bims-flamet Biomed News
on Cytokines and immunometabolism in metastasis
Issue of 2023‒10‒29
33 papers selected by
Peio Azcoaga, Biodonostia HRI

  1. Xi Bao Yu Fen Zi Mian Yi Xue Za Zhi. 2023 Oct;39(10): 940-945
      Colorectal cancer is a common malignant tumor in gastrointestinal tract. Its onset and development are associated with its own characteristics as well as the tumor microenvironment (TME) in which tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) are the most abundant immune cells. After being recruited to the tumor site and stimulated by different signals in TME, TAMs can grow into two different subtypes, namely M1 and M2. TAMs are mainly manifested as M1 macrophages in the early stage of colorectal cancer, mediating the immune response to inhibit tumor growth. In the late stage, TAMs mainly grow into M2 macrophages, showing the ability to suppress immunity, stimulate the proliferation of tumor cells and tumor angiogenesis, and promote the invasion and metastasis of tumor cells. It has been found that intervention in TAMs polarization can regulate its relationship with the onset and development of colorectal cancer.
  2. World J Oncol. 2023 Oct;14(5): 350-357
      The utilization of radiotherapy (RT) serves as the principal approach for managing nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC). Consequently, it is imperative to investigate the correlation between the radiation microenvironment and radiation resistance in NPC. PubMed and China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI) databases were accessed to perform a search utilizing the English keywords "nasopharyngeal cancer", "radiotherapy", and "microenvironment". The search time spanned from the establishment of the database until January 20, 2023. A total of 82 articles were included. The post-radiation tumor microenvironment (TME), or the radiation microenvironment, includes several components, such as the radiation-immune microenvironment and the radiation-hypoxic microenvironment. The radiation-immune microenvironment includes various factors like immune cells, signaling molecules, and extracellular matrix. RT can reshape the TME, leading to immune responses with both cytotoxic effects (T cells, B cells, natural killer (NK) cells) and immune escape mechanisms (regulatory T cells (Tregs), macrophages). RT enhances immune responses through DNA release, type I interferons, and immune cell recruitment. Radiation-hypoxic microenvironment affects metabolism and molecular changes. RT-induced hypoxia causes vascular changes, fibrosis, and vessel compression, leading to tissue hypoxia. Hypoxia activates hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-1α/2α, promoting angiogenesis and glycolysis in tumor cells. TME changes due to hypoxia also involve immune suppressive cells like myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs), tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs), and Tregs. The radiation microenvironment is involved in radiation resistance and holds a significant effect on the prognosis of patients with NPC. Exploring the radiation microenvironment provides new insights into RT and NPC research.
    Keywords:  Immune microenvironment; Nasopharyngeal carcinoma; Radiation hypoxia microenvironment; Radiation microenvironment
  3. Acta Biochim Biophys Sin (Shanghai). 2023 Oct 23.
      Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the leading fatal malignancy worldwide. The tumor microenvironment (TME) can affect the survival, proliferation, migration, and even dormancy of cancer cells. Hypoxia is an important component of the TME, and hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α) is the most important transcriptional regulator. Noncoding RNAs (ncRNAs), including microRNAs (miRNAs), long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs), and circular RNAs (circRNAs), comprise a large part of the human transcriptome and play an important role in regulating the tumorigenesis of HCC. This review discusses the role of ncRNAs in hepatocarcinogenesis, epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), and angiogenesis in a hypoxic microenvironment, as well as the interactions between ncRNAs and key components of the TME. It further discusses their use as biomarkers and the potential clinical value of drugs, as well as the challenges faced in the future.
    Keywords:  HIF-1α; hepatocellular carcinoma; noncoding RNAs; tumor microenvironment.
  4. Pharmaceuticals (Basel). 2023 Oct 04. pii: 1411. [Epub ahead of print]16(10):
      Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is one of the deadliest tumors, characterized by its aggressive tumor biology and poor prognosis. While immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) play a major part in the treatment algorithm of various solid tumors, there is still no evidence of clinical benefit from ICI in patients with metastatic PDAC (mPDAC). This might be due to several reasons, such as the inherent low immunogenicity of pancreatic cancer, the dense stroma-rich tumor microenvironment that precludes an efficient migration of antitumoral effector T cells to the cancer cells, and the increased proportion of immunosuppressive immune cells, such as regulatory T cells (Tregs), cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs), and myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs), facilitating tumor growth and invasion. In this review, we provide an overview of the current state of ICIs in mPDAC, report on the biological rationale to implement ICIs into the treatment strategy of pancreatic cancer, and discuss preclinical studies and clinical trials in this field. Additionally, we shed light on the challenges of implementing ICIs into the treatment strategy of PDAC and discuss potential future directions.
