CAR-T cells could increase the antitumor activities of sequential CAR-T therapy via remodeling TME, at least partially through inhibiting MDSCs recruitment. Sequential infusion of FAP-targeted and CLDN18.2-targeted CAR-T cells might be a feasible approach to enhance the clinical outcome of PDAC.
  10. Clin Transl Oncol. 2023 Apr 11.
      The development of cancers is aided by the accumulation of myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) within tumors, which are highly effective at suppressing anti-tumor immune responses. Direct cell-to-cell interaction and the production of immunosuppressive mediators have both been proposed as pathways for MDSC-mediated suppression of anti-tumor immune responses. The majority of current cancer treatments focus on altering the development and activity of MDSCs so that they have more of an immunogenic character. Autophagy is a catabolic system that contributes to the breakdown of damaged intracellular material and the recycling of metabolites. However, depending on the stage of tumor growth, autophagy can play both a prophylactic and a therapeutic function in carcinogenesis. However, several indirect lines of research have indicated that autophagy is a significant regulator of MDSC activity. The purpose of this work was to outline the interactions between MDSC and autophagy in cancer.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; Immunotherapy; Myeloid-derived suppressor cells; Regulatory responses
  11. Trends Mol Med. 2023 Apr 10. pii: S1471-4914(23)00066-7. [Epub ahead of print]
      Wnt signaling plays numerous functions in cancer, from primary transformation and tumor growth to metastasis. In addition to these cancer cell-intrinsic functions, Wnt signaling emerges to critically control cross-communication among cancer cells and the tumor microenvironment (TME). Here, we summarize the evidence that not only multiple cancer cell types, but also cells constituting the TME 'speak the Wnt language'. Fibroblasts, macrophages, endothelia, and lymphocytes all use the Wnt language to convey messages to and from cancer cells and among themselves; these messages are important for tumor progression and fate. Decoding this language will advance our understanding of tumor biology and unveil novel therapeutic avenues.
    Keywords:  Wnt; drug discovery; fibroblasts; immune cells; tumor microenvironment
  12. BMB Rep. 2023 Apr 11. pii: 5879. [Epub ahead of print]
      The tumor microenvironment (TME) is a complex system composed of many cell types and an extracellular matrix (ECM). During tumorigenesis, cancer cells constantly interact with cellular components, biochemical cues, and the ECM in the TME, all of which make the environment favorable for cancer growth. Emerging evidence has revealed the importance of substrate elasticity and biomechanical forces in tumor progression and metastasis. However, the mechanisms underlying the cell response to mechanical signals-such as extrinsic mechanical forces and forces generated within the TME-are still relatively unknown. Moreover, having a deeper understanding of the mechanisms by which cancer cells sense mechanical forces and transmit signals to the cytoplasm would substantially help develop effective strategies for cancer treatment. This review provides an overview of biomechanical forces in the TME and the intracellular signaling pathways activated by mechanical cues as well as highlights the role of mechanotransductive pathways through mechanosensors that detect the altering biomechanical forces in the TME.
  13. Mol Biol Rep. 2023 Apr 12.
      BACKGROUND: Breast cancer metastatic programming involves an intricate process by which the tumor cell coevolves with the surrounding extracellular niche. The supporting cells from the local host stroma get transformed into cancer-associated stromal cells. This complex crosstalk leads to extracellular matrix remodeling, invasion, and eventually distant metastasis.METHODS: In this review, we examine the protein-miRNA secretome that is crucial for this crosstalk. We also provide evidence from the literature for the pivotal role played by the various stromal cells like fibroblasts, adipocytes, and immune cells in promoting the process of EMT in breast cancer. Through in-silico analysis, we have also attempted to establish that stromal presence is integral to the process of EMT.
    RESULTS AND CONCLUSION: The in-silico analysis delineates the persuasive role of the stroma in mediating epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition. This review elucidates the importance of examining the role of the stromal niche that can yield promising diagnostic markers and pave avenues for formulating tailored anti-cancer therapy. Process of EMT as driven by 'stroma-hot' tumors: The process of EMT is driven by the stromal cells. The stromal cells in the form of  fibroblasts, adipocytes, endothelial cells, mesenchymal stromal cells and tissue associated macrophages secrete the miRNA-protein secretome that modulates the stromal niche and the tumor cells to be become 'tumor associated'. This drives tumor progression and invasion. The 'stromal-hot' tumors eventually get the benefit of the surplus nurturing from the stroma that facilitates EMT leading to distant organ seeding and metastasis.
