bims-flamet Biomed News
on Cytokines and immunometabolism in metastasis
Issue of 2023‒07‒30
forty papers selected by
Peio Azcoaga
Biodonostia HRI

  1. Front Oncol. 2023 ;13 1194835
      Breast cancer deaths are primarily caused by metastasis. There are several treatment options that can be used to treat breast cancer. There are, however, a limited number of treatments that can either prevent or inhibit the spread of breast tumor metastases. Thus, novel therapeutic strategies are needed. Studies have increasingly focused on the importance of the tumor microenvironment (TME) in metastasis of breast cancer. As the most abundant cells in the TME, cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) play important roles in cancer pathogenesis. They can remodel the structure of the extracellular matrix (ECM) and engage in crosstalk with cancer cells or other stroma cells by secreting growth factors, cytokines, and chemokines, as well as components of the ECM, which assist the tumor cells to invade through the TME and cause distant metastasis. Clinically, CAFs not only foster the initiation, growth, angiogenesis, invasion, and metastasis of breast cancer but also serve as biomarkers for diagnosis, therapy, and prediction of prognosis. In this review, we summarize the biological characteristics and subtypes of CAFs and their functions in breast cancer metastasis, focusing on their important roles in the diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment of breast cancer. Recent studies suggest that CAFs are vital partners of breast cancer cells that assist metastasis and may represent ideal targets for prevention and treatment of breast cancer metastasis.
    Keywords:  breast cancer; cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs); extracellular matrix (ECM); metastasis; tumor microenvironment (TME)
  2. Pathol Res Pract. 2023 Jul 24. pii: S0344-0338(23)00407-7. [Epub ahead of print]248 154707
      The tumor microenvironment (TME), which includes tumor cells, fibroblasts, endothelial cells, immune cells, and blood vessels, can affect tumor growth and metastasis. Studies have shown that tumor cells, fibroblasts, and macrophages can promote the development of tumors, while T and B cells can inhibit tumor progression. The crosstalk among different cells within the TME needs further study. Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) are involved in biological processes, including cell proliferation, migration, and differentiation. The abnormal expression of certain lncRNAs is correlated with the progression of breast cancer and has been proven as diagnostic markers in various cancers, including breast cancer. In breast cancer, recent studies have shown that tumor cell- and non-tumor cell-derived lncRNAs can affect various facets of tumor progression, including growth, proliferation, and migration of tumor cells. Interestingly, in addition to being regulated by lncRNAs derived from tumor and non-tumor cells, the TME can regulate the expression of lncRNAs in tumor cells, fibroblasts, and macrophages, influencing their phenotype and function. However, the detailed molecular mechanisms of these phenomena remain unclear in the breast cancer microenvironment. Currently, many studies have shown that TME-associated lncRNAs are potential diagnostic and therapeutic targets for breast cancer. Considering that TME and lncRNAs can regulate each other, we summarize the role of lncRNAs in the breast cancer microenvironment and the potential of lncRNAs as valuable diagnostic markers.
    Keywords:  Breast cancer; LncRNA; Tumor microenvironment
  3. Pathol Res Pract. 2023 Jul 23. pii: S0344-0338(23)00411-9. [Epub ahead of print]248 154711
      Myeloid-derived suppressor cell (MDSC) mainly exists in tumor microenvironment (TME) and interferes with normal immune response of the body. These immature differentiated cells cooperate with tumor cells for immune escape and proliferation. The subtypes of MDSC are different in different organisms, and STAT become a high priority for the signaling pathway mediating the regulation of MDSC. The surface of MDSC cell population contains a variety of signal molecular receptors, and its differentiation degree is toilless to be chemotaxis by different factors. The role of MDSC in silencing T cells and promoting regulatory T cells (Treg) is particularly significant. This review mainly contains the origin of MDSC, the characteristics of subgroups, the focus of the study on MDSC heat molecules and signaling pathways, the relationship between MDSC and carcinoma, prognosis and hope to propose an overview of current MDSCs- targeting therapies so as to provide new ideas for cancer treatment.
    Keywords:  Cancer; Immunotherapy; Myeloid-derived suppressor cell; Tumor microenvironment
  4. Front Oncol. 2023 ;13 1175563
      The tumor microenvironment (TME) is characterized by interactions among various cells, including tumor cells, immune cells, stromal cells, and blood vessels mediated by factors such as cytokines and metabolites. The development of cancer immunotherapy in recent years has facilitated a more comprehensive understanding of the TME. The TME changes with cancer type and host immune status, as well as with therapeutic intervention. However, studies on pH regulation of the TME have been mostly based on lactate, a metabolite of tumor cells. Notably, the Warburg effect results in the increased production of secreted lactate, thereby acidifying the extracellular microenvironment and affecting the surrounding cells. Lactate inhibits the activation and proliferation of CD8+ T cells, M1 macrophages, natural killer (NK) cells, and dendritic cells, contributing to tumor cell immune escape. It is also involved in angiogenesis and tissue remodeling, as well as promotes tumor growth and invasion. In this review, we have discussed the lactate-based pH regulation in tumor cells in the TME and its effects on the other constituent cells.
    Keywords:  Warburg effect; immune escape; lactate; pH; tumor microenvironment
  5. Cells. 2023 Jul 22. pii: 1912. [Epub ahead of print]12(14):
      Myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) play a significant role in the immune system and have been extensively studied in cancer. MDSCs are a heterogeneous population of myeloid cells that accumulate in the tumor microenvironment. Consequently, the high abundance of these cells often leads to immunosuppression, tumor growth, treatment failure, and poor prognosis. Ovarian cancer ranks fifth in cancer deaths among women, accounting for more deaths than any other cancer of the female genital tract. Currently, there is a lack of effective clinical strategies for the treatment of ovarian cancer. Although several studies underline the negative role of human MDSCs in ovarian cancer, this topic is still understudied. The works on MDSCs are summarized here, along with an explanation of why focusing on these cells would be a promising approach for treating ovarian cancer patients.
