bims-flamet Biomed News
on Cytokines and immunometabolism in metastasis
Issue of 2023‒10‒22
nineteen papers selected by
Peio Azcoaga, Biodonostia HRI

  1. Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2023 Oct 18. pii: S0958-1669(23)00118-0. [Epub ahead of print]84 103008
      Nucleotide metabolism plays a crucial role in the regulation of the tumor microenvironment (TME) and immune cell function. In the TME, limited availability of nucleotide precursors due to increased consumption by tumor cells and T cells affects both tumor development and immune function. Metabolic reprogramming in tumor cells favors pathways supporting growth and proliferation, including nucleotide synthesis. Additionally, extracellular nucleotides, such as ATP and adenosine, exhibit dual roles in modulating immune function and tumor cell survival. ATP stimulates antitumor immunity by activating purinergic receptors, while adenosine acts as a potent immunosuppressor. Targeting nucleotide metabolism in the TME holds immense promise for cancer therapy. Understanding the intricate relationship between nucleotide metabolism, the TME, and immune responses will pave the way for innovative therapeutic interventions.
  2. Pathol Res Pract. 2023 Oct 04. pii: S0344-0338(23)00547-2. [Epub ahead of print]251 154846
      The tumor microenvironment (TME) holds a crucial role in the progression of cancer. Epithelial-derived tumors share common traits in shaping the TME. The Warburg effect is a notable phenomenon wherein tumor cells exhibit resistance to apoptosis and an increased reliance on anaerobic glycolysis for energy production. Recognizing the pivotal role of the TME in controlling tumor growth and influencing responses to chemotherapy, researchers have focused on developing potential cancer treatment strategies. A wide array of therapies, including immunotherapies, antiangiogenic agents, interventions targeting cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAF), and therapies directed at the extracellular matrix, have been under investigation and have demonstrated efficacy. Additionally, innovative techniques such as tumor tissue explants, "tumor-on-a-chip" models, and multicellular tumor spheres have been explored in laboratory research. This comprehensive review aims to provide insights into the intricate cross-talk between cancer-associated signaling pathways and the TME in cancer progression, current therapeutic approaches targeting the TME, the immune landscape within solid tumors, the role of the viral TME, and cancer cell metabolism.
    Keywords:  Cancer cell metabolism; Solid tumors microenvironment; Targeting the tumor microenvironment; Tumor landscape; Tumor mechanics; Viral induced tumor microenvironment
  3. Stem Cell Rev Rep. 2023 Oct 20.
      Tumorigenic Cancer Stem Cells (CSCs), often called tumor-initiating cells (TICs), represent a unique subset of cells within the tumor milieu. They stand apart from the bulk of tumor cells due to their exceptional self-renewal, metastatic, and differentiation capabilities. Despite significant progress in classifying CSCs, these cells remain notably resilient to conventional radiotherapy and chemotherapy, contributing to cancer recurrence. In this review, our objective is to explore novel avenues of research that delve into the distinctive characteristics of CSCs within their surrounding tumor microenvironment (TME). We will start with an overview of the defining features of CSCs and then delve into their intricate interactions with cells from the lymphoid lineage, namely T cells, B cells, and natural killer (NK) cells. Furthermore, we will discuss their dynamic interplay with myeloid lineage cells, including macrophages, neutrophils, and myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs). Moreover, we will illuminate the crosstalk between CSCs and cells of mesenchymal origin, specifically fibroblasts, adipocytes, and endothelial cells. Subsequently, we will underscore the pivotal role of CSCs within the context of the tumor-associated extracellular matrix (ECM). Finally, we will highlight pre-clinical and clinical studies that target CSCs within the intricate landscape of the TME, including CAR-T therapy, oncolytic viruses, and CSC-vaccines, with the ultimate goal of uncovering novel avenues for CSC-based cancer immunotherapy.