    Keywords:  Breast cancer; Epithelial–mesenchymal transition; Metastasis; MicroRNAs; Tumor–stromal crosstalk
  14. Cell. 2023 Apr 13. pii: S0092-8674(23)00277-5. [Epub ahead of print]186(8): 1580-1609
      Tumor cells do not exist in isolation in vivo, and carcinogenesis depends on the surrounding tumor microenvironment (TME), composed of a myriad of cell types and biophysical and biochemical components. Fibroblasts are integral in maintaining tissue homeostasis. However, even before a tumor develops, pro-tumorigenic fibroblasts in close proximity can provide the fertile 'soil' to the cancer 'seed' and are known as cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs). In response to intrinsic and extrinsic stressors, CAFs reorganize the TME enabling metastasis, therapeutic resistance, dormancy and reactivation by secreting cellular and acellular factors. In this review, we summarize the recent discoveries on CAF-mediated cancer progression with a particular focus on fibroblast heterogeneity and plasticity.
  15. Bioact Mater. 2023 Jul;25 527-540
      Highly immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment containing various protumoral immune cells accelerates malignant transformation and treatment resistance. In particular, tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs), as the predominant infiltrated immune cells in a tumor, play a pivotal role in regulating the immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment. As a potential therapeutic strategy to counteract TAMs, here we explore an exosome-guided in situ direct reprogramming of tumor-supportive M2-polarized TAMs into tumor-attacking M1-type macrophages. Exosomes derived from M1-type macrophages (M1-Exo) promote a phenotypic switch from anti-inflammatory M2-like TAMs toward pro-inflammatory M1-type macrophages with high conversion efficiency. Reprogrammed M1 macrophages possessing protein-expression profiles similar to those of classically activated M1 macrophages display significantly increased phagocytic function and robust cross-presentation ability, potentiating antitumor immunity surrounding the tumor. Strikingly, these M1-Exo also lead to the conversion of human patient-derived TAMs into M1-like macrophages that highly express MHC class II, offering the clinical potential of autologous and allogeneic exosome-guided direct TAM reprogramming for arming macrophages to join the fight against cancer.
    Keywords:  Cancer therapy; Direct conversion; Exosome; Tumor microenvironment; Tumor-associated macrophage
  16. bioRxiv. 2023 Mar 27. pii: 2023.03.26.534192. [Epub ahead of print]
      The diversity of genetic programs and cellular plasticity of glioma-associated myeloid cells, and thus their contribution to tumor growth and immune evasion, is poorly understood. We performed single cell RNA-sequencing of immune and tumor cells from 33 glioma patients of varying tumor grades. We identified two populations characteristic of myeloid derived suppressor cells (MDSC), unique to glioblastoma (GBM) and absent in grades II and III tumors: i) an early progenitor population (E-MDSC) characterized by strong upregulation of multiple catabolic, anabolic, oxidative stress, and hypoxia pathways typically observed within tumor cells themselves, and ii) a monocytic MDSC (M-MDSC) population. The E-MDSCs geographically co-localize with a subset of highly metabolic glioma stem-like tumor cells with a mesenchymal program in the pseudopalisading region, a pathognomonic feature of GBMs associated with poor prognosis. Ligand-receptor interaction analysis revealed symbiotic cross-talk between the stemlike tumor cells and E-MDSCs in GBM, whereby glioma stem cells produce chemokines attracting E-MDSCs, which in turn produce growth and survival factors for the tumor cells. Our large-scale single-cell analysis elucidated unique MDSC populations as key facilitators of GBM progression and mediators of tumor immunosuppression, suggesting that targeting these specific myeloid compartments, including their metabolic programs, may be a promising therapeutic intervention in this deadly cancer.One-Sentence Summary: Aggressive glioblastoma harbors two unique myeloid populations capable of promoting stem-like properties of tumor cells and suppressing T cell function in the tumor microenvironment.