    Keywords:  CAR-M; MDSCs; TME; immunotherapy; myeloid-derived suppressor cells; ovarian cancer; therapy resistance
  6. Int J Mol Sci. 2023 Jul 08. pii: 11233. [Epub ahead of print]24(14):
      Immunotherapies including adaptive immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) and chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells, have developed the treatment of cancer in clinic, and most of them focus on activating T cell immunity. Although these strategies have obtained unprecedented clinical responses, only limited subsets of cancer patients could receive long-term benefits, highlighting the demand for identifying novel targets for the new era of tumor immunotherapy. Innate immunity has been demonstrated to play a determinative role in the tumor microenvironment (TME) and influence the clinical outcomes of tumor patients. A thorough comprehension of the innate immune cells that infiltrate tumors would allow for the development of new therapeutics. In this review, we outline the role and mechanism of innate immunity in TME. Moreover, we discuss innate immunity-based cancer immunotherapy in basic and clinical studies. Finally, we summarize the challenges in sufficiently motivating innate immune responses and the corresponding strategies and measures to improve anti-tumor efficacy. This review could aid the comprehension of innate immunity and inspire the creation of brand-new immunotherapies for the treatment of cancer.
    Keywords:  cancer therapy; chimeric antigen receptors; cytokines; immune checkpoint inhibitors; innate immunity
  7. Front Immunol. 2023 ;14 1214675
      Lysine-specific demethylase 1 (LSD1) is an enzyme that removes lysine methylation marks from nucleosome histone tails and plays an important role in cancer initiation, progression, metastasis, and recurrence. Recent research shows that LSD1 regulates tumor cells and immune cells through multiple upstream and downstream pathways, enabling tumor cells to adapt to the tumor microenvironment (TME). As a potential anti-tumor treatment strategy, immunotherapy has developed rapidly in the past few years. However, most patients have a low response rate to available immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs), including anti-PD-(L)1 therapy and CAR-T cell therapy, due to a broad array of immunosuppressive mechanisms. Notably, inhibition of LSD1 turns "cold tumors" into "hot tumors" and subsequently enhances tumor cell sensitivity to ICIs. This review focuses on recent advances in LSD1 and tumor immunity and discusses a potential therapeutic strategy for combining LSD1 inhibition with immunotherapy.
    Keywords:  LSD1; PD-(L)1; combination therapy; immunotherapy; tumor microenvironment
  8. Int J Mol Sci. 2023 Jul 14. pii: 11471. [Epub ahead of print]24(14):
      According to the WHO's recently released worldwide cancer data for 2020, liver cancer ranks sixth in morbidity and third in mortality among all malignancies. Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the most common kind of liver cancer, accounts approximately for 80% of all primary liver malignancies and is one of the leading causes of death globally. The intractable tumor microenvironment plays an important role in the development and progression of HCC and is one of three major unresolved issues in clinical practice (cancer recurrence, fatal metastasis, and the refractory tumor microenvironment). Despite significant advances, improved molecular and cellular characterization of the tumor microenvironment is still required since it plays an important role in the genesis and progression of HCC. The purpose of this review is to present an overview of the HCC immune microenvironment, distinct cellular constituents, current therapies, and potential immunotherapy methods.
    Keywords:  hepatocellular carcinoma; immunotherapy; tumor microenvironment; tumor-associated macrophages
  9. Breast Cancer Res. 2023 Jul 26. 25(1): 88
      Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is the most lethal subtype of breast cancer, with limited therapeutic options readily available. Immunotherapy such as immune checkpoint inhibition has been investigated in TNBC but still encounters low overall response. Neutrophils, the most abundant leukocytes in the body, are increasingly recognized as an active cancer-modulating entity. In the bloodstream, neutrophils escort circulating tumor cells to promote their survival and stimulate their proliferation and metastasis. In the tumor microenvironment, neutrophils modulate the immune milieu through polarization between the anti-tumor and the pro-tumor phenotypes. Through a comprehensive review of recently published literature, it is evident that neutrophils are an important player in TNBC immunobiology and can be used as an important prognostic marker of TNBC. Particularly, in their pro-tumor form, neutrophils facilitate TNBC metastasis through formation of neutrophil extracellular traps and the pre-metastatic niche. These findings will help advance the potential utilization of neutrophils as a therapeutic target in TNBC.
    Keywords:  Immunotherapy; Metastasis; Neutrophil; Triple-negative breast cancer; Tumor microenvironment
  10. Environ Res. 2023 Jul 26. pii: S0013-9351(23)01555-4. [Epub ahead of print] 116751
      Oral cavity carcinomas are the most frequent malignancies among head and neck malignancies. Oral tumors include not only oral cancer cells with different potency and stemness but also consist of diverse cells, containing anticancer immune cells, stromal and also immunosuppressive cells that influence the immune system reactions. The infiltrated T and natural killer (NK) cells are the substantial tumor-suppressive immune compartments in the tumor. The infiltration of these cells has substantial impacts on the response of tumors to immunotherapy, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy. Nevertheless, cancer cells, stromal cells, and some other compartments like regulatory T cells (Tregs), macrophages, and myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) can repress the immune responses against malignant cells. Boosting anticancer immunity by inducing the immune system or repressing the tumor-promoting cells is one of the intriguing approaches for the eradication of malignant cells such as oral cancers. This review aims to concentrate on the secretions and interactions in the oral tumor immune microenvironment. We review targeting tumor stroma, immune system and immunosuppressive interactions in oral tumors. This review will also focus on therapeutic targets and therapeutic agents such as nanoparticles and products with anti-tumor potency that can boost anticancer immunity in oral tumors. We also explain possible future perspectives including delivery of various cells, natural products and drugs by nanoparticles for boosting anticancer immunity in oral tumors.
    Keywords:  Anticancer immunity; Cytotoxic CD8(+) T lymphocytes (CTLs); Natural killer (NK) cells; Oral squamous cell carcinoma
  11. Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2023 Jul 24. pii: S0958-1669(23)00080-0. [Epub ahead of print]83 102970
      The tumor microenvironment (TME) plays a crucial role in regulating the state and function of all cell types residing in the tumor and thus impacts many aspects of tumor biology. The importance of the TME has led to an interest in characterizing the composition of the TME and how TME components regulate cancer and stromal cell biology. Tumor interstitial fluid (TIF) is the local perfusate of the TME that carries metabolites, electrolytes, and soluble macromolecules to tumor-resident cells. Recently, techniques to isolate TIF have been coupled with analytical techniques to interrogate the composition of TIF, providing new insight into TME composition. In this review, we will discuss what TIF studies indicate about TME composition and new avenues TIF analysis provides to delineate how the TME regulates tumor biology.
