bims-flamet Biomed News
on Cytokines and immunometabolism in metastasis
Issue of 2023‒05‒14
thirty-six papers selected by
Peio Azcoaga
Biodonostia HRI

  1. Int Immunopharmacol. 2023 May 08. pii: S1567-5769(23)00571-4. [Epub ahead of print]119 110250
      Triple-negative Breast cancer (TNBC) is a subtype of breast cancer (BC) that lacks expression for ER/PR/Her2 receptors and is associated with aggressive disease pathogenesis and the worst prognosis among other subtypes of BC. Accumulating evidence-based studies indicate the high immunogenic ability of TNBC tumors and the applicability of immunotherapeutic strategies to overcome therapy resistance and tumor recurrence in TNBC patients. However, not all TNBC patients respond equally well to current immunotherapies that mainly target the adaptive immune system for tumor rejection. Recent studies are contemplating the efficacy of tumor-associated macrophage (TAM) targeted therapies since these subpopulations of cells comprise one of the major components of tumor-infiltrating immune cells (TIIs) in the TNBC tumor microenvironment (TME) and play an essential role in priming the adaptive immune response mediators towards both antitumorigenic and pro-tumorigenic response facilitated by intercellular cross-talk between tumor cells and TAM populations present within TNBC-TME. The present review discusses these molecular mechanisms and their consequence on the progression of TNBC tumors. Also, the therapeutic strategies targeting candidate genes/pathways involved in molecular cross-talk between TAM-TNBC cells and their impact on the development and progression of TNBC tumors are also discussed.
    Keywords:  Molecular cross-talk; Therapeutic potential; Triple-negative breast cancer; Tumor-associated macrophages
  2. Trends Cancer. 2023 May 05. pii: S2405-8033(23)00057-2. [Epub ahead of print]
      Tumor recurrence following potentially curative therapy constitutes a major obstacle to achieving cures in patients with cancer. Recurrent tumors frequently arise from a population of residual cancer cells - also referred to as minimal residual disease (RD) or persister cells - that survive therapy and persist for prolonged periods prior to tumor relapse. While there has been significant recent progress in deciphering tumor-cell-intrinsic pathways that regulate residual cancer cell survival and recurrence, much less is known about how the tumor microenvironment (TME) of residual tumors impacts persister cancer cells or tumor recurrence. In this review, we highlight recent studies exploring the regulation and function of immune cells in RD and discuss therapeutic opportunities to target immune cells in residual tumors.
    Keywords:  drug-tolerant persister cells; residual disease; targeted therapy; tumor immune microenvironment; tumor recurrence
  3. FEBS Open Bio. 2023 May 12.
      Gastric cancer (GC) is the fourth leading cause of cancer-related death and the fifth most common malignant tumor globally. However, the clinical efficacy of conventional therapies is limited. Currently, immunotherapy is considered an effective therapeutic strategy for the management of various cancers, especially GC, but are of only limited benefit for GC patients. Accumulating evidence has revealed that oxidative stress plays a critical role in the regulation of immune responses within the tumor microenvironment (TME), affecting the efficacy of immunotherapies. ROS exert critical roles in enhancing antigen presentation, regulating immune responses, and preventing immuno-escape. In this review, we summarize the dominant cancer immunotherapeutic strategies and describe the interaction between oxidative stress and the immune TME. We emphasize the underlying mechanisms of the efficacy of cancer immunotherapy, which involves its effects on oxidative stress, in the context of GC. We also highlight the therapeutic potential of regulating oxidative stress to improve immunotherapies, which may have benefits for clinical practice.
    Keywords:  Gastric cancer; Immunotherapy; Oxidative stress; T cells; Tumor microenvironment
  4. J Mater Chem B. 2023 May 09.
      Immunotherapies are a promising new class of anticancer treatments, but the immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment (TME) hinders their broader implementation. Here, we designed a '3C' strategy based on the conventional drug lentinan (LNT), applying the convertible material polylactic acid with controlled release of LNT (LNT@Mic). Our findings revealed that LNT@Mic exhibited effective biocompatibility coupled with controlled long-term release of LNT. Due to these characteristics, LNT@Mic reprogramed the immunosuppressive TME and demonstrated substantial antitumor activity in the MC38 tumor model. Furthermore, it served as a facile and generalizable cancer immunotherapy strategy for augmenting LNT bioavailability while enhancing the efficacy of anti-programmed death-ligand 1 therapy against the 'cold' 4T1 tumor model. These findings provide a reference for tumor immunotherapy strategies for the further study and application of LNT.
  5. Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Basis Dis. 2023 May 07. pii: S0925-4439(23)00112-6. [Epub ahead of print] 166746
      Cellular and stromal components including tumor cells, immune cells, mesenchymal cells, cancer-linked fibroblasts, and extracellular matrix, constituent tumor microenvironment (TME). TME plays a crucial role in reprogramming tumor initiation, uncontrolled proliferation, invasion and metastasis as well as response to therapeutic modalities. In recent years targeting the TME has developed as a potential strategy for treatment of cancer because of its life-threatening functions in restricting tumor development and modulating responses to standard-of-care medicines. Cold atmospheric plasma, oncolytic viral therapy, bacterial therapy, nano-vaccine, and repurposed pharmaceuticals with combination therapy, antiangiogenic drugs, and immunotherapies are among the most effective therapies directed by TME that have either been clinically authorized or are currently being studied. This article discusses above-mentioned therapies in light of targeting TME. We also cover problems related to the TME-targeted therapies, as well as future insights and practical uses in this rapidly growing field.