    Keywords:  immune checkpoint inhibitors; metastatic; pancreatic cancer
  5. Biomedicines. 2023 Sep 24. pii: 2621. [Epub ahead of print]11(10):
      Conventional and cancer immunotherapies encompass diverse strategies to address various cancer types and stages. However, combining these approaches often encounters limitations such as non-specific targeting, resistance development, and high toxicity, leading to suboptimal outcomes in many cancers. The tumor microenvironment (TME) is orchestrated by intricate interactions between immune and non-immune cells dictating tumor progression. An innovative avenue in cancer therapy involves leveraging small molecules to influence a spectrum of resistant cell populations within the TME. Recent discoveries have unveiled a phenotypically diverse cohort of innate-like T (ILT) cells and tumor hybrid cells (HCs) exhibiting novel characteristics, including augmented proliferation, migration, resistance to exhaustion, evasion of immunosurveillance, reduced apoptosis, drug resistance, and heightened metastasis frequency. Leveraging small-molecule immunomodulators to target these immune players presents an exciting frontier in developing novel tumor immunotherapies. Moreover, combining small molecule modulators with immunotherapy can synergistically enhance the inhibitory impact on tumor progression by empowering the immune system to meticulously fine-tune responses within the TME, bolstering its capacity to recognize and eliminate cancer cells. This review outlines strategies involving small molecules that modify immune cells within the TME, potentially revolutionizing therapeutic interventions and enhancing the anti-tumor response.
    Keywords:  hybrid cells; immunotherapy; innate-like cells; killer innate-like T cells; myeloid-derived suppressor cells; regulatory T cells; small-molecules; tissue-resident memory T cells; tumor microenvironment
  6. Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2023 Oct 19. pii: S0958-1669(23)00121-0. [Epub ahead of print]84 103011
      Proline is a nonessential amino acid, and its metabolism has been implicated in numerous malignancies. Together with a direct role in regulating cancer cells' proliferation and survival, proline metabolism plays active roles in shaping the tumor microenvironment (TME). Cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) display high rates of proline biosynthesis to support the production of collagen for the extracellular matrix (ECM). Indeed, impaired proline metabolism in CAFs results in reduced collagen deposition and compromises the growth and metastatic spread of cancer. Moreover, the rate of proline metabolism regulates intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels, which influence the production and release of cytokines from cancer cells, contributing toward an immune-permissive TME. Hence, targeting proline metabolism is a promising anticancer strategy that could improve patients' outcome and response to immunotherapy.
  7. Mol Ther Oncolytics. 2023 Dec 19. 31 100733
      CRISPR screen technology enables systematic and scalable interrogation of gene function by using the CRISPR-Cas9 system to perturb gene expression. In the field of cancer immunotherapy, this technology has empowered the discovery of genes, biomarkers, and pathways that regulate tumor development and progression, immune reactivity, and the effectiveness of immunotherapeutic interventions. By conducting large-scale genetic screens, researchers have successfully identified novel targets to impede tumor growth, enhance anti-tumor immune responses, and surmount immunosuppression within the tumor microenvironment (TME). Here, we present an overview of CRISPR screens conducted in tumor cells for the purpose of identifying novel therapeutic targets. We also explore the application of CRISPR screens in immune cells to propel the advancement of cell-based therapies, encompassing T cells, natural killer cells, dendritic cells, and macrophages. Furthermore, we outline the crucial components necessary for the successful implementation of immune-specific CRISPR screens and explore potential directions for future research.
    Keywords:  NK cells; T cells; cancer immunotherapy; chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-engineered T (CAR-T) cells; clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) screen; gene discovery; genetic engineering; tumor immunology
  8. Front Immunol. 2023 ;14 1274379
      The heterogeneity of the tumor microenvironment (TME) is a major obstacle in cancer treatment, making most therapeutic interventions palliative rather than curative. Previous studies have suggested that the reason for the low efficacy of immunotherapy and the relapse of the original responders over time may be due to the complex network of mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (MSCs), a population of multipotent progenitor cells existing in a variety of tissues. Cancer-associated MSCs (CA-MSCs) have already been isolated from various types of tumors and are characterized by their vigorous pro-tumorigenic functions. Although the roles of CA-MSCs from different sources vary widely, their origins are still poorly understood. Current evidence suggests that when local resident or distally recruited MSCs interact with tumor cells and other components in the TME, "naïve" MSCs undergo genetic and functional changes to form CA-MSCs. In this review, we mainly focus on the multiple roles of CA-MSCs derived from different sources, which may help in elucidating the formation and function of the entire TME, as well as discover innovative targets for anti-cancer therapies.
    Keywords:  cancer-associated mesenchymal stem/stromal cells; heterogeneity; immune cells; stemness; tumor microenvironment
  9. Biomedicines. 2023 Oct 05. pii: 2703. [Epub ahead of print]11(10):
      GCN2 is one of the main sensors of amino acid starvation stress, and its activation in the stressful tumor microenvironment plays a crucial role in tumor survival and progression. We hypothesized that elevated polyamine biosynthesis and subsequent depletion of precursor arginine activates GCN2, thus rewiring metabolism to support tumor cell survival and drive myeloid immunosuppressive function. We sought to determine if the anti-tumor efficacy of a polyamine blocking therapy (PBT) may be mediated by its effect on GCN2. Unlike wild-type mice, PBT treatment in GCN2 knockout mice bearing syngeneic B16.F10 or EG7 tumors resulted in no tumor growth inhibition and no changes in the profile of infiltrating tumor immune cells. Studies with murine bone marrow cell cultures showed that increased polyamine metabolism and subsequent arginine depletion and GCN2 activation played an essential role in the generation and cytoprotective autophagy of myeloid derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) as well as the M2 polarization and survival of macrophages, all of which were inhibited by PBT. In all, our data suggest that polyamine-dependent GCN2 signaling in stromal cells promotes tumor growth and the development of the immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment, and that the PBT anti-tumor effect is mediated, at least in part, by targeting GCN2.