  12. J Hematol Oncol. 2023 07 25. 16(1): 80
      Tumour-associated macrophages (TAMs) are crucial components of the tumour microenvironment and play a significant role in tumour development and drug resistance by creating an immunosuppressive microenvironment. Macrophages are essential components of both the innate and adaptive immune systems and contribute to pathogen resistance and the regulation of organism homeostasis. Macrophage function and polarization are closely linked to altered metabolism. Generally, M1 macrophages rely primarily on aerobic glycolysis, whereas M2 macrophages depend on oxidative metabolism. Metabolic studies have revealed that the metabolic signature of TAMs and metabolites in the tumour microenvironment regulate the function and polarization of TAMs. However, the precise effects of metabolic reprogramming on tumours and TAMs remain incompletely understood. In this review, we discuss the impact of metabolic pathways on macrophage function and polarization as well as potential strategies for reprogramming macrophage metabolism in cancer treatment.
    Keywords:  Cancer; Metabolism; Metabolism reprogramming; Tumour microenvironment; Tumour-associated macrophages
  13. Curr Issues Mol Biol. 2023 Jul 13. 45(7): 5865-5878
      Colorectal cancer (CRC) is a significant global health issue characterized by a high prevalence of KRAS gene mutations. The RAS/MAPK pathway, involving KRAS, plays a crucial role in CRC progression. Although some RAS inhibitors have been approved, their efficacy in CRC is limited. To overcome these limitations, pan-RAF inhibitors targeting A-Raf, B-Raf, and C-Raf have emerged as promising therapeutic strategies. However, resistance to RAF inhibition and the presence of an immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment (TME) pose additional obstacles to effective therapy. Here, we evaluated the potential of a novel pan-RAF inhibitor, SJ-C1044, for targeting mutant KRAS-mediated signaling and inhibiting CRC cell proliferation. Notably, SJ-C1044 also exhibited inhibitory effects on immunokinases, specifically, CSF1R, VEGFR2, and TIE2, which play crucial roles in immune suppression. SJ-C1044 demonstrated potent antitumor activity in xenograft models of CRC harboring KRAS or BRAF mutations. Importantly, treatment with SJ-C1044 resulted in increased infiltration of T cells and reduced presence of tumor-associated macrophages and regulatory T cells within the TME. Thus, SJ-C1044 shows immunomodulatory potential and the ability to enhance antitumor responses. The study underscores the therapeutic potential of SJ-C1044 as a novel pan-RAF inhibitor capable of targeting oncogenic signaling pathways and overcoming immune suppression in CRC.
    Keywords:  CSF1R; KRAS; colorectal cancer; pan-RAF; tumor-associated macrophages
  14. Curr Oncol. 2023 Jun 25. 30(7): 6111-6133
      Multiple myeloma (MM) is characterized by multiple relapse and, despite the introduction of novel therapies, the disease becomes ultimately drug-resistant. The tumor microenvironment (TME) within the bone marrow niche includes dendritic cells, T-cytotoxic, T-helper, reactive B-lymphoid cells and macrophages, with a complex cross-talk between these cells and the MM tumor cells. Tumor-associated macrophages (TAM) have an important role in the MM pathogenesis, since they could promote plasma cells proliferation and angiogenesis, further supporting MM immune evasion and progression. TAM are polarized towards M1 (classically activated, antitumor activity) and M2 (alternatively activated, pro-tumor activity) subtypes. Many studies demonstrated a correlation between TAM, disease progression, drug-resistance and reduced survival in lymphoproliferative neoplasms, including MM. MM plasma cells in vitro could favor an M2 TAM polarization. Moreover, a possible correlation between the pro-tumor effect of M2 TAM and a reduced sensitivity to proteasome inhibitors and immunomodulatory drugs was hypothesized. Several clinical studies confirmed CD68/CD163 double-positive M2 TAM were associated with increased microvessel density, chemoresistance and reduced survival, independently of the MM stage. This review provided an overview of the biology and clinical relevance of TAM in MM, as well as a comprehensive evaluation of a potential TAM-targeted immunotherapy.
    Keywords:  drug resistance; multiple myeloma; prognosis; tumor microenvironment; tumor-associated macrophages
  15. Front Immunol. 2023 ;14 1211126
      Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the most prevalent primary liver malignancy worldwide and is associated with a poor prognosis. Sophisticated molecular mechanisms and biological characteristics need to be explored to gain a better understanding of HCC. The role of metabolites in cancer immunometabolism has been widely recognized as a hallmark of cancer in the tumor microenvironment (TME). Recent studies have focused on metabolites that are derived from carbohydrate, lipid, and protein metabolism, because alterations in these may contribute to HCC progression, ischemia-reperfusion (IR) injury during liver transplantation (LT), and post-LT rejection. Immune cells play a central role in the HCC microenvironment and the duration of IR or rejection. They shape immune responses through metabolite modifications and by engaging in complex crosstalk with tumor cells. A growing number of publications suggest that immune cell functions in the TME are closely linked to metabolic changes. In this review, we summarize recent findings on the primary metabolites in the TME and post-LT metabolism and relate these studies to HCC development, IR injury, and post-LT rejection. Our understanding of aberrant metabolism and metabolite targeting based on regulatory metabolic pathways may provide a novel strategy to enhance immunometabolism manipulation by reprogramming cell metabolism.
    Keywords:  hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC); immunometabolism; ischemia-reperfusion (IR) injury; lipid metabolism; liver transplantation (LT); succinate
  16. Trends Cancer. 2023 Jul 26. pii: S2405-8033(23)00125-5. [Epub ahead of print]
      Cancer treatment options are limited due to therapeutic resistance; thus, understanding the tumor microenvironment (TME) is crucial. Sphingolipid metabolism and complement activation products have essential roles in promoting tumor survival. Emerging evidence shows that sphingolipid signaling can regulate intracellular complement activation to induce inflammasome-mediated metastasis, offering a promising strategy for cancer therapy.