    Keywords:  Cancer stem cells; Immunotherapy; Tumor microenvironment
  4. J Clin Invest. 2023 Oct 16. pii: e174319. [Epub ahead of print]133(20):
      Carcinogen exposure has been associated with enhanced cancer immunogenicity that is often attributed to neoantigen generation. However, the broader, neoantigen-independent impact of carcinogens on immune responses to cancer cells remains underexplored. In this issue of the JCI, Huang et al. uncover a mechanism wherein carcinogen-treated cancer cells exhibit an inability to establish an immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment (TME) due to reduced M-CSF expression. Intriguingly, the so-called carcinogen-induced tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) within this TME exhibited anti-tumor properties instead of the conventional immunosuppressive phenotype. This phenomenon extended to human lung cancers, as evidenced by TAM reprogramming in smokers versus nonsmokers. This study substantially advances our understanding of carcinogen-mediated effects on cancer immunogenicity, potentially redirecting approaches to cancer immunotherapy.
  5. Eur J Pharmacol. 2023 Oct 16. pii: S0014-2999(23)00615-5. [Epub ahead of print] 176103
      The mast cell is an important cellular component that plays a crucial role in the crosstalk between innate and adaptive immune responses within the tumor microenvironment (TME). Recently, numerous studies have indicated that mast cells related to tumors play a dual role in regulating cancers, with conflicting results seemingly determined by the degranulation medium. As such, mast cells are an ignored but very promising potential target for cancer immunotherapy based on their immunomodulatory function. In this review, we present a comprehensive overview of the roles and mechanisms of mast cells in diverse cancer types. Firstly, we evaluated the infiltration density and location of mast cells on tumor progression. Secondly, mast cells are activated by the TME and subsequently release a range of inflammatory mediators, cytokines, chemokines, and lipid products that modulate their pro-or anti-tumor functions. Thirdly, activated mast cells engage in intercellular communication with other immune or stromal cells to modulate the immune status or promote tumor development. Finally, we deliberated on the clinical significance of targeting mast cells as a therapeutic approach to restrict tumor initiation and progression. Overall, our review aims to provide insights for future research on the role of mast cells in tumors and their potential as therapeutic targets for cancer treatment.
    Keywords:  Cancers; Degranulation; Immunomodulatory; Mast cells; Tumor microenvironment crosstalk
  6. Cell Rep Med. 2023 Oct 17. pii: S2666-3791(23)00414-7. [Epub ahead of print]4(10): 101237
      In their article, Cheng et al.1 reveal that NEK2 loss reshapes the tumor microenvironment, reducing tumor-associated macrophages and decreasing T cell exhaustion. They show that this ultimately favors the immune system's anti-cancer response in multiple myeloma.
  7. Int Immunol. 2023 Oct 14. pii: dxad035. [Epub ahead of print]
      Cancer cells employ glycolysis for their survival and growth (the 'Warburg effect'). Consequently, surrounding cells including immune cells in the tumor microenvironment (TME) are exposed to hypoglycemic, hypoxic, and low pH circumstances. Since effector T cells depend on the glycolysis for their survival and functions, the metabolically harsh TME established by cancer cells is unfavorable, resulting in the impairment of effective antitumor immune responses. By contrast, immunosuppressive cells such as regulatory T (Treg) cells can infiltrate, proliferate, survive, and exert immunosuppressive functions in the metabolically harsh TME, indicating the different metabolic dependance between effector T cells and Treg cells. Indeed, some metabolites that are harmful for effector T cells can be utilized by Treg cells; lactic acid, a harmful metabolite for effector T cells, is available for Treg cell proliferation and functions. Deficiency of amino acids such as tryptophan and glutamine in the TME impairs effector T cell activation but increases Treg cell populations. Furthermore, hypoxia upregulates fatty acid oxidation via hypoxia-inducible factor 1α (HIF-1α) and promotes Treg cell migration. Adenosine is induced by the ectonucleotidases CD39 and CD73, which are strongly induced by HIF-1α, and reportedly accelerates Treg cell development by upregulating Foxp3 expression in T cells via A2AR-mediated signals. Therefore, this review focuses on the current views of the unique metabolism of Treg cells dictated by cancer cells. In addition, potential cancer combination therapies with immunotherapy and metabolic molecularly targeted reagents that modulate Treg cells in the TME are discussed to develop 'immune metabolism-based precision medicine'.