  17. Sci Immunol. 2023 Apr 14. 8(82): eabq3016
      Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells have achieved true clinical success in treating hematological malignancy patients, laying the foundation of CAR T cells as a new pillar of cancer therapy. Although these promising effects have generated strong interest in expanding the treatment of CAR T cells to solid tumors, reproducible demonstration of clinical efficacy in the setting of solid tumors has remained challenging to date. Here, we review how metabolic stress and signaling in the tumor microenvironment, including intrinsic determinants of response to CAR T cell therapy and extrinsic obstacles, restrict the efficacy of CAR T cell therapy in cancer treatment. In addition, we discuss the use of novel approaches to target and rewire metabolic programming for CAR T cell manufacturing. Last, we summarize strategies that aim to improve the metabolic adaptability of CAR T cells to enhance their potency in mounting antitumor responses and survival within the tumor microenvironment.
  18. Front Immunol. 2023 ;14 1152551
      Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), the most common type of pancreatic cancer, is characterized by a high mortality rate and poor prognosis. Current treatments for PDAC, are ineffective due to a prominent immunosuppressive PDAC tumor microenvironment (TME). Although B lymphocytes are highly infiltrated into PDAC, the importance of B lymphocytes in tumorigenesis is largely neglected. B cells play a dual role in the PDAC tumor microenvironment, acting as either anti-tumorigenic or pro-tumorigenic depending on where they are localized. Tumor-infiltrating B cells, which reside in ectopic lymph nodes, namely tertiary lymphoid structures (TLS), produce anti-tumor antibodies and present tumor antigens to T cells to contribute to cancer immunosurveillance. Alternatively, regulatory B cells (Bregs), dispersed inside the TME, contribute to the dampening of anti-tumor immune responses by secreting anti-inflammatory cytokines (IL-10 and IL-35), which promote tumor growth and metastasis. Determining the role of Bregs in the PDAC microenvironment is thus becoming increasingly attractive for developing novel immunotherapeutic approaches. In this minireview, we shed light on the emerging role of B cells in PDAC development and progression, with an emphasis on regulatory B cells (Bregs). Furthermore, we discussed the potential link of Bregs to immunotherapies in PDAC. These current findings will help us in understanding the full potential of B cells in immunotherapy.
    Keywords:  immunotherapy; interleukin 35 (IL-35); pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC); regulatory B (Breg) cells; tumor microenvironment (TME)
  19. Cancers (Basel). 2023 Apr 01. pii: 2114. [Epub ahead of print]15(7):
      cGAS and AIM2 are CDSs that are activated in the presence of cytosolic dsDNA and are expressed in various cell types, including immune and tumor cells. The recognition of tumor-derived dsDNA by CDSs in the cytosol of tumor-infiltrating dendritic cells (TIDCs) activates the innate and acquired immunity, thereby enhancing anti-tumor immune responses. STING is the downstream signaling effector of cGAS that induces type I interferon (IFN) signaling. Owing to their ability to activate TIDCs, STING agonists have been intratumorally injected in several clinical trials to enhance the anti-tumor immune response elicited by immune checkpoint antibodies. However, they have shown minimal effect, suggesting the importance of optimizing the dose and route of administration for STING agonists and deciphering other immune pathways that contribute to anti-tumor immune responses. Recent studies have revealed that AIM2 activity induces pro-tumor growth through multiple parallel pathways, including inhibition of STING-type I IFN signaling. Thus, AIM2 could be a potential molecular target for cancer immunotherapies. This review summarizes the current research on the roles of cGAS, STING, and AIM2 in immune cells and tumor cells in the tumor microenvironment and discusses the future prospects of anti-tumor treatment approaches based on these molecules.
    Keywords:  AIM2; IL-18; IL-1β; STING; TIDC; cGAS; cytosolic DNA sensor; immunotherapy; tumor microenvironment; type I IFN
  20. Cancers (Basel). 2023 Apr 06. pii: 2182. [Epub ahead of print]15(7):
      Hepatocellular carcinoma and cholangiocarcinoma are the fourth most lethal primary cancers worldwide. Therefore, there is an urgent need for therapeutic strategies, including immune cell targeting therapies. The heterogeneity of liver cancer is partially explained by the characteristics of the tumor microenvironment (TME), where adaptive and innate immune system cells are the main components. Pioneering studies of primary liver cancers revealed that tumor-infiltrating immune cells and their dynamic interaction with cancer cells significantly impacted carcinogenesis, playing an important role in cancer immune evasion and responses to immunotherapy treatment. In particular, B cells may play a prominent role and have a controversial function in the TME. In this work, we highlight the effect of B lymphocytes as tumor infiltrates in relation to primary liver cancers and their potential prognostic value. We also present the key pathways underlying B-cell interactions within the TME, as well as the way that a comprehensive characterization of B-cell biology can be exploited to develop novel immune-based therapeutic approaches.