    Keywords:  GCN2; macrophages; myeloid derived suppressor cells; polyamine blocking therapy; transport inhibitor; α-difluoromethylornithine
  10. Genes (Basel). 2023 Oct 17. pii: 1953. [Epub ahead of print]14(10):
      Metabolism and the immunological state are intimately intertwined, as defense responses are bioenergetically expensive. Metabolic homeostasis is a key requirement for the proper function of immune cell subsets, and the perturbation of the immune-metabolic balance is a recurrent event in many human diseases, including cancer, due to nutrient fluctuation, hypoxia and additional metabolic changes occurring in the tumor microenvironment (TME). Although much remains to be understood in the field of immunometabolism, here, we report the current knowledge on both physiological and cancer-associated metabolic profiles of immune cells, and the main molecular circuits involved in their regulation, highlighting similarities and differences, and emphasizing immune metabolic liabilities that could be exploited in cancer therapy to overcome immune resistance.
    Keywords:  AMPK; NF-κB; PI3K/Akt/mTOR; cancer; immunometabolism; immunosuppressive TME
  11. Oncogene. 2023 Oct 26.
    TOR Centre
      Tumor hypoxia resulting from abnormal and dysfunctional tumor vascular network poses a substantial obstacle to immunotherapy. In fact, hypoxia creates an immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment (TME) through promoting angiogenesis, metabolic reprogramming, extracellular matrix remodeling, epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), p53 inactivation, and immune evasion. Vascular normalization, a strategy aimed at restoring the structure and function of tumor blood vessels, has been shown to improve oxygen delivery and reverse hypoxia-induced signaling pathways, thus alleviates hypoxia and potentiates cancer immunotherapy. In this review, we discuss the mechanisms of tumor tissue hypoxia and its impacts on immune cells and cancer immunotherapy, as well as the approaches to induce tumor vascular normalization. We also summarize the evidence supporting the use of vascular normalization in combination with cancer immunotherapy, and highlight the challenges and future directions of this overlooked important field. By targeting the fundamental problem of tumor hypoxia, vascular normalization proposes a promising strategy to enhance the efficacy of cancer immunotherapy and improve clinical outcomes for cancer patients.
  12. Adv Sci (Weinh). 2023 Oct 22. e2302498
      CD73 plays a critical role in the pathogenesis and immune escape in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). AB680, an exceptionally potent and selective inhibitor of CD73, is administered in an early clinical trial, in conjunction with gemcitabine and anti-PD-1 therapy, for the treatment of PDAC. Nevertheless, the specific therapeutic efficacy and immunoregulation within the microenvironment of AB680 monotherapy in PDAC have yet to be fully elucidated. In this study, AB680 exhibits a significant effect in augmenting the infiltration of responsive CD8+ T cells and prolongs the survival in both subcutaneous and orthotopic murine PDAC models. In parallel, it also facilitates chemotaxis of myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) by tumor-derived CXCL5 in an AMP-dependent manner, which may potentially contribute to enhanced immunosuppression. The concurrent administration of AB680 and PD-1 blockade, rather than gemcitabine, synergistically restrain tumor growth. Notably, gemcitabine weakened the efficacy of AB680, which is dependent on CD8+ T cells. Finally, the supplementation of a CXCR2 inhibitor is validated to further enhance the therapeutic efficacy when combined with AB680 plus PD-1 inhibitor. These findings systematically demonstrate the efficacy and immunoregulatory mechanism of AB680, providing a novel, efficient, and promising immunotherapeutic combination strategy for PDAC.
    Keywords:  AB680; CD73; combination therapy; pancreatic cancer
  13. Cancers (Basel). 2023 Oct 11. pii: 4931. [Epub ahead of print]15(20):
      Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), as one of the most aggressive forms of breast cancer, is characterized by a poor prognosis and a very low rate of disease-free and overall survival. In recent years, immunotherapeutic approaches targeting T cell checkpoint molecules, such as cytotoxic lymphocyte antigen-4 (CTLA-4), programmed death1 (PD-1) or its ligand, programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1), have shown great potential and have been used to treat various cancers as single therapies or in combination with other modalities. However, despite this remarkable progress, patients with TNBC have shown a low response rate to this approach, commonly developing resistance to immune checkpoint blockade, leading to treatment failure. Extracellular acidosis within the tumor microenvironment (also known as the Warburg effect) is one of the factors preventing immune cells from mounting effective responses and contributing to immunotherapy treatment failure. Therefore, reducing tumor acidity is important for increasing cancer immunotherapy effectiveness and this has yet to be realized in the TNBC environment. In this study, the oral administration of sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) enhanced the antitumor effect of anti-PD-L1 antibody treatment, as demonstrated by generated antitumor immunity, tumor growth inhibition and enhanced survival in 4T1-Luc breast cancer model. Here, we show that NaHCO3 increased extracellular pH (pHe) in tumor tissues in vivo, an effect that was accompanied by an increase in T cell infiltration, T cell activation and IFN-γ, IL2 and IL12p40 mRNA expression in tumor tissues, as well as an increase in T cell activation in tumor-draining lymph nodes. Interestingly, these changes were further enhanced in response to combined NaHCO3 + anti-PD-L1 therapy. In addition, the acidic extracellular conditions caused a significant increase in PD-L1 expression in vitro. Taken together, these results indicate that alkalizing therapy holds potential as a new tumor microenvironment immunomodulator and we hypothesize that NaHCO3 can enhance the antitumor effects of anti-PD-L1 breast cancer therapy. The combination of these treatments may have an exceptional impact on future TNBC immunotherapeutic approaches by providing a powerful personalized medicine paradigm. Therefore, our findings have a great translational potential for improving outcomes in TNBC patients.