    Keywords:  Immunotherapy; Oncolytic virus; Repurposed drugs; Tumor associated macrophage; Tumor microenvironment
  6. iScience. 2023 May 19. 26(5): 106596
      The intricate network of interactions between cells and molecules in the tumor microenvironment creates a heterogeneous ecosystem. The proximity of the cells and molecules to their activators and inhibitors is essential in the progression of tumors. Here, we develop a system of partial differential equations coupled with linear elasticity to investigate the effects of spatial interactions on the tumor microenvironment. We observe interesting cell and cytokine distribution patterns, which are heavily affected by macrophages. We also see that cytotoxic T cells get recruited and suppressed at the site of macrophages. Moreover, we observe that anti-tumor macrophages reorganize the patterns in favor of a more spatially restricted cancer and necrotic core. Furthermore, the adjoint-based sensitivity analysis indicates that the most sensitive model's parameters are directly related to macrophages. The results emphasize the widely acknowledged effect of macrophages in controlling cancer cells population and spatially arranging cells in the tumor microenvironment.
    Keywords:  Biophysics; Immunology; cancer systems biology; mathematical biosciences
  7. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2023 ;11 1166916
      Malignant melanoma (MM) is the most metastatic and aggressive form of skin cancer, and carries a high risk of death. Immune-checkpoint inhibitor therapy and molecular-targeted therapy can prolong the survival of patients with advanced MM significantly. However, the low response rate and inevitable drug resistance prevent further improvements in efficacy, which is closely related to the tumor microenvironment (TME). The TME refers to the tumor stroma, including fibroblasts, keratinocytes, immune cells, soluble molecules, and extracellular matrix (ECM). The dynamic interaction between the TME and tumor cells is very important for the growth, local invasion, and metastatic spread of tumor cells. A patient-derived organoid (PDO) model involves isolation of tumor tissue from patients with MM and culturing it in vitro in a three-dimensional pattern. Compared with traditional cultivation methods, the PDO model preserves the heterogeneity of the tissue structure of MM and demonstrates the interaction between MM cells and the TME. It can reproduce the characteristics of proliferation, migration, and invasion of MM cells, and better simulate the structural function of MM in vivo. This review explores the role of each TME component in development of the PDO model. This review will provide a reference for research on the drug screening and targeted treatment using PDOs, particularly for the immunotherapy of MM.
    Keywords:  cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs); extracellular matrix (ECM); immunetherapy; melanoma; patient-derived organoids (PDO); tumor microenviroment (TME)
  8. Small. 2023 May 08. e2301420
      The current immunotherapy strategies for triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) are greatly limited due to the immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment (TME). Immunization with cancer vaccines composed of tumor cell lysates (TCL) can induce an effective antitumor immune response. However, this approach also has the disadvantages of inefficient antigen delivery to the tumor tissues and the limited immune response elicited by single-antigen vaccines. To overcome these limitations, a pH-sensitive nanocalcium carbonate (CaCO3 ) carrier loaded with TCL and immune adjuvant CpG (CpG oligodeoxynucleotide 1826) is herein constructed for TNBC immunotherapy. This tailor-made nanovaccine, termed CaCO3 @TCL/CpG, not only neutralizes the acidic TME through the consumption of lactate by CaCO3 , which increases the proportion of the M1/M2 macrophages and promotes infiltration of effector immune cells but also activates the dendritic cells in the tumor tissues and recruits cytotoxic T cells to further kill the tumor cells. In vivo fluorescence imaging study shows that the pegylated nanovaccine could stay longer in the blood circulation and extravasate preferentially into tumor site. Besides, the nanovaccine exhibits high cytotoxicity in 4T1 cells and significantly inhibits tumor growth of tumor-bearing mice. Overall, this pH-sensitive nanovaccine is a promising nanoplatform for enhanced immunotherapy of TNBC.
    Keywords:  codelivery of antigen and adjuvant; immunosuppressive microenvironments; pH-sensitive nanocarriers; triple negative breast cancer; tumor vaccines
  9. Cell Reprogram. 2023 May 12.
      The tumor microenvironment (TME) plays a crucial role in tumor initiation, growth and metastasis. Metabolic enzymes involved in tumor glycolytic reprogramming, including hexokinase, pyruvate kinase, and lactate dehydrogenase, not only play key roles in tumorigenesis and maintaining tumor cell survival, but also take part in the modulation of the TME. Many studies have been devoted to the role of key glycolytic enzymes in the TME over the past decades. We summarize the studies on the role of glycolytic enzymes in the TME of these years and found that glycolytic enzymes remodel the TME primarily through regulating immune escape, angiogenesis, and affecting stromal cells and exosomes. Notably, abnormal tumor vascular system, peritumoral stromal cells, and tumor immunosuppressive microenvironment are important contributors to the failure of antitumor therapy. Therefore, we discuss the mechanisms of regulation by key glycolytic enzymes that may contribute to a promising biomarker for therapeutic intervention. We argue that targeting key glycolytic enzymes in combination with antiprogrammed cell death ligand 1 or antivascular endothelial growth factor could emerge as the more integrated and comprehensive antitumor treatment strategy.
    Keywords:  angiogenesis; glycolytic enzymes; immune escape; reprogramming; tumor microenvironment
  10. bioRxiv. 2023 Apr 28. pii: 2023.04.26.538456. [Epub ahead of print]
      Dendritic cells (cDCs) are essential mediators of anti-tumor immunity. Cancers have developed mechanisms to render DCs dysfunctional within the tumor microenvironment. Utilizing CD63 as a unique surface marker, we demonstrate that mature regulatory DCs (mregDCs) suppress DC antigen cross-presentation while driving T H 2 and regulatory T cell differentiation within tumor-draining lymph node tissues. Transcriptional and metabolic studies show that mregDC functionality is dependent upon the mevalonate biosynthetic pathway and the master transcription factor, SREBP2. Melanoma-derived lactate activates DC SREBP2 in the tumor microenvironment (TME) and drives mregDC development from conventional DCs. DC-specific genetic silencing and pharmacologic inhibition of SREBP2 promotes anti-tumor CD8 + T cell activation and suppresses melanoma progression. CD63 + mregDCs reside within the sentinel lymph nodes of melanoma patients. Collectively, this work describes a tumor-driven SREBP2-dependent program that promotes CD63 + mregDC development and function while serving as a promising therapeutic target for overcoming immune tolerance in the TME.One Sentence Summary: The metabolic transcription factor, SREBF2, regulates the development and tolerogenic function of the mregDC population within the tumor microenvironment.