    Keywords:  B lymphocytes; cholangiocarcinoma; hepatocellular carcinoma; primary liver cancer; tumor microenvironment
  21. Cancer Immunol Res. 2023 Apr 11. pii: CIR-22-0290. [Epub ahead of print]
      High levels of IL-1β can result in chronic inflammation, which in turn can promote tumor growth and metastasis. Inhibition of IL-1β could therefore be a promising therapeutic option in the treatment of cancer. Here, the effects of IL-1β blockade induced by the monoclonal antibodies canakinumab and gevokizumab were evaluated alone or in combination with docetaxel, anti-PD-1, anti-VEGFα and anti-TGFβ treatment in syngeneic and humanized mouse models of cancers of different origin. Canakinumab and gevokizumab did not show notable efficacy as single-agent therapies; however, IL-1β blockade enhanced the effectiveness of docetaxel and anti-PD-1. Accompanying these effects, blockade of IL-1β alone or in combination induced significant remodeling of the tumor microenvironment (TME), with decreased numbers of immune suppressive cells and increased tumor infiltration by dendritic cells and effector T cells. Further investigation revealed that cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) were the cell type most affected by treatment with canakinumab or gevokizumab in terms of change in gene expression. IL-1β inhibition drove phenotypic changes in CAF populations, particularly those with the ability to influence immune cell recruitment. These results suggest that the observed remodeling of the TME following IL-1β blockade may stem from changes in CAF populations. Overall, the results presented here support the potential use of IL-1β inhibition in cancer treatment. Further exploration in ongoing clinical studies will help identify the best combination partners for different cancer types, cancer stages and lines of treatment.
  22. Cancer Immunol Res. 2023 Apr 14. OF1-OF16
      The tumor immune microenvironment dynamically evolves to support tumor growth and progression. Immunosuppressive regulatory T cells (Treg) promote tumor growth and metastatic seeding in patients with breast cancer. Deregulation of plasticity between Treg and Th17 cells creates an immune regulatory framework that enables tumor progression. Here, we discovered a functional role for Hedgehog (Hh) signaling in promoting Treg differentiation and immunosuppressive activity, and when Hh activity was inhibited, Tregs adopted a Th17-like phenotype complemented by an enhanced inflammatory profile. Mechanistically, Hh signaling promoted O-GlcNAc modifications of critical Treg and Th17 transcription factors, Foxp3 and STAT3, respectively, that orchestrated this transition. Blocking Hh reprogramed Tregs metabolically, dampened their immunosuppressive activity, and supported their transdifferentiation into inflammatory Th17 cells that enhanced the recruitment of cytotoxic CD8+ T cells into tumors. Our results demonstrate a previously unknown role for Hh signaling in the regulation of Treg differentiation and activity and the switch between Tregs and Th17 cells in the tumor microenvironment.
  23. Front Immunol. 2023 ;14 1084887
      Background: The immune cell topography of solid tumors has been increasingly recognized as an important predictive factor for progression of disease and response to immunotherapy. The distribution pattern of immune cells in solid tumors is commonly classified into three categories - namely, "Immune inflamed", "Immune desert" and "Immune excluded" - which, to some degree, connect immune cell presence and positioning within the tumor microenvironment to anti-tumor activity.Materials and methods: In this review, we look at the ways immune exclusion has been defined in published literature and identify opportunities to develop consistent, quantifiable definitions, which in turn, will allow better determination of the underlying mechanisms that span cancer types and, ultimately, aid in the development of treatments to target these mechanisms.