    Keywords:  metabolism; regulatory T cell
  8. Cancer Med. 2023 Oct 20.
      BACKGROUND: Gastrointestinal cancer poses a serious health threat owing to its high morbidity and mortality. Although immune checkpoint blockade (ICB) therapies have achieved meaningful success in most solid tumors, the improvement in survival in gastrointestinal cancers is modest, owing to sparse immune response and widespread resistance. Metabolic reprogramming, autophagy, and ferroptosis are key regulators of tumor progression.METHODS: A literature review was conducted to investigate the role of the metabolic reprogramming, autophagy, and ferroptosis in immunotherapy resistance of gastrointestinal cancer.
    RESULTS: Metabolic reprogramming, autophagy, and ferroptosis play pivotal roles in regulating the survival, differentiation, and function of immune cells within the tumor microenvironment. These processes redefine the nutrient allocation blueprint between cancer cells and immune cells, facilitating tumor immune evasion, which critically impacts the therapeutic efficacy of immunotherapy for gastrointestinal cancers. Additionally, there exists profound crosstalk among metabolic reprogramming, autophagy, and ferroptosis. These interactions are paramount in anti-tumor immunity, further promoting the formation of an immunosuppressive microenvironment and resistance to immunotherapy.
    CONCLUSIONS: Consequently, it is imperative to conduct comprehensive research on the roles of metabolic reprogramming, autophagy, and ferroptosis in the resistance of gastrointestinal tumor immunotherapy. This understanding will illuminate the clinical potential of targeting these pathways and their regulatory mechanisms to overcome immunotherapy resistance in gastrointestinal cancers.
    Keywords:  autophagy; ferroptosis; gastrointestinal cancer; immunotherapy resistance; metabolic reprogramming
  9. Front Immunol. 2023 ;14 1267866
      Tumor development and progression is shaped by the tumor microenvironment (TME), a heterogeneous assembly of infiltrating and resident host cells, their secreted mediators and intercellular matrix. In this context, tumors are infiltrated by various immune cells with either pro-tumoral or anti-tumoral functions. Recently, we published our non-invasive immunization platform DIVA suitable as a therapeutic vaccination method, further optimized by repeated application (DIVA2). In our present work, we revealed the therapeutic effect of DIVA2 in an MC38 tumor model and specifically focused on the mechanisms induced in the TME after immunization. DIVA2 resulted in transient tumor control followed by an immune evasion phase within three weeks after the initial tumor inoculation. High-dimensional flow cytometry analysis and single-cell mRNA-sequencing of tumor-infiltrating leukocytes revealed cytotoxic CD8+ T cells as key players in the immune control phase. In the immune evasion phase, inflammatory CCR2+ PDL-1+ monocytes with immunosuppressive properties were recruited into the tumor leading to suppression of DIVA2-induced tumor-reactive T cells. Depletion of CCR2+ cells with specific antibodies resulted in prolonged survival revealing CCR2+ monocytes as important for tumor immune escape in the TME. In summary, the present work provides a platform for generating a strong antigen-specific primary and memory T cell immune response using the optimized transcutaneous immunization method DIVA2. This enables protection against tumors by therapeutic immune control of solid tumors and highlights the immunosuppressive influence of tumor infiltrating CCR2+ monocytes that need to be inactivated in addition for successful cancer immunotherapy.