  11. Chin Clin Oncol. 2023 Apr;12(2): 19
      In recent years, treatment with chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cells has revolutionized the outcomes of patients with relapsed or refractory hematological malignancies with long-term remissions in >30% of patients. Similarly, the introduction of immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy changed the therapeutic landscape for several solid malignancies also leading to impressive long-term remission in patients. However, so far CAR T-cell therapy in solid tumors has shown low response rates and especially a lack of long-term remissions. This review focuses on the latest clinical advances and discusses promising results seen with CAR T-cells exploring new target antigens. We then review relevant challenges limiting long-term responses with CAR T-cell therapy in solid tumors like CAR T-cell persistence and target antigen expression. In addition, there is an increasing understanding on T-cell function and dysfunction within the immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment. This comprises of inhibitory cytokines and checkpoint molecules limiting the killing capacity of CAR T-cells. Finally, we will discuss how this deeper knowledge can be used to develop CAR T-cell therapies overcoming these inhibitory factors and results in CAR T-cell products with higher efficacy and safety. These technological developments will hopefully lead to enhanced clinical activity and improved solid tumor patient outcomes in the near future.
    Keywords:  Chimeric antigen receptor T-cells (CAR T-cells); adoptive T-cell therapy; solid tumors
  12. Cancer Lett. 2023 May 05. pii: S0304-3835(23)00159-3. [Epub ahead of print] 216208
      Cancer immunotherapy targeting myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) is one of the most promising anticancer strategies. Metabolic reprogramming is vital for MDSC activation, however, the regulatory mechanisms of cholesterol metabolic reprogramming in MDSCs remains largely unexplored. Using the receptor-interacting protein kinase 3 (RIPK3)-deficient MDSC model, a previously established tumor-infiltrating MDSC-like model, we found that the cholesterol accumulation was significantly decreased in these cells. Moreover, the phosphorylated AKT-mTORC1 signaling was reduced, and downstream SREBP2-HMGCR-mediated cholesterol synthesis was blunted. Interestingly, cholesterol deficiency profoundly elevated the immunosuppressive activity of MDSCs. Mechanistically, cholesterol elimination induced nuclear accumulation of LXRβ, thereby promoting LXRβ-RXRα heterodimer binding of a novel composite element in the promoter of Arg1. Furthermore, itraconazole enhanced the immunosuppressive activity of MDSCs to boost tumor growth by suppressing the RIPK3-AKT-mTORC1 pathway and impeding cholesterol synthesis. Our findings demonstrate that RIPK3 deficiency leads to cholesterol abrogation in MDSCs, which facilitates tumor-infiltrating MDSC activation, and highlight the therapeutic potential of targeting cholesterol synthesis to overcome tumor immune evasion.
    Keywords:  Cholesterol; Metabolism; Myeloid-derived suppressor cells; Tumor immunity; Tumor microenvironment
  13. Cell Commun Signal. 2023 May 11. 21(1): 108
      BACKGROUND: The primary goal of radiotherapy (RT) is to induce cellular damage on malignant cells; however, it is becoming increasingly recognized the important role played by the tumor microenvironment (TME) in therapy outcomes. Therapeutic irradiation of tumor lesions provokes profound cellular and biological reconfigurations within the TME that ultimately may influence the fate of the therapy.MAIN CONTENT: Cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) are known to participate in all stages of cancer progression and are increasingly acknowledged to contribute to therapy resistance. Accumulated evidence suggests that, upon radiation, fibroblasts/CAFs avoid cell death but instead enter a permanent senescent state, which in turn may influence the behavior of tumor cells and other components of the TME. Despite the proposed participation of senescent fibroblasts on tumor radioprotection, it is still incompletely understood the impact that RT has on CAFs and the ultimate role that irradiated CAFs have on therapy outcomes. Some of the current controversies may emerge from generalizing observations obtained using normal fibroblasts and CAFs, which are different cell entities that may respond differently to radiation exposure.
    CONCLUSION: In this review we present current knowledge on the field of CAFs role in radiotherapy; we discuss the potential tumorigenic functions of radiation-induced senescent fibroblasts and CAFs and we make an effort to integrate the knowledge emerging from preclinical experimentation with observations from the clinics. Video Abstract.
  14. Front Immunol. 2023 ;14 1165989
      It has been confirmed that platelets play a key role in tumorigenesis. Tumor-activated platelets can recruit blood cells and immune cells to migrate, establish an inflammatory tumor microenvironment at the sites of primary and metastatic tumors. On the other hand, they can also promote the differentiation of mesenchymal cells, which can accelerate the proliferation, genesis and migration of blood vessels. The role of platelets in tumors has been well studied. However, a growing number of studies suggest that interactions between platelets and immune cells (e.g., dendritic cells, natural killer cells, monocytes, and red blood cells) also play an important role in tumorigenesis and tumor development. In this review, we summarize the major cells that are closely associated with platelets and discuss the essential role of the interaction between platelets with these cells in tumorigenesis and tumor development.