    Results: The definitions of tumor immune phenotypes, especially immune exclusion, have largely been conceptual. The existing literature lacks in consistency when it comes to practically defining immune exclusion, and there is no consensus on a definition. Majority of the definitions use somewhat arbitrary cut-offs in an attempt to place each tumor into a distinct phenotypic category. Tumor heterogeneity is often not accounted for, which limits the practical application of a definition.
    Conclusions: We have identified two key issues in existing definitions of immune exclusion, establishing clinically relevant cut-offs within the spectrum of immune cell infiltration as well as tumor heterogeneity. We propose an approach to overcome these limitations, by reporting the degree of immune cell infiltration, tying cut-offs to clinically meaningful outcome measures, maximizing the number of regions of a tumor that are analyzed and reporting the degree of heterogeneity. This will allow for a consensus practical definition for operationalizing this categorization into clinical trial and signal-seeking endpoints.
    Keywords:  cancer immunotherapy; immune cell topography; immune exclusion; immune phenotypes; tumor microenvironment
  24. Biomed Pharmacother. 2023 Apr 07. pii: S0753-3322(23)00446-8. [Epub ahead of print]162 114658
      Cancer metabolism is how cancer cells utilize nutrients and energy to support their growth and proliferation. Unlike normal cells, cancer cells have a unique metabolic profile that allows them to generate energy and the building blocks they need for rapid growth and division. This metabolic profile is marked by an increased reliance on glucose and glutamine as energy sources and changes in how cancer cells use and make key metabolic intermediates like ATP, NADH, and NADPH. This script analyzes a comprehensive overview of the latest advances in tumor metabolism, identifying the key unresolved issues, elaborates on how tumor cells differ from normal cells in their metabolism of nutrients, and explains how tumor cells conflate growth signals and nutrients to proliferate. The metabolic interaction of tumorigenesis and lipid metabolism within the tumor microenvironment and the role of ROS as an anti-tumor agent by mediating various signaling pathways for clinical cancer therapeutic targeting are outlined. Cancer metabolism is highly dynamic and heterogeneous; thus, advanced technologies to better investigate metabolism at the unicellular level without altering tumor tissue are necessary for better research and clinical transformation. The study of cancer metabolism is an area of active research, as scientists seek to understand the underlying metabolic changes that drive cancer growth and to identify potential therapeutic targets.
    Keywords:  Cancer metabolism; Lipid metabolism; Metabolic reprogramming and Pathways; Reactive oxygen species; Tumor microenvironment
  25. Cell Oncol (Dordr). 2023 Apr 11.
      BACKGROUND: Cancer is increasingly recognized as a metabolic disease, with evidence suggesting that oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) plays a significant role in the progression of numerous cancer cells. OXPHOS not only provides sufficient energy for tumor tissue survival but also regulates conditions for tumor proliferation, invasion, and metastasis. Alterations in OXPHOS can also impair the immune function of immune cells in the tumor microenvironment, leading to immune evasion. Therefore, investigating the relationship between OXPHOS and immune escape is crucial in cancer-related research. This review aims to summarize the effects of transcriptional, mitochondrial genetic, metabolic regulation, and mitochondrial dynamics on OXPHOS in different cancers. Additionally, it highlights the role of OXPHOS in immune escape by affecting various immune cells. Finally, it concludes with an overview of recent advances in antitumor strategies targeting both immune and metabolic processes and proposes promising therapeutic targets by analyzing the limitations of current targeted drugs.CONCLUSIONS: The metabolic shift towards OXPHOS contributes significantly to tumor proliferation, progression, metastasis, immune escape, and poor prognosis. A thorough investigation of concrete mechanisms of OXPHOS regulation in different types of tumors and the combination usage of OXPHOS-targeted drugs with existing immunotherapies could potentially uncover new therapeutic targets for future antitumor therapies.