    Keywords:  PD-L1; TNBC; extracellular pH (pHe); immunotherapy; sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3)
  14. Biochem Pharmacol. 2023 Oct 24. pii: S0006-2952(23)00481-1. [Epub ahead of print] 115890
      In the tumor microenvironment, the interplay among macrophages, cancer cells, and endothelial cells is multifaceted. Tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs), which often exhibit an M2 phenotype, contribute to tumor growth and angiogenesis, while cancer cells and endothelial cells reciprocally influence macrophage behavior. This complex interrelationship highlights the importance of targeting these interactions for the development of novel cancer therapies aimed at disrupting tumor progression and angiogenesis. Accumulating evidence underscores the indispensable involvement of lncRNAs in shaping macrophage functionality and contributing to the development of cancer. Animal studies have further validated the therapeutic potential of manipulating macrophage lncRNA activity to ameliorate disease severity and reduce morbidity rates. This review provides a survey of our current understanding of macrophage-associated lncRNAs, with a specific emphasis on their molecular targets and their regulatory impact on cancer progression. These lncRNAs predominantly govern macrophage polarization, favoring the dominance of M2 macrophages or TAMs. Exosomes or extracellular vesicles mediate lncRNA transfer between macrophages and cancer cells, affecting cellular functions of each other. Moreover, this review presents therapeutic strategies targeting cancer-associated lncRNAs. The insights and findings presented in this review pertaining to macrophage lncRNAs can offer valuable information for the development of treatments against cancer.
    Keywords:  Cancer; Exosome; M2 macrophage; Macrophage polarization; TAM; Therapeutic targets; lncRNA
  15. Cancers (Basel). 2023 Oct 12. pii: 4962. [Epub ahead of print]15(20):
      BACKGROUND: MTH1 protects tumor cells and their supporting endothelium from lethal DNA damage triggered by oxidative stress in the tumor microenvironment, thus promoting tumor growth. The impact of MTH1 on the tumor-related immune compartment remains unknown. We hypothesized that MTH1 regulates immune fitness and therefore enhances the activity of currently used immunotherapeutic regimens.METHODS: Our hypotheses were validated in two syngeneic murine mesothelioma models using the clinically relevant MTH1 inhibitor, karonudib. We also examined the effect of combined MTH1 and PD-L1 blockade in mesothelioma progression, focusing on the main immune players.
    RESULTS: Karonudib administration enhances M1 macrophage polarization, stimulates CD8 expansion and promotes the activation of DC and T cells. Combined administration of PD-L1 and MTH1 inhibitors impairs mesothelioma tumor growth and mesothelioma-associated pleural effusion accumulation more effectively compared to each monotherapy.
    CONCLUSIONS: Combined MTH1 and PD-L1 inhibition holds promise for the successful clinical management of mesothelioma.
    Keywords:  MTH1; immunotherapy; mesothelioma
  16. Int J Mol Sci. 2023 Oct 13. pii: 15141. [Epub ahead of print]24(20):
      The tumor microenvironment is an important factor that can determine the success or failure of antitumor therapy. Cells of hematopoietic origin are one of the most important mediators of the tumor-host interaction and, depending on the cell type and functional state, exert pro- or antitumor effects in the tumor microenvironment or in adjacent tissues. Erythroid cells can be full members of the tumor microenvironment and exhibit immunoregulatory properties. Tumor growth is accompanied by the need to obtain growth factors and oxygen, which stimulates the appearance of the foci of extramedullary erythropoiesis. Tumor cells create conditions to maintain the long-term proliferation and viability of erythroid cells. In turn, tumor erythroid cells have a number of mechanisms to suppress the antitumor immune response. This review considers current data on the existence of erythroid cells in the tumor microenvironment, formation of angiogenic clusters, and creation of optimal conditions for tumor growth. Despite being the most important life-support function of the body, erythroid cells support tumor growth and do not work against it. The study of various signaling mechanisms linking tumor growth with the mobilization of erythroid cells and the phenotypic and functional differences between erythroid cells of different origin allows us to identify potential targets for immunotherapy.