    Keywords:  immune cells; interaction; platelets; tumor development; tumorigenesis
  15. Semin Cancer Biol. 2023 May 06. pii: S1044-579X(23)00076-7. [Epub ahead of print]93 36-51
      Obesity has been closely related to cancer progression, recurrence, metastasis, and treatment resistance. We aim to review recent progress in the knowledge on the obese macroenvironment and the generated adipose tumor microenvironment (TME) inducing lipid metabolic dysregulation and their influence on carcinogenic processes. Visceral white adipose tissue expansion during obesity exerts systemic or macroenvironmental effects on tumor initiation, growth, and invasion by promoting inflammation, hyperinsulinemia, growth-factor release, and dyslipidemia. The dynamic relationship between cancer and stromal cells of the obese adipose TME is critical for cancer cell survival and proliferation as well. Experimental evidence shows that secreted paracrine signals from cancer cells can induce lipolysis in cancer-associated adipocytes, causing them to release free fatty acids and acquire a fibroblast-like phenotype. Such adipocyte delipidation and phenotypic change is accompanied by an increased secretion of cytokines by cancer-associated adipocytes and tumor-associated macrophages in the TME. Mechanistically, the availability of adipose TME free fatty acids and tumorigenic cytokines concomitant with the activation of angiogenic processes creates an environment that favors a shift in the cancer cells toward an aggressive phenotype associated with increased invasiveness. We conclude that restoring the aberrant metabolic alterations in the host macroenvironment and in adipose TME of obese subjects would be a therapeutic option to prevent cancer development. Several dietary, lipid-based, and oral antidiabetic pharmacological therapies could potentially prevent tumorigenic processes associated with the dysregulated lipid metabolism closely linked to obesity.
    Keywords:  Adipocytes, cancer; Cholesterol; Fibroblasts, fatty acids; Lipids; Macrophages; Obesity; Tumor microenvironment
  16. Front Oncol. 2023 ;13 1106757
      Molecular and cellular components of the tumor microenvironment are essential for cancer progression. The cellular element comprises cancer cells and heterogeneous populations of non-cancer cells that satisfy tumor needs. Immune, vascular, and mesenchymal cells provide the necessary factors to feed the tumor mass, promote its development, and favor the spread of cancer cells from the primary site to adjacent and distant anatomical sites. Cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) are mesenchymal cells that promote carcinogenesis and progression of various malignant neoplasms. CAFs act through the secretion of metalloproteinases, growth factors, cytokines, mitochondrial DNA, and non-coding RNAs, among other molecules. Over the last few years, the evidence on the leading role of CAFs in gynecological cancers has notably increased, placing them as the cornerstone of neoplastic processes. In this review, the recently reported findings regarding the promoting role that CAFs play in gynecological cancers, their potential use as therapeutic targets, and the new evidence suggesting that they could act as tumor suppressors are analyzed and discussed.
    Keywords:  cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs); gynecological cancers; pre-metastatic niche; tumor microenvironment; tumoral progression
  17. Cell Syst. 2023 May 09. pii: S2405-4712(23)00084-4. [Epub ahead of print]
      Cell populations in the tumor microenvironment (TME), including their abundance, composition, and spatial location, are critical determinants of patient response to therapy. Recent advances in spatial transcriptomics (ST) have enabled the comprehensive characterization of gene expression in the TME. However, popular ST platforms, such as Visium, only measure expression in low-resolution spots and have large tissue areas that are not covered by any spots, which limits their usefulness in studying the detailed structure of TME. Here, we present TESLA, a machine learning framework for tissue annotation with pixel-level resolution in ST. TESLA integrates histological information with gene expression to annotate heterogeneous immune and tumor cells directly on the histology image. TESLA further detects unique TME features such as tertiary lymphoid structures, which represents a promising avenue for understanding the spatial architecture of the TME. Although we mainly illustrated the applications in cancer, TESLA can also be applied to other diseases.
    Keywords:  spatial transcriptomics; super-resolution; tertiary lymphoid structures; tumor core; tumor edge; tumor microenvironment; tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes
  18. Cancer Sci. 2023 May 07.
      Despite the successful application of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T cell therapy in hematological malignancies, the treatment efficacy in solid tumors remains unsatisfactory, largely due to the highly immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment and low density of specific tumor antigens. Natural killer group 2 member D (NKG2D) CAR-T cells have shown promising treatment effects on several cancers such as lymphoma and multiple myeloma. However, the application and efficacy of NKG2D-CAR-T cells in gastric cancer (GC) still needs further exploration. This study identified a novel combination immunotherapy strategy with Dickkopf-1 (DKK1) inhibition and NKG2D-CAR-T cells, exerting synergistic and superior antitumor effect in GC. We show that the baseline expression of NKG2D ligands (NKG2DLs) is at low levels in GC tissues from The Cancer Genome Atlas and multiple GC cell lines including NCI-N87, MGC803, HGC27, MKN45, SGC7901, NUGC4, and AGS. In addition, DKK1 inhibition by WAY-262611 reverses the suppressive tumor immune microenvironment (TIME) and upregulates NKG2DL expression levels in both GC cell lines and GC tissues from a xenograft NCG mouse model. DKK1 inhibition in GC cells markedly improves the immune-activating and tumor-killing ability of NKG2D-CAR-T cells as shown by cytotoxicity assays in vitro. Moreover, the combination therapy of NKG2D-CAR-T and WAY-262611 triggers superior antitumor effects in vivo in a xenograft NCG mouse model. In sum, our study reveals the role of DKK1 in remodeling GC TIME and regulating the expression levels of NKG2DLs in GC. We also provide a promising treatment strategy of combining DKK1 inhibition with NKG2D-CAR-T cell therapy, which could bring new breakthroughs for GC immunotherapy.