    Keywords:  Cancer therapy; Immunotherapy; Metabolism; OXPHOS
  26. Nat Commun. 2023 Apr 13. 14(1): 2109
      Chemotherapy prior to immune checkpoint blockade (ICB) treatment appears to improve ICB efficacy but resistance to ICB remains a clinical challenge and is attributed to highly plastic myeloid cells associating with the tumor immune microenvironment (TIME). Here we show by CITE-seq single-cell transcriptomic and trajectory analyses that neoadjuvant low-dose metronomic chemotherapy (MCT) leads to a characteristic co-evolution of divergent myeloid cell subsets in female triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). Specifically, we identify that the proportion of CXCL16 + myeloid cells increase and a high STAT1 regulon activity distinguishes Programmed Death Ligand 1 (PD-L1) expressing immature myeloid cells. Chemical inhibition of STAT1 signaling in MCT-primed breast cancer sensitizes TNBC to ICB treatment, which underscores the STAT1's role in modulating TIME. In summary, we leverage single-cell analyses to dissect the cellular dynamics in the tumor microenvironment (TME) following neoadjuvant chemotherapy and provide a pre-clinical rationale for modulating STAT1 in combination with anti-PD-1 for TNBC patients.
  27. Cancers (Basel). 2023 Mar 29. pii: 2043. [Epub ahead of print]15(7):
      The metabolism of tumors and immune cells in the tumor microenvironment (TME) can affect the fate of cancer and immune responses. Metabolic reprogramming can occur following the activation of metabolic-related signaling pathways, such as phosphoinositide 3-kinases (PI3Ks) and the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR). Moreover, various tumor-derived immunosuppressive metabolites following metabolic reprogramming also affect antitumor immune responses. Evidence shows that intervention in the metabolic pathways of tumors or immune cells can be an attractive and novel treatment option for cancer. For instance, administrating inhibitors of various signaling pathways, such as phosphoinositide 3-kinases (PI3Ks), can improve T cell-mediated antitumor immune responses. However, dual pathway inhibitors can significantly suppress tumor growth more than they inhibit each pathway separately. This review discusses the latest metabolic interventions by dual pathway inhibitors as well as the advantages and disadvantages of this therapeutic approach.
    Keywords:  cancer therapy; dual inhibitor; metabolic intervention; metabolic reprogramming
  28. Front Genet. 2023 ;14 1121018
      Background: Breast cancer (BRCA) is regarded as a lethal and aggressive cancer with increasing morbidity and mortality worldwide. cGAS-STING signaling regulates the crosstalk between tumor cells and immune cells in the tumor microenvironment (TME), emerging as an important DNA-damage mechanism. However, cGAS-STING-related genes (CSRGs) have rarely been investigated for their prognostic value in breast cancer patients. Methods: Our study aimed to construct a risk model to predict the survival and prognosis of breast cancer patients. We obtained 1087 breast cancer samples and 179 normal breast tissue samples from the Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) and Genotype-Tissue Expression (GTEX) database, 35 immune-related differentially expression genes (DEGs) from cGAS-STING-related genes were systematically assessed. The Cox regression was applied for further selection, and 11 prognostic-related DEGs were used to develop a machine learning-based risk assessment and prognostic model. Results: We successfully developed a risk model to predict the prognostic value of breast cancer patients and its performance acquired effective validation. The results derived from Kaplan-Meier analysis revealed that the low-risk score patients had better overall survival (OS). The nomogram that integrated the risk score and clinical information was established and had good validity in predicting the overall survival of breast cancer patients. Significant correlations were observed between the risk score and tumor-infiltrating immune cells, immune checkpoints and the response to immunotherapy. The cGAS-STING-related genes risk score was also relevant to a series of clinic prognostic indicators such as tumor staging, molecular subtype, tumor recurrence, and drug therapeutic sensibility in breast cancer patients. Conclusion: cGAS-STING-related genes risk model provides a new credible risk stratification method to improve the clinical prognostic assessment for breast cancer.
    Keywords:  breast cancer; cGAS-STING pathway; immunothearpy; prognosis; risk score model
  29. Sci Signal. 2023 Apr 11. 16(780): eadi1372
      STING activity in cancer cells prevents the progression of dormant metastasis.