    Keywords:  erythroid cells; erythropoietin; hypoxia; transdifferentiation; tumor immunosuppression
  17. Int J Mol Sci. 2023 Oct 18. pii: 15332. [Epub ahead of print]24(20):
      Breast cancer (BC), one of the most widespread and devastating diseases affecting women worldwide, presents a significant public health challenge. This review explores the emerging frontiers of research focused on deciphering the intricate interplay between BC cells and the immune microenvironment. Understanding the role of the immune system in BC is critical as it holds promise for novel therapeutic approaches and precision medicine strategies. This review delves into the current literature regarding the immune microenvironment's contribution to BC initiation, progression, and metastasis. It examines the complex mechanisms by which BC cells interact with various immune cell populations, including tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) and tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs). Furthermore, this review highlights the impact of immune-related factors, such as cytokines and immune checkpoint molecules. Additionally, this comprehensive analysis sheds light on the potential biomarkers associated with the immune response in BC, enabling early diagnosis and prognostic assessment. The therapeutic implications of targeting the immune microenvironment are also explored, encompassing immunotherapeutic strategies and combination therapies to enhance treatment efficacy. The significance of this review lies in its potential to pave the way for novel therapeutic interventions, providing clinicians and researchers with essential knowledge to design targeted and personalized treatment regimens for BC patients.
    Keywords:  breast cancer; immune checkpoint inhibitors; immunotherapy; tumor microenvironment; tumor-associated macrophages; tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes
  18. Biomol Biomed. 2023 Oct 24.
      Adoptive cell therapy (ACT) has been demonstrated to be one of the most promising cancer immunotherapy strategies due to its active antitumor capabilities in vivo. Engineering T cells to overexpress chimeric antigen receptors (CARs), for example, has shown potent efficacy in the therapy of some hematologic malignancies. However, the efficacy of chimeric antigen receptor T cell (CAR-T) therapy against solid tumors is still limited due to the immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment (TME) of solid tumors, difficulty in infiltrating tumor sites, lack of tumor-specific antigens, antigen escape, and severe side effects. In contrast, macrophages expressing CARs (CAR-macrophages) have emerged as another promising candidate in immunotherapy, particularly for solid tumors. Now at its nascent stage (with only one clinical trial progressing), CAR-macrophage still shows inspiring potential advantages over CAR-T in treating solid tumors, including more abundant antitumor mechanisms and better infiltration into tumors. In this review, we discuss the relationships and differences between CAR-T and CAR-macrophage therapies in terms of their CAR structures, antitumor mechanisms, challenges faced in treating solid tumors, and insights gleaned from clinical trials and practice for solid tumors. We especially highlight the potential advantages of CAR-macrophage therapy over CAR-T for solid tumors. Understanding these relationships and differences provides new insight into possible optimization strategies of both these two therapies in solid tumor treatment.
  19. Heliyon. 2023 Oct;9(10): e21055
      Osteopontin (OPN) is a multifunctional protein secreted intracellularly and extracellularly by various cell types, including NK cells, macrophages, osteoblasts, T cells, and cancer cells. Owing to its diverse distribution, OPN plays a role in cell proliferation, stem-cell-like properties, epithelial-mesenchymal transformation, glycolysis, angiogenesis, fibrosis, invasion, and metastasis. In this review, we discuss recent findings, interpret representative studies on OPN expression in cancer, clarify that elevated OPN levels are observed in multiple cancer types (including colorectal, breast, lung, and liver cancer), and explore how OPN-macrophage interactions shape the tumor microenvironment. We also summarize progress in OPN research with regard to tumor therapy, which can facilitate the development of novel anti-tumor treatment strategies.
    Keywords:  Colorectal cancer; Macrophages; Osteopontin; Tumor microenvironment; Tumor therapy
  20. BMC Med. 2023 Oct 25. 21(1): 402
      BACKGROUND: Prostate cancer (PCa) is the most common malignancy diagnosed in men. Immune checkpoint blockade (ICB) alone showed disappointing results in PCa. It is partly due to the formation of immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment (TME) could not be reversed effectively by ICB alone.METHODS: We used PCa cell lines to evaluate the combined effects of CN133 and anti-PD-1 in the subcutaneous and osseous PCa mice models, as well as the underlying mechanisms.
    RESULTS: We found that CN133 could reduce the infiltration of polymorphonuclear myeloid-derived suppressor cells (PMN-MDSCs), and CN133 combination with anti-PD-1 could augment antitumor effects in the subcutaneous PCa of allograft models. However, anti-PD-1 combination with CN133 failed to elicit an anti-tumor response to the bone metastatic PCa mice. Mechanistically, CN133 could inhibit the infiltration of PMN-MDSCs in the TME of soft tissues by downregulation gene expression of PMN-MDSC recruitment but not change the gene expression involved in PMN-MDSC activation in the CN133 and anti-PD-1 co-treatment group relative to the anti-PD-1 alone in the bone metastatic mice model.
    CONCLUSIONS: Taken together, our work firstly demonstrated that combination of CN133 with anti-PD-1 therapy may increase the therapeutic efficacy to PCa by reactivation of the positive immune microenvironment in the TME of soft tissue PCa.