    Keywords:  DKK1; NKG2D-CAR-T; combination immunotherapy; gastric cancer; tumor microenvironment
  19. Cancer Res. 2023 May 12. pii: CAN-22-3260. [Epub ahead of print]
      Aberrant sialylation functions as an important modulator of all steps of malignant transformation. Therefore, targeting sialylation regulators, such as sialyltransferases and neuraminidases, is a potential strategy for treating cancer. Here, we found that elevated α2,3-sialyltransferase III (St3gal3) was associated with dismal prognosis in high-grade serous ovarian carcinoma (HGSC). St3gal3 knockdown antagonized subcutaneous tumor growth in immunocompetent, but not immunodeficient mice, with enhanced accumulation of functional CD8+ T cells and anti-tumor immune gene signatures. St3gal3 knockdown inhibited intraperitoneal tumor growth and repolarized tumor-associated macrophages from a pro-tumorigenic M2-like to a tumor-suppressive M1-like phenotype. In vitro, St3gal3 knockdown tumor cells guided bone marrow-derived macrophages (BMDM) toward the M1-like phenotype under both direct contact and distant transwell co-culture conditions. Depletion of macrophages rescued the suppressed tumor growth induced by St3gal3 knockdown and completely suppressed infiltration of functional CD8+ T cells that rely on macrophage-derived CXCL10. St3gal3 engendered an immunosuppressive HGSC microenvironment characterized by an abundance of pro-tumorigenic macrophages and reduced cytotoxic T cell infiltration. In vivo, St3gal3 knockdown improved effectiveness of dual immune checkpoint blockade (ICB) with αPD-1 and αCTLA-4 antibodies. Preclinical inhibition of sialylation with ambroxol resulted in decreased tumor growth and prolonged the survival of tumor-bearing mice, which was enhanced by the addition of dual ICB. These findings indicate that altered sialylation induced by St3gal3 upregulation promotes a tumor suppressive microenvironment in HGSC and targeting α2,3-sialylation may reprogram the immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment and improve the efficacy of immunotherapy.
  20. Nat Commun. 2023 05 06. 14(1): 2632
      Cancer metastasis to the brain is a significant clinical problem. Metastasis is the consequence of favorable interactions between invaded cancer cells and the microenvironment. Here, we demonstrate that cancer-activated astrocytes create a sustained low-level activated type I interferon (IFN) microenvironment in brain metastatic lesions. We further confirm that the IFN response in astrocytes facilitates brain metastasis. Mechanistically, IFN signaling in astrocytes activates C-C Motif Chemokine Ligand 2 (CCL2) production, which further increases the recruitment of monocytic myeloid cells. The correlation between CCL2 and monocytic myeloid cells is confirmed in clinical brain metastasis samples. Lastly, genetically or pharmacologically inhibiting C-C Motif Chemokine Receptor 2 (CCR2) reduces brain metastases. Our study clarifies a pro-metastatic effect of type I IFN in the brain even though IFN response has been considered to have anti-tumor effects. Moreover, this work expands our understandings on the interactions between cancer-activated astrocytes and immune cells in brain metastasis.
  21. Trends Cancer. 2023 May 05. pii: S2405-8033(23)00062-6. [Epub ahead of print]
      Many patients with metastatic or treatment-resistant cancer have experienced improved outcomes after immunotherapy that targets adaptive immune checkpoints. However, innate immune checkpoints, which can hinder the detection and clearance of malignant cells, are also crucial in tumor-mediated immune escape and may also serve as targets in cancer immunotherapy. In this review, we discuss the current understanding of immune evasion by cancer cells via disruption of phagocytic clearance, and the potential effects of blocking phagocytosis checkpoints on the activation of antitumor immune responses. We propose that a more effective combination immunotherapy strategy could be to exploit tumor-intrinsic processes that inhibit key innate immune surveillance processes, such as phagocytosis, and incorporate both innate and adaptive immune responses for treating patients with cancer.
    Keywords:  adaptive immunity; dendritic cells; innate immunity; macrophages; phagocytic checkpoints
  22. Cancer Cell. 2023 May 08. pii: S1535-6108(23)00133-2. [Epub ahead of print]41(5): 824-825
      Cytotoxic T cells are indispensable for the body's fight against most cancers. In the current issue of Cancer Cell, Gaglia et al. reveal how changes in the tumor tissue architecture creating niches of T cell-B cell interactions may support anti-tumor T cell responses.
  23. Cell Oncol (Dordr). 2023 May 11.
      PURPOSE: Metastatic bladder cancer (BC) has the highest somatic mutation frequency and recurrence rate of all tumors. However, the cellular and molecular characteristics of BC remain unclear.METHODS: We performed single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) on the samples of paracancerous normal tissue (PNT), primary tumor (PT) and lymph node metastasis (LNM). The proportions and gene expression profiles of different cell types in the tumor microenvironment (TME) were investigated.
    RESULTS: In total, 50,158 cells were classified into six populations. Malignant cells of PT and LNM exhibited large mutant DNA fragments, while the cell phenotypes and gene expression profiles differed during differentiation. Metastasis was associated with a poorer prognosis than PT. Tumor-associated stromal cells and inhibitory immune cells were the main cell populations in PT and LNM. Cell-cell communication analysis revealed the roles of signaling pathways of inflammatory cancer-associated fibroblast (iCAF) and tumor-associated macrophage (TAM) in exhaustion of T cells. In addition, iCAF may recruit TAM to promote formation of the TME earlier than the differentiation of tumor cells.
    CONCLUSION: This study through scRNA-seq enhanced our understanding of new features about the cellular and molecular similarities and differences of high-grade and metastatic bladder cancer, which might provide potential therapeutic targets in future treatment.