  30. Nat Commun. 2023 Apr 12. 14(1): 2087
      Combination of radiation therapy (RT) with immune checkpoint blockade can enhance systemic anti-tumor T cell responses. Here, using two mouse tumor models, we demonstrate that adding long-acting CD122-directed IL-2 complexes (IL-2c) to RT/anti-PD1 further increases tumor-specific CD8+ T cell numbers. The highest increase (>50-fold) is found in the blood circulation. Compartmental analysis of exhausted T cell subsets shows that primarily undifferentiated, stem-like, tumor-specific CD8+ T cells expand in the blood; these cells express the chemokine receptor CXCR3, which is required for migration into tumors. In tumor tissue, effector-like but not terminally differentiated exhausted CD8+ T cells increase. Consistent with the surge in tumor-specific CD8+ T cells in blood that are migration and proliferation competent, we observe a CD8-dependent and CXCR3-dependent enhancement of the abscopal effect against distant/non-irradiated tumors and find that CD8+ T cells isolated from blood after RT/anti-PD1/IL-2c triple treatment can be a rich source of tumor-specific T cells for adoptive transfers.
  31. Cancer Cell. 2023 Apr 10. pii: S1535-6108(23)00081-8. [Epub ahead of print]41(4): 757-775.e10
      Metastasis is the major cause of cancer death, and the development of therapy resistance is common. The tumor microenvironment can confer chemotherapy resistance (chemoresistance), but little is known about how specific host cells influence therapy outcome. We show that chemotherapy induces neutrophil recruitment and neutrophil extracellular trap (NET) formation, which reduces therapy response in mouse models of breast cancer lung metastasis. We reveal that chemotherapy-treated cancer cells secrete IL-1β, which in turn triggers NET formation. Two NET-associated proteins are required to induce chemoresistance: integrin-αvβ1, which traps latent TGF-β, and matrix metalloproteinase 9, which cleaves and activates the trapped latent TGF-β. TGF-β activation causes cancer cells to undergo epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition and correlates with chemoresistance. Our work demonstrates that NETs regulate the activities of neighboring cells by trapping and activating cytokines and suggests that chemoresistance in the metastatic setting can be reduced or prevented by targeting the IL-1β-NET-TGF-β axis.
    Keywords:  Breast Cancer; Lung Metastasis; TGFβ; chemoresistance; neutrophil extracellular traps
  32. Eur J Immunol. 2023 Apr 12. e2250144
      The newborn's immune system is faced with the challenge of having to learn quickly to fight off infectious agents, but tolerating the colonization of the body surfaces with commensals without reacting with an excessive inflammatory response. Myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC) are innate immune cells with suppressive activity on other immune cells that regulate fetal-maternal tolerance during pregnancy and control intestinal inflammation in neonates. Until now, nothing is known about the role of MDSC in microbiome establishment. One of the transcription factors regulating MDSC homeostasis is the hypoxia-inducible factor 1α (HIF-1α). We investigated the impact of HIF-1α on MDSC accumulation and microbiome establishment during the neonatal period in a mouse model with targeted deletion of HIF-1α in myeloid cells (Hif1a loxP/loxP LysMCre+). We show that in contrast to wildtype mice, where an extensive expansion of MDSC was observed, MDSC-expansion in neonatal Hif1a loxP/loxP LysMCre+ mice was dramatically reduced both systemically and locally in the intestine. This was accompanied by an altered microbiome composition and intestinal T-cell homeostasis. Our results point towards a role of MDSC in inflammation regulation in the context of microbiome establishment and thus reveal a new aspect of the biological role of MDSC during the neonatal period. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Keywords:  MDSC; hypoxia-inducible factor 1α; microbiome; neonates
  33. J Cancer Res Clin Oncol. 2023 Apr 09.
      The mechanisms of antigen processing and presentation play a crucial role in the recognition and targeting of cancer cells by the immune system. Cancer cells can evade the immune system by downregulating or losing the expression of the proteins recognized by the immune cells as antigens, creating an immunosuppressive microenvironment, and altering their ability to process and present antigens. This review focuses on the mechanisms of cancer immune evasion with a specific emphasis on the role of antigen presentation machinery. The study of the immunopeptidome, or peptidomics, has provided insights into the mechanisms of cancer immune evasion and has potential applications in cancer diagnosis and treatment. Additionally, manipulating the epigenetic landscape of cancer cells plays a critical role in suppressing the immune response against cancer. Targeting these mechanisms through the use of HDACis, DNMTis, and combination therapies has the potential to improve the efficacy of cancer immunotherapy. However, further research is needed to fully understand the mechanisms of action and optimal use of these therapies in the clinical setting.
    Keywords:  Epigenetic modulation; Immunopeptidome; MHC-I; Neoantigens