    Keywords:  Anti-PD-1; Bone metastatic PCa; Epigenetics; HDAC inhibitor; MyC-CaP cell line; Prostate carcinoma; RM1 cell line
  21. Rom J Morphol Embryol. 2023 Jul-Sep;64(3):64(3): 311-318
      Gastric cancer (GC) is still a major health problem, being one of the leading causes of cancer-related death in the world. Although the overall incidence of GC is decreasing in the United States and Western Europe, it is still high in many countries from Asia, South America, and Eastern Europe. The process of angiogenesis or the formation of new blood vessels plays an important role in cancer progression, as it allows oxygen supply, nutrients, and factors to grow tumor cells. In our study, we found that gastric neoplasms have high vascularity, with anarchic distribution, uneven in tumor stroma, sometimes with congestion vessels and microhemorrhages. Most vessels were capillaries, with a discontinuous endothelium, poorly structured basement membrane, without junctions between endothelial cells, hyperpermeable, creating the possibility of local edema in the tumor microenvironment (TME), and also extravasation of the plasma, leukocytes and even red blood cells. Angiogenesis vessels showed a low number of pericytes, which shows that they are young vessels, both morphologically and functionally immature. Tumor cells can synthesize biochemical factors [vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF-A)] that stimulate the formation of new vessels (angiogenesis) to ensure their growth and metastasis. Some connective cells (tumor-associated mast cells, tumor-associated fibroblasts) are also involved in the angiogenesis process, which stimulate the progression of tumor cells and remodel the TME.
  22. Biomed Pharmacother. 2023 Oct 20. pii: S0753-3322(23)01538-X. [Epub ahead of print]168 115740
      The efficacy of CAR-T cell therapy has been hindered by several factors that are intrinsic to the tumor microenvironment. Many strategies are being employed to overcome these barriers and improve immunotherapies efficacy. Interleukin (IL)- 4 is a cytokine released by tumor cells inside the tumor microenvironment and it can oppose T cell effector functions via engagement with the IL-4 receptor on the surface of T cells. To overcome IL-4-mediated immunosuppressive signals, we designed a novel inverted cytokine receptor (ICR). Our novel CAR construct (4/15NKG2D-CAR), consisted of an NKG2D-based chimeric antigen receptor, co-expressing IL-4R as an extracellular domain and IL-15R as a transmembrane and intracellular domain. In this way, IL-4R inhibitory signals were converted into IL-15R activation signals downstream. This strategy increased the efficacy of NKG2D-CAR-T cells in the pancreatic tumor microenvironment in vitro and in vivo. 4/15NKG2D-CAR-T cells exhibited increased activation, degranulation, cytokine release, and cytotoxic ability of NKG2D-CAR-T cells against IL-4+ pancreatic cell lines. Furthermore, 4/15NKG2D-CAR-T cells exhibited more expansion, less exhaustion, and an increased percentage of less differentiated T cell phenotypes in vitro when compared with NKG2D-CAR-T cells. That is why IL-4R/IL-15R-modified CAR-T cells eradicated more tumors in vivo and outperformed NKG2D-CAR-T cells. Thus, we report here a novel NKG2D-CAR-T cells that could overcome IL-4-mediated immunosuppression in solid tumors.
    Keywords:  CAR-T therapy; Inverted cytokine receptor (ICR); NKG2D-CAR-T; Pancreatic cancer; Tumor microenvironment
  23. Nutr Cancer. 2023 Oct 27. 1-12
      Sulforaphane (SFN) is a compound derived from cruciferous plants. It has received considerable attention in recent years due to its effectiveness in cancer prevention and anti-inflammatory properties. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the antitumor potential of sulforaphane on colitis-associated carcinogenesis (CAC) through the establishment of a mouse model with AOM/DSS. First, AOM/DSS and DSS-induced model were established and administered SFN for 10 wk, and then the severity of colitis-associated colon cancer was examined macroscopically and histologically. Subsequently, immune cells and cytokines in the tumor microenvironment (TME) were quantified. Finally, the influence of sulforaphane was also investigated using different colon cell lines. We found that sulforaphane treatment decreased tumor volume, myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC) expansion, the expression of the proinflammatory cytokine IL-1β, and the level of IL-10 in serum. Also, it enhanced the antitumor activities of CD8+ T cells and significantly reduced tumorigenesis as induced by AOM/DSS. SFN also attenuated intestinal inflammation in DSS-induced chronic colitis by reshaping the inflammatory microenvironment. This work demonstrates that sulforaphane suppresses carcinogenesis-associated intestinal inflammation and prevents AOM/DSS-induced intestinal tumorigenesis and progression.
  24. Cancers (Basel). 2023 Oct 19. pii: 5046. [Epub ahead of print]15(20):
      Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a rapidly rising global health concern, ranking as the third-leading cause of cancer-related mortality. Despite medical advancements, the five-year survival rate remains a dismal 18%, with a daunting 70% recurrence rate within a five-year period. Current systematic treatments, including first-line sorafenib, yield an overall response rate (ORR) below 10%. In contrast, immunotherapies have shown promise by improving ORR to approximately 30%. The IMbravel150 clinical trial demonstrates that combining atezolizumab and bevacizumab surpasses sorafenib in terms of median progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS). However, the therapeutic efficacy for HCC patients remains unsatisfactory, highlighting the urgent need for a comprehensive understanding of antitumor responses and immune evasion mechanisms in HCC. In this context, understanding the immune landscape of HCC is of paramount importance. Tumor-infiltrating T cells, including cytotoxic T cells, regulatory T cells, and natural killer T cells, are key components in the antitumor immune response. This review aims to shed light on their intricate interactions within the immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment and explores potential strategies for revitalizing dysfunctional T cells. Additionally, current immune checkpoint inhibitor (ICI)-based trials, ICI-based combination therapies, and CAR-T- or TCR-T-cell therapies for HCC are summarized, which might further improve OS and transform the management of HCC in the future.