    Keywords:  CCR2 monocytes +; cancer immunotherapy; immune evasion; transcutaneous immunization; tumor micro environment (TME)
  10. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2023 ;11 1266537
      Successful clinical methods for tumor elimination include a combination of surgical resection, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy. Radiotherapy is one of the crucial components of the cancer treatment regimens which allow to extend patient life expectancy. Current cutting-edge radiotherapy research is focused on the identification of methods that should increase cancer cell sensitivity to radiation and activate anti-cancer immunity mechanisms. Radiation treatment activates various cells of the tumor microenvironment (TME) and impacts tumor growth, angiogenesis, and anti-cancer immunity. Radiotherapy was shown to regulate signaling and anti-cancer functions of various TME immune and vasculature cell components, including tumor-associated macrophages, dendritic cells, endothelial cells, cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs), natural killers, and other T cell subsets. Dual effects of radiation, including metastasis-promoting effects and activation of oxidative stress, have been detected, suggesting that radiotherapy triggers heterogeneous targets. In this review, we critically discuss the activation of TME and angiogenesis during radiotherapy which is used to strengthen the effects of novel immunotherapy. Intracellular, genetic, and epigenetic mechanisms of signaling and clinical manipulations of immune responses and oxidative stress by radiotherapy are accented. Current findings indicate that radiotherapy should be considered as a supporting instrument for immunotherapy to limit the cancer-promoting effects of TME. To increase cancer-free survival rates, it is recommended to combine personalized radiation therapy methods with TME-targeting drugs, including immune checkpoint inhibitors.
    Keywords:  angiogenesis; anti-cancer immunity; cancer-associated fibroblasts; drug resistance; exosome; radiotherapy; tumor microenvironment
  11. Cell Biol Toxicol. 2023 Oct 19.
      BACKGROUND: Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T-cell therapy is a revolutionary treatment that has become a mainstay of advanced cancer treatment. Conventional glypican-3 (GPC3)-CAR-T cells have not produced ideal clinical outcomes in advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), and the mechanism is unclear. This study aims to investigate the clinical utility of novel GPC3-7-19-CAR-T cells constructed by our team and to explore the mechanisms underlying their antitumor effects.METHODS: We engineered a novel GPC3-targeting CAR including an anti-GPC3 scFv, CD3ζ, CD28 and 4-1BB that induces co-expression of IL-7 at a moderate level (500 pg/mL) and CCL19 at a high level (15000 pg /mL) and transduced it into human T cells. In vitro, cell killing efficacy was validated by the xCELLigence RTCA system, LDH nonradioactive cytotoxicity assay and was confirmed in primary HCC organoid models employing a 3D microfluid chip. In vivo, the antitumor capacity was assessed in a humanized NSG mouse xenograft model. Finally, we initiated a phase I clinical trial to evaluate the safety and effect of GPC3-7-19-CAR-T cells in the clinic.
    RESULTS: GPC3-7-19-CAR-T cells had 1.5-2 times higher killing efficiency than GPC3-CAR-T cells. The tumor formation rates in GPC3-7-19-CAR-T cells treated model were reduced (3/5vs.5/5), and the average tumor volumes were 0.74 cm3 ± 1.17 vs. 0.34 cm3 ± 0.25. Of note, increased proportion of CD4+ TEM and CD8+ TCM cells was infiltrated in GPC3-7-19-CAR-T cells group. GPC3-7-19-CAR-T cells obviously reversed the immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment (TME) by reducing polymorphonuclear (PMN)-myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) and regulatory T (Treg) cells infiltration and recruiting more dendritic cells (DCs) to HCC xenograft tumor tissues. In one patient with advanced HCC, GPC3-7-19-CAR-T-cell treatment resulted in tumor reduction 56 days after intravenous infusion.