    Keywords:  Bladder cancer; Cancer associated fibroblast; Metastasis; Single-cell RNA sequencing; Tumor associated macrophage; Tumor microenvironment
  24. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2023 May 11. pii: djad072. [Epub ahead of print]
      BACKGROUND: PD-1 and PD-L1 inhibitors have poor efficacy in patients with trastuzumab-resistant advanced HER2-positive breast cancer. Tucatinib is a potent, selective anti-HER2 tyrosine kinase inhibitor with proven clinical benefit in the advanced setting in patients with trastuzumab resistance. We investigated if tucatinib can alter the tumor microenvironment and if this could be harnessed for therapeutic efficacy.METHODS: We investigated the anti-tumor efficacy and contribution of the immune response of tucatinib using two immunocompetent, HER2-positive murine breast cancer models (trastuzumab-sensitive H2N113; trastuzumab-resistant Fo5) and the efficacy of tucatinib with trastuzumab and PD-1/PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitors.
    RESULTS: In both models, tucatinib significantly inhibited tumor growth and demonstrated dose-dependent efficacy. Ex vivo analysis by flow cytometry of TILs in mice treated with tucatinib showed increased frequency, higher proliferation and enhanced effector function of CD8+ effector memory T cells (TEM). Tucatinib treatment also increased frequency of CD8+PD-1+ and CD8+TIM3+ T cells, CD49+ NK cells, monocytes, and MHC II expression on dendritic cells and macrophages, and a decrease in myeloid derived suppressor cells. Gene expression analysis revealed significant enrichment in pathways associated with immune activation, type I and II interferon response, adaptive immune response and antigen receptor signalling. In vivo, tucatinib and α-PD-L1 or α-PD-1 demonstrated significantly increased efficacy and improved survival of mice compared with tucatinib alone.
    CONCLUSION: Tucatinib modulates the immune microenvironment favourably and combination treatment with α-PD-L1 or α-PD-1 demonstrated increased efficacy in preclinical HER2-positive tumor models. These findings provide a rationale for investigation of tucatinib and immune checkpoint inhibition in the clinic.
  25. Front Immunol. 2023 ;14 1067641
      As one of the main components of the glioma immune microenvironment, glioma-associated macrophages (GAMs) have increasingly drawn research interest. Primarily comprised of resident microglias and peripherally derived mononuclear macrophages, GAMs are influential in a variety of activities such as tumor cell resistance to chemotherapy and radiotherapy as well as facilitation of glioma pathogenesis. In addition to in-depth research of GAM polarization, study of mechanisms relevant in tumor microenvironment recruitment has gradually increased. Suppression of GAMs at their source is likely to produce superior therapeutic outcomes. Here, we summarize the origin and recruitment mechanism of GAMs, as well as the therapeutic implications of GAM inhibition, to facilitate future glioma-related research and formulation of more effective treatment strategies.
    Keywords:  cytokine; glioma; glioma-associated microglia/macrophages; recruitment of macrophages; tumor microenvironment
  26. Mol Oncol. 2023 May 12.
      Cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs), a major component of the tumor microenvironment (TME) in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), play an important role in tumorigenesis, metastasis, and chemoresistance. Tumor-derived small extracellular vesicles (sEVs), which mediate cell-to-cell communication between cancer cells and fibroblasts, are also critical for cancer progression and metastasis. However, it remains unclear how PDAC cell-derived sEVs activate fibroblasts, which contributes to tumor progression. Here, we report that ezrin (EZR) expression in PDAC cell-derived sEVs (sEV-EZR) can activate fibroblasts, resulting in increased migration ability and high expression of α-SMA, PDGFRB, and high production of extracellular matrix in fibroblasts. Reciprocally, sEV-EZR-activated fibroblasts enhanced PDAC cell proliferation, invasion, and metastasis to the liver in animal models. Conversely, fibroblasts treated with PDAC cell-derived sEVs with EZR knockdown resulted in the reduced metastatic ability of PDAC. Mechanistically, we demonstrated that PDAC cell-derived sEV-EZR increases the STAT3 and YAP-1 signaling pathways to induce fibroblast activation, and the activated fibroblasts promote PDAC cell proliferation, invasion, and liver metastasis. Inhibition of the STAT3 and YAP-1 signaling pathways by gene knockdown can abrogate sEV-EZR-induced effects. These findings suggest that targeting the interaction between PDAC cell-derived sEV-EZR and fibroblasts is a potential therapeutic strategy for PDAC.
    Keywords:  cancer-associated fibroblasts; ezrin; metastasis; pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma; small extracellular vesicles
  27. Zhongguo Yi Xue Ke Xue Yuan Xue Bao. 2023 Apr;45(2): 290-297
      Although the development of novel drugs has significantly improved the survival of patients with multiple myeloma (MM) over the past decades,the lack of effective therapeutic options for relapsed and refractory MM results in poor prognosis.The chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy has achieved considerable progress in relapsed and refractory MM.Nevertheless,this therapy still has limitations such as cytokine release syndrome,neurotoxicity,and off-target effects.Natural killer (NK) cells,as a critical component of the innate immune system,play an essential role in tumor immunosurveillance.Therefore,CAR-modified NK (CAR-NK) cells are put forward as a therapeutic option for MM.The available studies have suggested that multiple targets can be used as specific therapeutic targets for CAR-NK cell therapy and confirmed their antitumor effects in MM cell lines and animal models.This review summarizes the anti-tumor mechanisms,biological characteristics,and dysfunction of NK cells in the MM tumor microenvironment,as well as the basic and clinical research progress of CAR-NK cells in treating MM.