    Keywords:  hepatocellular carcinoma; immunotherapy; tumor microenvironment; tumor-infiltrating T cells
  25. Front Immunol. 2023 ;14 1236301
      Aerobic glycolysis, also known as the Warburg effect, has for a prolonged period of time been perceived as a defining feature of tumor metabolism. The redirection of glucose utilization towards increased production of lactate by cancer cells enables their rapid proliferation, unceasing growth, and longevity. At the same time, it serves as a significant contributor to acidification of the tumor microenvironment, which, in turn, imposes substantial constraints on infiltrating immune cells. Here, we delve into the influence of tumor-derived lactic acid on innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) and discuss potential therapeutic approaches. Given the abundance of ILCs in barrier tissues such as the skin, we provide insights aimed at translating this knowledge into therapies that may specifically target skin cancer.
    Keywords:  innate lymphoid cells; lactate; lactic acid; melanoma; metabolism; skin; skin cancer
  26. Cells. 2023 Oct 23. pii: 2510. [Epub ahead of print]12(20):
      The vascular endothelium supplies nutrients and oxygen to different body organs and supports the progression of diseases such as cancer through angiogenesis. Pathological angiogenesis remains a challenge as most patients develop resistance to the approved anti-angiogenic therapies. Therefore, a better understanding of endothelium signaling will support the development of more effective treatments. Over the past two decades, the emerging consensus suggests that the role of endothelial cells in tumor development has gone beyond angiogenesis. Instead, endothelial cells are now considered active participants in the tumor microenvironment, secreting angiocrine factors such as cytokines, growth factors, and chemokines, which instruct their proximate microenvironments. The function of angiocrine signaling is being uncovered in different fields, such as tissue homeostasis, early development, organogenesis, organ regeneration post-injury, and tumorigenesis. In this review, we elucidate the intricate role of angiocrine signaling in cancer progression, including distant metastasis, tumor dormancy, pre-metastatic niche formation, immune evasion, and therapy resistance.
    Keywords:  angiocrine factors; angiocrine signaling; endothelium
  27. Front Immunol. 2023 ;14 1295953
    Keywords:  immune check inhibitor (ICI); immunotherapy; solid tumor; tumor immune microenvironment; tumor immunity; tumor immunology; tumor vascular networks
  28. Cell Biochem Biophys. 2023 Oct 23.
      A tumor represents a highly intricate tissue entity, characterized by an exceptionally complex microenvironment that starkly contrasts with the typical physiological surroundings of healthy tissues. Within this tumor microenvironment (TME), every component and factor assume paramount importance in the progression of malignancy and exerts a pivotal influence on a patient's clinical outcome. One of the remarkable aspects of the TME is its remarkable heterogeneity, not only across different types of cancers but even within the same histological category of tumors. In-depth research has illuminated the intricate interplay between specific immune cells and molecules and the dynamic characteristics of the TME. Recent investigations have yielded compelling evidence that several mutations harbored by tumor cells possess the capacity to instigate substantial alterations in the TME. These mutations, often acting as drivers of tumorigenesis, can orchestrate a cascade of events that remodel the TME, thereby influencing crucial aspects of cancer behavior, including its invasiveness, immune evasion, and response to therapies. It is within this nuanced context that the present study endeavors to provide a concise yet comprehensive summary of how specific mutations, within the genetic landscape of cancer cells, can instigate profound changes in TME features. By elucidating the intricate relationship between genetic mutations and the TME, this research aims to contribute to a deeper understanding of cancer biology. Ultimately, the knowledge gained from this study holds the potential to inform the development of more targeted and effective treatments, thereby offering new hope to patients grappling with the complexities of cancer.