    Keywords:  S1P receptor signaling; complement signaling; sphingolipid metabolism; sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P)
  17. Mol Cancer. 2023 Jul 24. 22(1): 118
      Immunosuppression is a hallmark of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), contributing to early metastasis and poor patient survival. Compared to the localized tumors, current standard-of-care therapies have failed to improve the survival of patients with metastatic PDAC, that necessecitates exploration of novel therapeutic approaches. While immunotherapies such as immune checkpoint blockade (ICB) and therapeutic vaccines have emerged as promising treatment modalities in certain cancers, limited responses have been achieved in PDAC. Therefore, specific mechanisms regulating the poor response to immunotherapy must be explored. The immunosuppressive microenvironment driven by oncogenic mutations, tumor secretome, non-coding RNAs, and tumor microbiome persists throughout PDAC progression, allowing neoplastic cells to grow locally and metastasize distantly. The metastatic cells escaping the host immune surveillance are unique in molecular, immunological, and metabolic characteristics. Following chemokine and exosomal guidance, these cells metastasize to the organ-specific pre-metastatic niches (PMNs) constituted by local resident cells, stromal fibroblasts, and suppressive immune cells, such as the metastasis-associated macrophages, neutrophils, and myeloid-derived suppressor cells. The metastatic immune microenvironment differs from primary tumors in stromal and immune cell composition, functionality, and metabolism. Thus far, multiple molecular and metabolic pathways, distinct from primary tumors, have been identified that dampen immune effector functions, confounding the immunotherapy response in metastatic PDAC. This review describes major immunoregulatory pathways that contribute to the metastatic progression and limit immunotherapy outcomes in PDAC. Overall, we highlight the therapeutic vulnerabilities attributable to immunosuppressive factors and discuss whether targeting these molecular and immunological "hot spots" could improve the outcomes of PDAC immunotherapies.
    Keywords:  Exosomes; Immune and metabolic checkpoints; Immunosuppression; Microbiome; Non-coding RNA; Pre-metastatic niche
  18. Cancers (Basel). 2023 Jul 22. pii: 3722. [Epub ahead of print]15(14):
      Macrophages are types of immune cells, with ambivalent functions in tumor growth, which depend on the specific environment in which they reside. Tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) are a diverse population of immunosuppressive myeloid cells that play significant roles in several malignancies. TAM infiltration in malignancies has been linked to a poor prognosis and limited response to treatments, including those using checkpoint inhibitors. Understanding the precise mechanisms through which macrophages contribute to tumor growth is an active area of research as targeting these cells may offer potential therapeutic approaches for cancer treatment. Numerous investigations have focused on anti-TAM-based methods that try to eliminate, rewire, or target the functional mediators released by these cells. Considering the importance of these strategies in the reversion of tumor resistance to conventional therapies and immune modulatory vaccination could be an appealing approach for the immunosuppressive targeting of myeloid cells in the tumor microenvironment (TME). The combination of reprogramming and TAM depletion is a special feature of this approach compared to other clinical strategies. Thus, the present review aims to comprehensively overview the pleiotropic activities of TAMs and their involvement in various stages of cancer development as a potent drug target, with a focus on hematologic tumors.
    Keywords:  hematologic malignancies; macrophages; tumor microenvironment
  19. Pharmaceutics. 2023 Jun 21. pii: 1788. [Epub ahead of print]15(7):
      The tumor microenvironment (TME) plays critical roles in immune modulation and tumor malignancies in the process of cancer development. Immune cells constitute a significant component of the TME and influence the migration and metastasis of tumor cells. Recently, a number of therapeutic approaches targeting immune cells have proven promising and have already been used to treat different types of cancer. In particular, PD-1 and PD-L1 inhibitors have been used in the first-line setting in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with PD-L1 expression ≥1%, as approved by the FDA. In this review, we provide an introduction to the immune cells in the TME and their efficacies, and then we discuss current immunotherapies in NSCLC and scientific research progress in this field.
    Keywords:  NSCLC; TME; immune cells; immunotherapies
  20. Mater Today Bio. 2023 Aug;21 100724
      Tumor evolution is the accumulation of various tumor cell behaviors from tumorigenesis to tumor metastasis and is regulated by the tumor microenvironment (TME). However, the mechanism of solid tumor progression has not been completely elucidated, and thus, the development of tumor therapy is still limited. Recently, Tumor chips constructed by culturing tumor cells and stromal cells on microfluidic chips have demonstrated great potential in modeling solid tumors and visualizing tumor cell behaviors to exploit tumor progression. Herein, we review the methods of developing engineered solid tumors on microfluidic chips in terms of tumor types, cell resources and patterns, the extracellular matrix and the components of the TME, and summarize the recent advances of microfluidic chips in demonstrating tumor cell behaviors, including proliferation, epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition, migration, intravasation, extravasation and immune escape of tumor cells. We also outline the combination of tumor organoids and microfluidic chips to elaborate tumor organoid-on-a-chip platforms, as well as the practical limitations that must be overcome.
    Keywords:  Microfluidic chips; Solid tumors; Tumor cell behaviors; Tumor evolution; Tumor organoids
  21. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2023 Jul 18. pii: S0006-291X(23)00881-1. [Epub ahead of print]675 170-176
      Aerobic glycolysis preferentially exists in many cancer cells. LMO2 is an adaptor protein ubiquitously expressed in many epithelia and their malignancies, and it mediates broad-spectrum protein interactions. In this study, results showed that LMO2 directly interacted with glycolytic enzymes PGK1, PGAM1 and LDHA/LDHB, attenuated the glycolytic metabolism flow characterized by decreased glucose intake, ATP production and lactic acid excretion in lung and breast cancer cells, and was positively associated with of CD8+ T-lymphocyte infiltration in the tumor microenvironment. These findings reveal a novel role of LMO2 on modulating glycolysis in tumor cells and cytotoxic T-lymphocyte infiltration in the tumor microenvironment, which expands our knowledge of LMO2 in the field of solid tumors.