    CONCLUSIONS: In conclusion, GPC3-7-19-CAR-T cells achieved antitumor effects superior to those of conventional GPC3-CAR-T cells by reconstructing the TME induced by the dominant CD4+ TEM and CD8+ TCM cell subsets. Most importantly, GPC3-7-19-CAR-T cells exhibited good safety and antitumor efficacy in HCC patients in the clinic. ► Novel GPC3-7-19-CAR-T cells designed with mediate level of IL-7 secretion and high level of CCL19 secretion, which could recruit more mature DCs to assist killing on GPC3+HCCs. ►DC cells recruited by CCL19 could interact with CD4+ T cells and promote the differentiation of CD4+TEFF cells into CD4+TEM and CD8+TCM subsets, leading a better anti-tumor effect on GPC3+HCCs. ►Compared with conventional GPC3-CAR-T, GPC3-7-CCL19-CAR-T cells could reverse tumor immunosuppressive microenvironment by reducing PMN-MDSC and Treg cell infiltration.
    Keywords:  Chemokines; Chimeric antigen receptor; Cytokines; Glypican-3; Hepatocellular carcinoma
  12. Cytokine Growth Factor Rev. 2023 Oct 06. pii: S1359-6101(23)00076-X. [Epub ahead of print]
      Uterine fibroids (UF), also called uterine leiomyoma, is one of the most prevalent uterine tumors. UF represents a serious women's health global problem with a significant physical, emotional, and socioeconomic impact. Risk factors for UF include racial disparities, age, race, hormonal factors, obesity, and lifestyle (diet, physical activity, and stress. There are several biological contributors to UF pathogenesis such as cellular proliferation, angiogenesis, and extracellular matrix (ECM) accumulation. This review addresses tumor immune microenvironment as a novel mediator of ECM deposition. Polarization of immune microenvironment towards the immunosuppressive phenotype has been associated with ECM deposition. Immunosuppressive cells include M2 macrophage, myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs), and Th17 cells, and their secretomes include interleukin 4 (IL-4), IL-10, IL-13, IL-17, IL-22, arginase 1, and transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β1). The change in the immune microenvironment not only increase tumor growth but also aids in collagen synthesis and ECM disposition, which is one of the main hallmarks of UF pathogenesis. This review invites further investigations on the change in the UF immune microenvironment as well as a novel targeting approach instead of the traditional UF hormonal and supportive treatment.
    Keywords:  ECM; M2 Macrophage; MDSCs; TH17; Uterine Fibroids
  13. J Clin Invest. 2023 Oct 16. pii: e166494. [Epub ahead of print]133(20):
      Carcinogen exposure is strongly associated with enhanced cancer immunogenicity. Increased tumor mutational burden and resulting neoantigen generation have been proposed to link carcinogen exposure and cancer immunogenicity. However, the neoantigen-independent immunological impact of carcinogen exposure on cancer is unknown. Here, we demonstrate that chemical carcinogen-exposed cancer cells fail to establish an immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment (TME), resulting in their T cell-mediated rejection in vivo. A chemical carcinogen-treated breast cancer cell clone that lacked any additional coding region mutations (i.e., neoantigen) was rejected in mice in a T cell-dependent manner. Strikingly, the coinjection of carcinogen- and control-treated cancer cells prevented this rejection, suggesting that the loss of immunosuppressive TME was the dominant cause of rejection. Reduced M-CSF expression by carcinogen-treated cancer cells significantly suppressed tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) and resulted in the loss of an immunosuppressive TME. Single-cell analysis of human lung cancers revealed a significant reduction in the immunosuppressive TAMs in former smokers compared with individuals who had never smoked. These findings demonstrate that carcinogen exposure impairs the development of an immunosuppressive TME and indicate a novel link between carcinogens and cancer immunogenicity.