    Keywords:  CTLA-4; Cancer; TP53; Tumor Microenvironment
  29. Front Immunol. 2023 ;14 1233085
      In the tumor milieu of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC), distinct B cell subpopulations are present, which exert either pro- or anti-tumor activities. Multiple factors, including hypoxia, cytokines, interactions with tumor cells, and other immune infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs), alter the equilibrium between the dual roles of B cells leading to cancerogenesis. Certain B cell subsets in the tumor microenvironment (TME) exhibit immunosuppressive function. These cells are known as regulatory B (Breg) cells. Breg cells suppress immune responses by secreting a series of immunosuppressive cytokines, including IL-10, IL-35, TGF-β, granzyme B, and adenosine or dampen effector TILs by intercellular contacts. Multiple Breg phenotypes have been discovered in human and mouse cancer models. However, when compartmentalized within a tertiary lymphoid structure (TLS), B cells predominantly play anti-tumor effects. A mature TLS contains a CD20+ B cell zone with several important types of B cells, including germinal-center like B cells, antibody-secreting plasma cells, and memory B cells. They kill tumor cells via antibody-dependent cytotoxicity and phagocytosis, and local complement activation effects. TLSs are also privileged sites for local T and B cell coordination and activation. Nonetheless, in some cases, TLSs may serve as a niche for hidden tumor cells and indicate a bad prognosis. Thus, TIL-B cells exhibit bidirectional immune-modulatory activity and are responsive to a variety of immunotherapies. In this review, we discuss the functional distinctions between immunosuppressive Breg cells and immunogenic effector B cells that mature within TLSs with the focus on tumors of HNSCC patients. Additionally, we review contemporary immunotherapies that aim to target TIL-B cells. For the development of innovative therapeutic approaches to complement T-cell-based immunotherapy, a full understanding of either effector B cells or Breg cells is necessary.
    Keywords:  head and neck cancer; immunotherapy; regulatory B cells; tertiary lymphoid structures; tumor microenvironment; tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes
  30. Cancer Discov. 2023 Oct 27. OF1
      CD36 supports metastasis by regulating lipid homeostasis during matrix detachment in breast cancer.
  31. Inflamm Res. 2023 Oct 25.
      INTRODUCTION: As a subset of CD4+ T cells, regulatory T cells (Tregs) with the characteristic expression of transcription factor FOXP3 play a key role in maintaining self-tolerance and regulating immune responses. However, in some inflammatory circumstances, Tregs can express cytokines of other T help (Th) cells by internal reprogramming, which is called Treg plasticity. These reprogrammed Tregs with impaired suppressive ability contribute to the progression of diseases by secreting pro-inflammatory cytokines. However, in the tumor microenvironment (TME), such changes in phenotype rarely occur in Tregs, on the contrary, Tregs usually display a stronger suppressive function and inhibit anti-tumor immunity. It is important to understand the mechanisms of Treg plasticity in inflammatory diseases and cancers.OBJECTIVES: In this review, we summarize the characteristics of different Th-like Tregs and discuss the potential mechanisms of these changes in phenotype. Furthermore, we summarize the Treg plasticity in human diseases and discuss the effects of these changes in phenotype on disease progression, as well as the potential application of drugs or reagents that regulate Treg plasticity in human diseases.
    CONCLUSIONS: Treg plasticity is associated with inflammatory diseases and cancers. Regulating Treg plasticity is a promising direction for the treatment of inflammatory diseases and cancers.
    Keywords:  FOXP3; Human diseases; Plasticity; Therapy; Tregs
  32. Brain Sci. 2023 Oct 07. pii: 1424. [Epub ahead of print]13(10):
      Optic pathway glioma (OPG) is one of the causes of pediatric visual impairment. Unfortunately, there is as yet no cure for such a disease. Understanding the underlying mechanisms and the potential therapeutic strategies may help to delay the progression of OPG and rescue the visual morbidities. Here, we provide an overview of preclinical OPG studies and the regulatory pathways controlling OPG pathophysiology. We next discuss the role of microenvironmental cells (neurons, T cells, and tumor-associated microglia and macrophages) in OPG development. Last, we provide insight into potential therapeutic strategies for treating OPG and promoting axon regeneration.
    Keywords:  T cells; cancer neuroscience; neurofibromatosis type 1; optic nerve; optic pathway glioma; tumor microenvironment; tumor-associated microglia and macrophages
  33. Biomedicines. 2023 Sep 26. pii: 2639. [Epub ahead of print]11(10):
      The development of multidrug resistance (MDR) against chemotherapeutic agents has become a major impediment in cancer therapy. Understanding the underlying mechanism behind MDR can guide future treatment for cancer with better therapeutic outcomes. Recent studies evidenced that crossroads interaction between the heat shock proteins (HSP) and inflammatory responses under the tumor microenvironment plays a pivotal role in modulating drug responsiveness and drug resistance through a complex cytological process. This review aims to investigate the interrelationship between inflammation and HSP in acquiring multiple drug resistance and investigate strategies to overcome the drug resistance to improve the efficacy of cancer treatment. HSP plays a dual regulatory effect as an immunosuppressive and immunostimulatory agent, involving the simultaneous blockade of multiple signaling pathways in acquiring MDR. For example, HSP27 shows biological effects on monocytes by causing IL10 and TNFα secretion and blocking monocyte differentiation to normal dendritic cells and tumor-associated macrophages to promote cancer progression and chemoresistance. Thus, the HSP function and immune-checkpoint release modalities provide a therapeutic target for a therapeutically beneficial approach for enhancing anti-tumor immune responses. The interconnection between inflammation and HSP, along with the tumor microenvironment in acquiring drug resistance, has become crucial for rationalizing the effect of HSP immunomodulatory activity with immune checkpoint blockade. This relationship can overcome drug resistance and assist in the development of novel combinatorial cancer immunotherapy in fighting cancer with decreasing mortality rates.
    Keywords:  cancer; heat shock proteins; immunomodulatory effect; interleukin; multidrug resistance; tumor microenvironment