    Keywords:  Glycolysis; LMO2; Lactic acid; Tumor-infiltrating T Cells
  22. ACS Nano. 2023 Jul 27.
      High expression of programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1) and strong immune evasion ability of the tumor microenvironment (TME) are maintained through mutual regulation between different immune and stromal cells, which causes obstructions for cancer immunotherapy, especially immunosuppressive M2-like phenotype tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs). Repolarization of TAMs to the M1-like phenotype could secrete proinflammatory cytokines and reverse the immunosuppressive state of the TME. However, we found that reactive oxygen species (ROS) generated by repolarized TAMs could be a double-edged sword: ROS cause a stronger suppressive effect on CD8 T cells through an increased proportion of apoptotic regulatory T (Treg) cells. Thus, simply repolarizing TAMs while ignoring the suppressed function of T cells is insufficient for generating adequate antitumor immunity. Accordingly, we engineered multifunctional redox-responsive nanoplatform NPs (M+C+siPD-L1) with Toll-like receptor agonist (M), catalase (C), and siPD-L1 encased for coregulation of both TAMs and T cells to maximize cancer immunotherapy. Our results demonstrated that NPs (M+C+siPD-L1) showed superior biocompatibility and intratumor accumulation. For in vitro experiments, NPs (M+C+siPD-L1) simultaneously repolarized TAMs to the M1-like phenotype, hydrolyzed extra ROS, knocked down the expression of PD-L1 on tumor cells, and rescued the function of CD8 T cells suppressed by Treg cells. In both orthotopic Hepa1-6 and 4T1 tumor-bearing mouse models, NPs (M+C+siPD-L1) could effectively evoke active systemic antitumor immunity and inhibit tumor growth. The combination of repolarizing TAMs, hydrolyzing extra ROS, and knocking down the expression of PD-L1 proves to be a synergistic approach in cancer immunotherapy.
    Keywords:  T cells; nanomedicine; tumor associated macrophages; tumor immunotherapy; tumor microenvironment
  23. Front Immunol. 2023 ;14 1246695
    Keywords:  biomarkes; immunotherapy; tumor immunity; tumor microenvironment (TME); tumor-infiltrating immune cells
  24. Biomedicines. 2023 Jul 01. pii: 1878. [Epub ahead of print]11(7):
      One of the most important steps forward in the management of cancer was the discovery of immunotherapy. It has become an essential pillar in the treatment paradigm of cancer patients. Unfortunately, despite the various options presented with immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs), the benefit is still limited to select patients and the vast majority of these patients gain either minimal benefit or eventually progress, leaving an unmet need for the development of novel therapeutic agents and strategies. Lymphocyte activation gene-3 (LAG-3), an immune checkpoint receptor protein, is a molecule found on the surface of activated T-cells. It plays a major role in negatively regulating T-cell function thereby providing tumors with an immune escape in the tumor microenvironment (TME). Given its importance in regulating the immune system, LAG-3 has been considered as a promising target in oncology and precision medicine. To date, two LAG-3-directed agents (eftilagimod alpha and relatlimab) have been approved in combination with programmed death-1 (PD-1) inhibitors in the setting of advanced solid tumors. In this review, we discuss the structure of LAG-3, its mechanism of action, and its interaction with its ligands. We also shed light on the emerging treatments targeting LAG-3 for the treatment of solid tumors.
    Keywords:  immune checkpoint; immunotherapy; lymphocyte activation gene-3 (LAG-3)
  25. Pharmaceutics. 2023 Jul 21. pii: 2001. [Epub ahead of print]15(7):
      Reinvigorating the killing function of tumor-infiltrating immune cells through the targeting of regulatory molecules expressed on lymphocytes has markedly improved the prognosis of cancer patients, particularly in melanoma. While initially thought to solely strengthen adaptive T lymphocyte anti-tumor activity, recent investigations suggest that other immune cell subsets, particularly tissue-resident innate lymphoid cells (ILCs), may benefit from immunotherapy treatment. Here, we describe the recent findings showing immune checkpoint expression on tissue-resident and tumor-infiltrating ILCs and how their effector function is modulated by checkpoint blockade-based therapies in cancer. We discuss the therapeutic potential of ILCs beyond the classical PD-1 and CTLA-4 regulatory molecules, exploring other possibilities to manipulate ILC effector function to further impede tumor growth and quench disease progression.
    Keywords:  NK cells; PD-1; cancer; cytokines; immune cells; immune checkpoints; immunotherapy; innate immunity; innate lymphoid cells; melanoma
  26. Cancer Radiother. 2023 Jul 24. pii: S1278-3218(23)00129-4. [Epub ahead of print]
      Several preclinical data have suggested the ability of radiation therapy to modulate the intrinsic immunogenicity of cancer cells and the tumor microenvironment, with the aim of increasing responses to checkpoint inhibitors. Early results showing a restoration of checkpoint inhibitors response in patients following irradiation have generated a lot of enthusiasm around radiation therapy beyond its usual role in local disease control. Prospective clinical trials evaluating immunoradiotherapy combinations have provided proof-of-concept that radiation therapy may induce tumor-specific T immune responses in patients treated with checkpoint inhibitors. However, these results are not always reproducible, reflecting the existence of factors related to either radiation therapy, immunotherapy and/or the host, which influence the efficacy of these combinations. Anticancer chemotherapy can play a role in amplifying the immune-radiation response by promoting tumor immunogenicity and modulating the tumor microenvironment.
    Keywords:  Chemotherapy; Chimiothérapie; Immuno-radiothérapie; Immunoradiotherapy; Optimisation des combinaisons; Optimization of combinations
  27. Nano Today. 2023 Aug;pii: 101884. [Epub ahead of print]51
      The presence of immunosuppressive immune cells in tumors is a significant barrier to the generation of therapeutic immune responses. Similarly, in vivo triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) models often contain prevalent, immunosuppressive tumor-associated macrophages in the tumor microenvironment (TME), resulting in breast cancer initiation, invasion, and metastasis. Here, we test systemic chemoimmunotherapy using small-molecule agents, paclitaxel (PTX), and colony-stimulating factor 1 receptor (CSF1R) inhibitor, PLX3397, to enhance the adaptive T cell immunity against TNBCs in immunocompetent mouse TNBC models. We use high-capacity poly(2-oxazoline) (POx)-based polymeric micelles to greatly improve the solubility of insoluble PTX and PLX3397 and widen the therapeutic index of such drugs. The results demonstrate that high-dose PTX in POx, even as a single agent, exerts strong effects on TME and induces long-term immune memory. In addition, we demonstrate that the PTX and PLX3397 combination provides consistent therapeutic improvement across several TNBC models, resulting from the repolarization of the immunosuppressive TME and enhanced T cell immune response that suppress both the primary tumor growth and metastasis. Overall, the work emphasizes the benefit of drug reformulation and outlines potential translational path for both PTX and PTX with PLX3397 combination therapy using POx polymeric micelles for the treatment of TNBC.