    Keywords:  Cancer immunotherapy; Innate immunity; Macrophages; Oncology
  14. J Leukoc Biol. 2023 Oct 14. pii: qiad129. [Epub ahead of print]
      Unconventional T cells (UCTs) represent a promising therapeutic agent to overcome the current limitations of immunotherapies due to their universal T-cell receptors (TCRs), ability to respond directly to cytokine stimulation, and capacity to recruit and modulate conventional immune cells in the tumor microenvironment (TME). Like conventional T-cells, UCTs can enter a dysfunctional state and the functional differences associated with this state may provide insight into the discrepancies observed in their role in anti-tumor immunity in various cancers. The exhaustive signature of UCTs differs from conventional αβ T-cells and understanding the differences in the mechanisms underlying exhaustive differentiation in these cell types may aid in the discovery of new treatments to improve sustained anti-tumor responses. Ongoing clinical trials investigating therapies that leverage UCT populations have shown success in treating hematologic malignancies and reducing the immunosuppressive tumor environment. However, several hurdles remain to extend these promising results into solid tumors. Here we discuss the current knowledge on UCT function/dysfunction and consider how the incorporation of therapies that modulate UCT exhaustion may aid in overcoming the current limitations of immunotherapy. Additionally, we discuss how components of the TME alter the functions of UCTs and how these changes can affect tumor infiltration by lymphocytes and alter conventional T-cell responses.
    Keywords:  Unconventional T cells; cancer; dysfunction; exhaustion; immunotherapy
  15. Discov Oncol. 2023 Oct 19. 14(1): 185
      Myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs), major components maintaining the immune suppressive microenvironment in lung cancer, are relevant to the invasion, metastasis, and poor prognosis of lung cancer, through the regulation of epithelial-mesenchymal transition, remodeling of the immune microenvironment, and regulation of angiogenesis. MDSCs regulate T-cell immune functions by maintaining a strong immunosuppressive microenvironment and promoting tumor invasion. This raises the question of whether reversing the immunosuppressive effect of MDSCs on T cells can improve lung cancer treatment. To understand this further, this review explores the interactions and specific mechanisms of different MDSCs subsets, including regulatory T cells, T helper cells, CD8 + T cells, natural killer T cells, and exhausted T cells, as part of the lung cancer immune microenvironment. Second, it focuses on the guiding significance confirmed via clinical liquid biopsy and tissue biopsy that different MDSC subsets improve the prognosis of lung cancer. Finally, we conclude that targeting MDSCs through action targets or signaling pathways can help regulate T-cell immune functions and suppress T-cell exhaustion. In addition, immune checkpoint inhibitors targeting MDSCs may serve as a new approach for enhancing the efficiency of immunotherapy and targeted therapy for lung cancer in the future, providing better comprehensive options for lung cancer treatment.
    Keywords:  Immune checkpoint inhibitors; Immunity regulation; Lung cancer; Myeloid- derived suppressor cells; T cells
  16. Mol Cancer. 2023 Oct 18. 22(1): 171
      Cancer stem-like cells (CSCs), a subpopulation of cancer cells, possess remarkable capability in proliferation, self-renewal, and differentiation. Their presence is recognized as a crucial factor contributing to tumor progression and metastasis. CSCs have garnered significant attention as a therapeutic focus and an etiologic root of treatment-resistant cells. Increasing evidence indicated that specific biomarkers, aberrant activated pathways, immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment (TME), and immunoevasion are considered the culprits in the occurrence of CSCs and the maintenance of CSCs properties including multi-directional differentiation. Targeting CSC biomarkers, stemness-associated pathways, TME, immunoevasion and inducing CSCs differentiation improve CSCs eradication and, therefore, cancer treatment. This review comprehensively summarized these targeted therapies, along with their current status in clinical trials. By exploring and implementing strategies aimed at eradicating CSCs, researchers aim to improve cancer treatment outcomes and overcome the challenges posed by CSC-mediated therapy resistance.