    Keywords:  chimeric antigen receptor-modified natural killer cells; multiple myeloma; refractory; relapsed; treatment
  28. Clin Transl Med. 2023 05;13(5): e1257
      Macrophages are the central immune cells in atherosclerosis (AS) and play a critical role in the initiation, progression and invasion of atherosclerotic plaques. Metabolic reprogramming is a crucial feature that determines macrophage function and is driven by a combination of intrinsic alterations in macrophages and extrinsic factors such as cytokines acting in the plaque microenvironment. Intrinsic macrophage mechanisms activate signal transduction pathways that change metabolic enzyme activity, and the expression of metabolic regulators. Extrinsic signalling mechanisms involve lipids and cytokines in the microenvironment, promoting and amplifying macrophage metabolic reprogramming. This review describes the intrinsic and extrinsic mechanisms driving macrophage metabolic reprogramming in the AS microenvironment and the interplay of these metabolic rewires in the microenvironment. Moreover, we discuss whether targeting these different pathways to treat macrophage microenvironmental changes can alter the fate of the vulnerable plaques.
    Keywords:  atherosclerosis; macrophage; metabolic reprogramming; plaque microenvironment
  29. Am J Reprod Immunol. 2023 May 08. e13711
      Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is currently the most common metabolic complication during pregnancy, with an increasing prevalence worldwide. Maternal immune dysregulation might be partly responsible for the pathophysiology of GDM. Myeloid derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) are a heterogeneous population of cells, emerging as a new immune regulator with potent immunosuppressive capacity. Although the fate and function of these cells were primarily described in pathological conditions such as cancer and infection, accumulating evidences have spotlighted their beneficial roles in homeostasis and physiological conditions. Recently, several studies have explored the roles of MDSCs in the diabetic microenvironment. However, the fate and function of these cells in GDM are still unknown. The current review summarized the existing knowledges about MDSCs and their potential roles in diabetes during pregnancy in an attempt to highlight our current understanding of GDM-related immune dysregulation and identify areas where further study is required.
    Keywords:  gestational diabetes mellitus; immunoregulation; maternal-fetal; myeloid derived suppressor cells
  30. Cell Rep. 2023 May 05. pii: S2211-1247(23)00486-2. [Epub ahead of print] 112475
      Immunosuppressive tumor microenvironments (TMEs) reduce the effectiveness of immune responses in cancer. Mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs), precursors to cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs), promote tumor progression by enhancing immune cell suppression in colorectal cancer (CRC). Hyper-sialylation of glycans promotes immune evasion in cancer through binding of sialic acids to their receptors, Siglecs, expressed on immune cells, which results in inhibition of effector functions. The role of sialylation in shaping MSC/CAF immunosuppression in the TME is not well characterized. In this study, we show that tumor-conditioned stromal cells have increased sialyltransferase expression, α2,3/6-linked sialic acid, and Siglec ligands. Tumor-conditioned stromal cells and CAFs induce exhausted immunomodulatory CD8+ PD1+ and CD8+ Siglec-7+/Siglec-9+ T cell phenotypes. In vivo, targeting stromal cell sialylation reverses stromal cell-mediated immunosuppression, as shown by infiltration of CD25 and granzyme B-expressing CD8+ T cells in the tumor and draining lymph node. Targeting stromal cell sialylation may overcome immunosuppression in the CRC TME.
    Keywords:  CP: Cancer; CP: Immunology; T cell exhaustion; T cells; cancer-associated fibroblasts; colon cancer; immunotherapy; inflammation; sialylation; siglecs; stromal cells; tumor microenvironment
  31. bioRxiv. 2023 Apr 25. pii: 2023.04.21.537859. [Epub ahead of print]
      Adenosine (Ado) mediates immune suppression in the tumor microenvironment and exhausted CD8 + CAR T cells mediate Ado-induced immunosuppression through CD39/73-dependent Ado production. Knockout of CD39, CD73 or A2aR had modest effects on exhausted CAR T cells, whereas overexpression of Ado deaminase (ADA), which metabolizes Ado to inosine (INO), induced stemness features and potently enhanced functionality. Similarly, and to a greater extent, exposure of CAR T cells to INO augmented CAR T cell function and induced hallmark features of T cell stemness. INO induced a profound metabolic reprogramming, diminishing glycolysis and increasing oxidative phosphorylation, glutaminolysis and polyamine synthesis, and modulated the epigenome toward greater stemness. Clinical scale manufacturing using INO generated enhanced potency CAR T cell products meeting criteria for clinical dosing. These data identify INO as a potent modulator of T cell metabolism and epigenetic stemness programming and deliver a new enhanced potency platform for immune cell manufacturing.Statement of Significance: Adenosine is well known to inhibit T cell function and substantial effort has focused on inhibiting adenosine generation and signaling. Here, we show that exhausted T cells are suppressed by adenosine, which is only modestly impacted by inhibiting adenosine generation or signaling. In contrast, metabolism of adenosine to inosine augmented T cell function and culture of T cells with inosine induced multi-level reprogramming leading to stemness and improved anti-tumor potency. We demonstrate the feasibility of introducing inosine during GMP cell manufacturing as a novel strategy to generate enhanced CAR-T cells.
  32. Trends Cancer. 2023 May 06. pii: S2405-8033(23)00060-2. [Epub ahead of print]
      Cancer initiation and progression drastically alter the microenvironment at the interface between healthy and malignant tissue. This site, termed the peritumor, bears unique physical and immune attributes that together further promote tumor progression through interconnected mechanical signaling and immune activity. In this review, we describe the distinct physical features of the peritumoral microenvironment and link their relationship to immune responses. The peritumor is a region rich in biomarkers and therapeutic targets and thus is a key focus for future cancer research as well as clinical outlooks, particularly to understand and overcome novel mechanisms of immunotherapy resistance.