    Keywords:  Chemoimmunotherapy; High-Dose therapy; Polymeric micelle; TNBC model
  28. ACS Nano. 2023 Jul 24.
      An immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment (TME) with inadequate and exhausted tumor-infiltrating cytotoxic lymphocytes and abundant cellular immunosuppressors is the major obstacle responsible for the poor efficacy of PD-1/PD-L1 (programmed cell death 1 and its ligand 1) immune checkpoint blockade (ICB) therapy. Herein, a Janus silica nanoparticle (JSNP)-based immunomodulator is explored to reshape the TME for boosting the therapeutic outcomes of αPD-L1 therapy. The designed JSNP has two distinct domains, namely, an ultra pH-responsive side (UPS), which could encapsulate PI3Kγ inhibitor IPI549 in the pore structure, and a polycation-grafted intra-glutathione (GSH)-sensitive side (IGS), which could absorb CXCL9 cDNA on the surface. The final IPI549@UPS-IGS-PDMAEMA@CXCL9 cDNA (IUIPC) could release IPI549 in weak acid TME to target myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) to reverse negative immunoregulation and then release CXCL9 cDNA in tumor cells with abundant GSH for sustained CXCL9 chemokine expression and secretion to improve cytotoxic lymphocyte recruitment signals, thereby jointly restoring tumor sensitivity to PD-1/PD-L1 ICB therapy. As expected, the IUIPC-mediated TME remodeling during αPD-L1 therapy significantly ameliorated TME immunosuppression, as well as induced potent systemic antitumor immune responses, which ultimately achieved a robustly boosted antitumor efficacy proven by remarkable suppression of primary tumor growth, obvious prevention of tumor recurrence, and significant regression of abscopal tumors. Hence, the IUIPC-mediated TME-regulating strategy provides an enormous perspective for the improvement of PD-1/PD-L1 ICB therapy.
    Keywords:  CXCL9 chemokine; PI3Kγ inhibitor; TME remodeling; immune checkpoint blockade therapy; nanoimmunomodulator
  29. J Liver Cancer. 2023 Jun 12.
      Background/Aim: Cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) play an immunosuppressive role in the tumor microenvironment (TME) of human cancers; however, their characteristics and role in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) remain to be elucidated.Methods: Nine tumor and surrounding liver tissue samples from patients with HCC who underwent surgery were used to isolate patient-derived CAFs. Cell morphology was observed using an optical microscope after culture, and cell phenotypes were evaluated using flow cytometry and immunoblotting. Cytokines secreted by CAFs into culture medium were quantified using a multiplex cytokine assay.
    Results: CAFs were abundant in the TME of HCC and were adjacent to immune cells. After culture, the CAFs and non-tumor fibroblasts exhibited spindle shapes. We observed a robust expression of alpha-smooth muscle actin and fibroblast activation protein in CAFs, whereas alpha-fetoprotein, epithelial cell adhesion molecule, platelet/endothelial cell adhesion molecule-1, and E-cadherin were not expressed in CAFs. Furthermore, CAFs showed high secretion of various cytokines, namely C-X-C motif chemokine ligand 12, interleukin (IL)-6, IL-8, and C-C motif chemokine ligand 2.
    Conclusions: CAFs are abundant in the TME of HCC and play a crucial role in tumor progression. These fibroblasts secrete cytokines that promote tumor growth and metastasis.
    Keywords:  Cancer-associated fibroblasts; Carcinoma, hepatocellular; Cytokines; Tumor microenvironment
  30. Cancer Sci. 2023 Jul 25.
      Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is a special pathological type of breast cancer (BC) with poor prognosis. Obesity is shown to be involved in TNBC tumor progression. The interaction between obesity and BC has generated great attention in recent years, however, the mechanism is still unclear. Here, we showed that leptin secreted by adipocytes upregulated PD-L1 expression in TNBC through the p-STAT3 signaling pathway and that baicalein inhibited PD-L1 expression in tumor microenvironment by suppressing leptin transcription of adipocytes. Collectively, our findings suggest that leptin may be the key factor participating in obesity-related tumor progression and that baicalein can break through the dilemma to boost the anti-tumor immune response.
    Keywords:  PD-L1; TNBC; adipocytes; baicalein; leptin
  31. Front Oncol. 2023 ;13 1240926
    Keywords:  antitumor immune response; immunosuppressive cells; immunotherapy; tumor evasion; tumor microenvironment
  32. Int J Cancer. 2023 Jul 27.
      Breast cancer is composed of metabolically coupled cellular compartments with upregulation of TP53 Induced Glycolysis and Apoptosis Regulator (TIGAR) in carcinoma cells and loss of caveolin 1 (CAV1) with upregulation of monocarboxylate transporter 4 (MCT4) in fibroblasts. The mechanisms that drive metabolic coupling are poorly characterized. The effects of TIGAR on fibroblast CAV1 and MCT4 expression and breast cancer aggressiveness was studied using coculture and conditioned media systems and in-vivo. Also, the role of cytokines in promoting tumor metabolic coupling via MCT4 on cancer aggressiveness was studied. TIGAR downregulation in breast carcinoma cells reduces tumor growth. TIGAR overexpression in carcinoma cells drives MCT4 expression and NFkB activation in fibroblasts. IL6 and TGFB drive TIGAR upregulation in carcinoma cells, reduce CAV1 and increase MCT4 expression in fibroblasts. Tumor growth is abrogated in the presence of MCT4 knockout fibroblasts and environment. We discovered coregulation of c-MYC and TIGAR in carcinoma cells driven by lactate. Metabolic coupling primes the tumor microenvironment allowing for production, uptake and utilization of lactate. In sum, aggressive breast cancer is dependent on metabolic coupling.