    Keywords:  Cancer stem cells; Immune evasion; Targeted therapies; Tumor microenvironment
  17. Eur J Med Chem. 2023 Oct 13. pii: S0223-5234(23)00844-9. [Epub ahead of print]261 115877
      Large amounts of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a natural P2X7 receptor activator, are released during colorectal carcinogenesis. P2X7 receptor activation regulates the activity of colorectal cancer (CRC) cells by mediating intracellular signal transduction. Importantly, the opening and activation of membrane pores of P2X7 receptor are different, which can play a dual role in promoting or inhibiting the progression of CRC. These can also depend on P2X7 receptor to regulate the activities of immune cells in the microenvironment, play the functions of immune regulation, immune escape and immune monitoring. While the use of P2X7 receptor antagonists (such as BBG, A438079 and A740003) can play a certain inhibitory pharmacological role on the activity of CRC. Therefore, in this paper, the mechanism and immunomodulatory function of P2X7 receptor involved in the progression of CRC were discussed. Moreover, we discussed the effect of antagonizing the activity of P2X7 receptor on the progression of CRC. So P2X7 receptor may be a new pharmacological molecular target for the treatment of CRC.
    Keywords:  Antagonists; Colorectal cancer (CRC); Immune escape; P2X7 receptor; Tumor microenvironment
  18. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2023 ;11 1255697
      Multipotent mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are widely accepted as a useful tool for cell-based therapy of various diseases including malignancies. The therapeutic effects of MSCs are mainly attributed to their immunomodulatory and immunosuppressive properties. Despite the promising outcomes of MSCs in cancer therapy, a growing body of evidence implies that MSCs also show tumorigenic properties in the tumor microenvironment (TME), which might lead to tumor induction and progression. Owing to the broad-spectrum applications of MSCs, this challenge needs to be tackled so that they can be safely utilized in clinical practice. Herein, we review the diverse activities of MSCs in TME and highlight the potential methods to convert their protumorigenic characteristics into onco-suppressive effects.
    Keywords:  cell-and tissue-based therapy; mesenchymal stem cell (MSC); neoplasm; stem cell transplantation; tumor microenvironment (TME)
  19. Biomed Pharmacother. 2023 Oct 14. pii: S0753-3322(23)01489-0. [Epub ahead of print]168 115691
      Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapy targeting B cell maturation antigen (BCMA) has been approved for treating multiple myeloma (MM). Some clinical studies reported suboptimal outcomes, including reduced cytotoxicity of CAR-T cells and tumor evasion through increased expression of programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1). To enhance CAR-T cell efficiency and overcome PD-L1-mediated T cell suppression, we developed anti-BCMA-CAR5-T cells equipped with three costimulatory domains and the ability to secrete anti-PD-L1 single-chain variable fragment (scFv) blockade molecules. Anti-BCMA-CAR4-T cells contained a fully human anti-BCMA scFv and three intracellular domains (CD28, 4-1BB, and CD27) joined with CD3ζ. Anti-BCMA-CAR5-T cells were generated by fusing anti-BCMA-CAR4 with anti-PD-L1 scFv. Both anti-BCMA-CAR4-T and anti-BCMA-CAR5-T cells demonstrated comparable antitumor activity against parental MM cells. However, at an effector-to-target ratio of 1:2, only anti-BCMA-CAR5-T cells maintained cytolytic activity against PD-L1 high MM cells, unlike anti-BCMA-CAR4 T cells. Anti-BCMA-CAR5-T cells were specifically activated by BCMA-expressing target cells, resulting in increased CAR-T cell proliferation, release of cytolytic mediators, and pro-inflammatory cytokines. Anti-BCMA-CAR5-T cells demonstrated specific cytotoxicity against BCMA-expressing target cells, leading to decreased target cell numbers, increased CAR-T cell numbers, and preserved CAR expression during antigenic re-stimulation. Interestingly, only anti-BCMA-CAR5-T cells showed reduced PD-1 receptor levels, which correlated with decreased PD-L1 expression on target cells. We successfully generated anti-BCMA-CAR5-T cells capable of secreting anti-PD-L1 scFv. These cells exhibited superior antitumor efficiency, proliferative capacity, and alleviated T-cell exhaustion against MM cells. Further investigation into the antitumor efficacy of anti-BCMA-CAR5-T cells is warranted in ex vivo and clinical research settings.
    Keywords:  Anti-PD-L1 scFv; BCMA; CAR; Chimeric antigen receptor; Immune checkpoint blockade; Multiple myeloma