    Keywords:  immunotherapy; peritumor; physical immunity; physical oncology; tumor microenvironment
  33. Front Immunol. 2023 ;14 1135489
      Mucosal head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) are the seventh most common cancer, with approximately 50% of patients living beyond 5 years. Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) have shown promising results in patients with recurrent or metastatic (R/M) disease, however, only a subset of patients benefit from immunotherapy. Studies have implicated the tumor microenvironment (TME) of HNSCC as a major factor in therapy response, highlighting the need to better understand the TME, particularly by spatially resolved means to determine cellular and molecular components. Here, we employed targeted spatial profiling of proteins on a cohort of pre-treatment tissues from patients with R/M disease to identify novel biomarkers of response within the tumor and stromal margins. By grouping patient outcome categories into response or non-response, based on Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (RECIST) we show that immune checkpoint molecules, including PD-L1, B7-H3, and VISTA, were differentially expressed. Patient responders possessed significantly higher tumor expression of PD-L1 and B7-H3, but lower expression of VISTA. Analysis of response subgroups indicated that tumor necrosis factor receptor (TNFR) superfamily members including OX40L, CD27, 4-1BB, CD40, and CD95/Fas, were associated with immunotherapy outcome. CD40 expression was higher in patient-responders than non responders, while CD95/Fas expression was lower in patients with partial response (PR) relative to those with stable disease (SD) and progressive disease (PD). Furthermore, we found that high 4-1BB expression in the tumor compartment, but not in the stroma, was associated with better overall survival (OS) (HR= 0.28, p-adjusted= 0.040). Moreover, high CD40 expression in tumor regions (HR= 0.27, p-adjusted= 0.035), and high CD27 expression in the stroma (HR= 0.2, p-adjusted=0.032) were associated with better survival outcomes. Taken together, this study supports the role of immune checkpoint molecules and implicates the TNFR superfamily as key players in immunotherapy response in our cohort of HNSCC. Validation of these findings in a prospective study is required to determine the robustness of these tissue signatures.
    Keywords:  head and neck cancer; head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC); immunotherapy; spatial proteomics; tumor microenvironment
  34. Front Immunol. 2023 ;14 1165576
      Chimeric antigen receptor-T (CAR-T) cell therapy based on functional immune cell transfer is showing a booming situation. However, complex manufacturing processes, high costs, and disappointing results in the treatment of solid tumors have limited its use. Encouragingly, it has facilitated the development of new strategies that fuse immunology, cell biology, and biomaterials to overcome these obstacles. In recent years, CAR-T engineering assisted by properly designed biomaterials has improved therapeutic efficacy and reduced side effects, providing a sustainable strategy for improving cancer immunotherapy. At the same time, the low cost and diversity of biomaterials also offer the possibility of industrial production and commercialization. Here, we summarize the role of biomaterials as gene delivery vehicles in the generation of CAR-T cells and highlight the advantages of in-situ construction in vivo. Then, we focused on how biomaterials can be combined with CAR-T cells to better enable synergistic immunotherapy in the treatment of solid tumors. Finally, we describe biomaterials' potential challenges and prospects in CAR-T therapy. This review aims to provide a detailed overview of biomaterial-based CAR-T tumor immunotherapy to help investigators reference and customize biomaterials for CAR-T therapy to improve the efficacy of immunotherapy.
    Keywords:  biomaterials; chimeric antigen receptor-T; gene delivery; immunotherapy; solid tumor treatment
  35. Vet J. 2023 May 08. pii: S1090-0233(23)00043-6. [Epub ahead of print] 105992
      Tumor-associated macrophages are abundant infiltrating cells in the tumor microenvironment (TME). Macrophages can be classified into several types of subsets based on their immune responses. Among those subsets, M2 macrophages contribute to anti-inflammatory responses and create an immunosuppressive environment that promotes tumor cell proliferation. In a previous study, human cancer patients with high M2 macrophages showed a worse prognosis for many types of tumors. However, studies examining the relationship between M2 macrophages and clinical outcomes in canine tumors are limited. In the previous human and canine studies, CD204 has been used as the marker for detecting M2 macrophages. Then we evaluated CD204+ and total macrophages infiltration and its association with clinical outcomes in canine solid tumors. In this study, we examined dogs with oral malignant melanoma (OMM), pulmonary adenocarcinoma (PA), hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), and transitional cell carcinoma (TCC). Compared to healthy tissues, CD204+ and total macrophages were increased in OMM, PA, and TCC, but not in HCC. High CD204+ macrophage levels were significantly associated with lung metastasis in TCC (P=0.030). Kaplan-Meier analysis revealed that high CD204+ macrophage levels were associated with shorter overall survival (OS) in canine patients with PA (P = 0.012) and TCC (P = 0.0053). These results suggest that CD204+ macrophages contribute to tumor progression and could be a prognostic factor in dogs with PA and TCC.
    Keywords:  CD204; Canine; Clinical outcome; M2 macrophage; Solid tumor
  36. Theranostics. 2023 ;13(7): 2301-2318
      Breast cancer (BC) is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers and the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in women worldwide. Metastasis is a major contributor to high cancer mortality and is usually the endpoint of a series of sequential and dynamic events. One of the critical events is forming a pre-metastatic niche (PMN) that occurs before macroscopic tumor cell invasion and provides a suitable environment for tumor cells to colonize and progress into metastases. Due to the unique characteristics of PMN in cancer metastasis, developing therapies to target PMN may bring new advantages in preventing cancer metastasis at an early stage. Various biological molecules, cells, and signaling pathways are altered in BC, regulating the functions of distinctive immune cells and stromal remodeling, inducing angiogenesis, and effect metabolic reprogramming and organotropism to promote PMN formation. In this review, we elucidate the multifaceted mechanisms contributing to the development of PMN in BC, discuss the characteristics of PMN, and highlight the significance of PMN in providing potential diagnostic and therapeutic strategies for BC metastasis, which may bring promising insights and foundations for future studies.