    Keywords:  TP53 induced glycolysis and apoptosis regulator; c-MYC; glycolysis; metabolic heterogeneity; mitochondrial metabolism; monocarboxylate transporter 4
  33. Breast Cancer Res. 2023 Jul 28. 25(1): 90
      The communication between tumor cells and tumor microenvironment plays a critical role in cancer development. Cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) are the major components of the tumor microenvironment and take part in breast cancer formation and progression. Here, by comparing the gene expression patterns in CAFs and normal fibroblasts, we found SPRY2 expression was significantly decreased in CAFs and decreased SPRY2 expression was correlated with worse prognosis in breast cancer patients. SPRY2 knockdown in fibroblasts promoted tumor growth and distant metastasis of breast cancer in mice. Loss of stromal SPRY2 expression promoted CAF activation dependent on glycolytic metabolism. Mechanically, SPRY2 suppressed Y10 phosphorylation of LDHA and LDHA activity by interfering with the interaction between LDHA and SRC. Functionally, SPRY2 knockdown in fibroblasts enhanced the stemness of tumor cell dependent on glycolysis in fibroblasts. Collectively, this work identified SPRY2 as a negative regulator of CAF activation, and SPRY2 in CAFs may potentially be therapeutically targeted in breast cancer treatment.
    Keywords:  Fibroblast; Glycolysis; LDHA; Microenvironment; Stemness
  34. Int Immunopharmacol. 2023 Jul 24. pii: S1567-5769(23)01010-X. [Epub ahead of print]123 110685
      The tumor microenvironment is a highly heterogeneous circumstance composed of multiple components, while tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) are major innate immune cells with highly plastic and are always educated by tumor cells to structure an advantageous pro-tumor immune microenvironment. Despite emerging evidence focalizing the role of autophagy in other immune cells, the regulatory mechanism of autophagy in macrophage polarization remains poorly understood. Herein, we demonstrated that hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells educated macrophages toward M2-like phenotype polarization under the condition of coculture. Moreover, we observed that inhibition of macrophage autophagy promoted M2-like macrophage polarization, while the tendency was impeded when autophagy was motivated. Mechanistically, macrophage autophagy inhibition inactivates the NF-κB pathway by increasing the instability of TAB3 via ubiquitination degradation, which leads to the M2-like phenotype polarization of macrophages. Both immunohistochemistry staining using human HCC tissues and experiment in vivo verified autophagy inhibition is correlated with M2 macrophage polarization. Altogether, we illustrated that macrophage autophagy was involved in the process of HCC cells domesticating M2 macrophage polarization via the NF-κB pathway. These results provide a new target to interfere with the polarization of macrophages to M2-like phenotype during HCC progression.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; Hepatocellular carcinoma; Macrophage polarization; NF-κB pathway; TAB3
  35. Biomedicines. 2023 Jul 24. pii: 2081. [Epub ahead of print]11(7):
      BACKGROUND: Hepatocellular carcinoma is the sixth most diagnosed malignancy and the fourth most common cause of cancer-related mortality globally. Despite progress in the treatment of liver cancer, nonsurgical treatments remain unsatisfactory, and only 15% of early-stage cases are surgically operable. Radiotherapy (RT) is a non-surgical treatment option for liver cancer when other traditional treatment methods are ineffective. However, RT has certain limitations, including eliciting poor therapeutic effects in patients with advanced and recurrent tumors. Tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) are major inflammatory cells in the tumor microenvironment that are key to tumor development, angiogenesis, invasion, and metastasis, and they play an essential role in RT responses.METHODS: We used big data analysis to determine the potential of targeting CXCL6/CXCR2. We enrolled 50 patients with liver cancer who received RT at our hospital. Tumor tissue samples were examined for any relationship between CXCL6/CXCR2 activity and patient prognosis. Using a cell coculture system (Transwell), we cocultured Huh7 liver cancer cells and THP-1 monocytes with and without CXCL6/CXCR2 small interfering RNA for 72 h.
    RESULTS: The overexpression of CXCL6/CXCR2 was highly correlated with mortality. Our tissue study indicated a positive correlation between CXCL6/CXCR2 and M2-TAMs subsets. The coculture study demonstrated that THP-1 monocytes can secrete CXCL6, which acts on the CXCR2 receptor on the surface of Huh7 cells and activates IFN-g/p38 MAPK/NF-κB signals to promote the epithelial-mesenchymal transition and radio-resistance.
    CONCLUSIONS: Modulating the TAM/CXCL6/CXCR2 tumor immune signaling axis may be a new treatment strategy for the effective eradication of radiotherapy-resistant hepatocellular carcinoma cells.
    Keywords:  hepatocellular carcinoma; tumor microenvironment; tumor-associated macrophages
  36. Cancer Immunol Immunother. 2023 Jul 28.
      The macrophage colony-stimulating factor 1 (CSF1) is a chemokine essential for the survival, proliferation, and differentiation of mononuclear phagocytes from hemopoietic stem cells. In addition to its essential physiological role in normal tissues, the CSF1/CSF1 receptor axis is known to be overexpressed in many tumor types and associated with poor prognosis. High levels of CSF1 within the tumor microenvironment have been shown to recruit and reeducate macrophages to produce factors that promote tumor invasiveness and accelerate metastasis. In this study, we demonstrate, for the first time, that treating established syngeneic murine colon and breast carcinoma tumors with a CSF1R-blocking antibody also promotes the expansion of neoepitope-specific T cells. To assess the role of tumor-derived CSF1 in these model systems, we generated and characterized CSF1 CRISPR-Cas9 knockouts. Eliminating tumor-derived CSF1 results in decreased tumor growth and enhanced immunity against tumor-associated neoepitopes, potentially promoting an immune permissive tumor microenvironment in tumor-bearing mice. The combination of neoepitope vaccine with anti-PDL1 in the MC38 CSF1-/- tumor model significantly decreased tumor growth in vivo. Moreover, anti-CSF1R therapy combined with the adeno-TWIST1 vaccine resulted in tumor control, decreased metastasis, and a synergistic increase in CD8 T cell infiltration in 4T1 mammary tumors. Analysis of the tumor microenvironment demonstrated greater CD8 T cell infiltration and a reduction in tumor-associated macrophages following CSF1R inhibition in both tumor models. Our findings thus add to the therapeutic potential of CSF1 targeting agents by employing combinations with vaccines to modulate anti-neoepitope responses in the tumor microenvironment.
    Keywords:  CSF1; CSF1R; Cancer vaccines; Epitope spreading; Tumor-associated macrophages
  37. Cancer Res. 2023 Jul 28. pii: CAN-22-3115. [Epub ahead of print]
      Immune checkpoints modulate the immune response and represent important immunotherapy targets for cancer treatment. However, as many tumors are resistant to current immune checkpoint inhibitors, the discovery of novel immune checkpoints could facilitate the development of additional immunotherapeutic strategies to improve patient responses. Here, we identified increased expression of the adhesion molecule immunoglobulin superfamily member 9 (IGSF9) in tumor cells and tumor-infiltrating immune cells across multiple cancer types. IGSF9 overexpression or knockout in tumor cells did not alter cell proliferation in vitro or tumor growth in immunocompromised mice. Alternatively, IGSF9 deficient tumor cells lost the ability to suppress T cell proliferation and exhibited reduced growth in immunocompetent mice. Similarly, growth of tumor cells was reduced in IGSF9 knockout syngeneic and humanized mice, accompanied by increased tumor-infiltrating T cells. Mechanistically, the extracellular domain (ECD) of IGSF9 bound to T cells and inhibited their proliferation and activation, and the tumor promoting effect of IGSF9 ECD was reversed by CD3+ T cell depletion. Anti-IGSF9 antibody treatment inhibited tumor growth and enhanced the anti-tumor efficacy of anti-PD-1 immunotherapy. Single-cell RNA sequencing revealed tumor microenvironment remodeling from tumor-promoting to tumor-suppressive following anti-IGSF9 treatment. Together, these results indicate that IGSF9 promotes tumor immune evasion and is a candidate immune checkpoint target.
  38. Front Oncol. 2023 ;13 1199105
      Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is one of the deadliest subtypes of breast cancer (BC) for its high aggressiveness, heterogeneity, and hypoxic nature. Based on biological and clinical observations the TNBC related mortality is very high worldwide. Emerging studies have clearly demonstrated that hypoxia regulates the critical metabolic, developmental, and survival pathways in TNBC, which include glycolysis and angiogenesis. Alterations to these pathways accelerate the cancer stem cells (CSCs) enrichment and immune escape, which further lead to tumor invasion, migration, and metastasis. Beside this, hypoxia also manipulates the epigenetic plasticity and DNA damage response (DDR) to syndicate TNBC survival and its progression. Hypoxia fundamentally creates the low oxygen condition responsible for the alteration in Hypoxia-Inducible Factor-1alpha (HIF-1α) signaling within the tumor microenvironment, allowing tumors to survive and making them resistant to various therapies. Therefore, there is an urgent need for society to establish target-based therapies that overcome the resistance and limitations of the current treatment plan for TNBC. In this review article, we have thoroughly discussed the plausible significance of HIF-1α as a target in various therapeutic regimens such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy, immunotherapy, anti-angiogenic therapy, adjuvant therapy photodynamic therapy, adoptive cell therapy, combination therapies, antibody drug conjugates and cancer vaccines. Further, we also reviewed here the intrinsic mechanism and existing issues in targeting HIF-1α while improvising the current therapeutic strategies. This review highlights and discusses the future perspectives and the major alternatives to overcome TNBC resistance by targeting hypoxia-induced signaling.
    Keywords:  DNA damage response; HIF-1; Hypoxia; TNBC; cancer vaccines; chemotherapy; immune escape; immunotherapy
  39. Front Immunol. 2023 ;14 1218082
      Cytokines are pivotal mediators of cell communication in the tumor microenvironment. Multiple cytokines are involved in the host antitumor response, but the production and function of these cytokines are usually dysregulated during malignant tumor progression. Considering their clinical potential and the early successful use of cytokines in cancer immunotherapy, such as interferon alpha-2b (IFNα-2b; IntronA®) and IL-2 (Proleukin®), cytokine-based therapeutics have been extensively evaluated in many follow-up clinical trials. Following these initial breakthroughs, however, clinical translation of these natural messenger molecules has been greatly limited owing to their high-degree pleiotropic features and complex biological properties in many cell types. These characteristics, coupled with poor pharmacokinetics (a short half-life), have hampered the delivery of cytokines via systemic administration, particularly because of severe dose-limiting toxicities. New engineering approaches have been developed to widen the therapeutic window, prolong pharmacokinetic effects, enhance tumor targeting and reduce adverse effects, thereby improving therapeutic efficacy. In this review, we focus on the recent progress and competitive landscape in cytokine engineering strategies and preclinical/clinical therapeutics for cancer. In addition, aiming to promote engineered cytokine-based cancer immunotherapy, we present a profound discussion about the feasibility of recently developed methods in clinical medicine translation.
    Keywords:  cancer immunotherapy; engineering cytokine; fusion protein; immunocytokine; polyethylene glycol; prodrug cytokine
  40. Cell Metab. 2023 Jul 21. pii: S1550-4131(23)00251-6. [Epub ahead of print]
      Metabolic reprogramming toward glycolysis is a hallmark of cancer malignancy. The molecular mechanisms by which the tumor glycolysis pathway promotes immune evasion remain to be elucidated. Here, by performing genome-wide CRISPR screens in murine tumor cells co-cultured with cytotoxic T cells (CTLs), we identified that deficiency of two important glycolysis enzymes, Glut1 (glucose transporter 1) and Gpi1 (glucose-6-phosphate isomerase 1), resulted in enhanced killing of tumor cells by CTLs. Mechanistically, Glut1 inactivation causes metabolic rewiring toward oxidative phosphorylation, which generates an excessive amount of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Accumulated ROS potentiate tumor cell death mediated by tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) in a caspase-8- and Fadd-dependent manner. Genetic and pharmacological inactivation of Glut1 sensitizes tumors to anti-tumor immunity and synergizes with anti-PD-1 therapy through the TNF-α pathway. The mechanistic interplay between tumor-intrinsic glycolysis and TNF-α-induced killing provides new therapeutic strategies to enhance anti-tumor immunity.
    Keywords:  T cell-mediated killing; TNF-α; glycolysis; immune evasion