bims-flamet Biomed News
on Cytokines and immunometabolism in metastasis
Issue of 2023‒12‒17
25 papers selected by
Peio Azcoaga, Biodonostia HRI

  1. Front Neurosci. 2023 ;17 1321176
      Chronic stress has a substantial influence on the tumor microenvironment (TME), leading to compromised effectiveness of anti-cancer therapies through diverse mechanisms. It disrupts vital functions of immune cells that play a critical role in anti-tumor immunity, such as the inhibition of dendritic cells (DCs) and lymphocytes, while simultaneously enhancing the activity of immune cells that support tumor growth, such as myeloid-derived suppressor cells and tumor-associated macrophages. Furthermore, chronic stress exerts a significant impact on crucial mechanisms within the TME, including angiogenesis, DNA repair, hypoxia, extracellular matrix deposition, and tumor metabolism. These alterations in the TME, induced by stress, result from the activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and sympathetic nervous system, in conjunction with epigenetic modifications. In conclusion, chronic stress significantly influences the TME and impedes the efficacy of anti-cancer treatments, underscoring the importance of targeting stress pathways to improve therapeutic results.
    Keywords:  HPA axis; anticancer treatments; chronic stress; immunotherapy; neural-immune interactions; personalized medicine; sympathetic nervous system; tumor microenvironment
  2. Carcinogenesis. 2023 Dec 12. pii: bgad093. [Epub ahead of print]
      Tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) are among the most abundant cell types in the tumor microenvironment (TME). The immunosuppressive TME formed by TAMs is an essential prerequisite for cancer progression. Tumor-derived microvesicles (MVs), a subtype of extracellular vesicle shed directly from the plasma membrane, are important regulators of intercellular communication and TME modulation during tumorigenesis. However, the exact mechanism by which tumor-derived MVs induce the generation of the immunosuppressive TME and polarization of TAMs remains unclear. Here, we investigated the role of CD133-containing MVs derived from colorectal cancer (CRC) cells in macrophage polarization and cancer progression. CD133-containing MVs from CRC cells were incorporated into macrophages, and M0 macrophages were morphologically transformed into M2-like TAMs. CD133-containing MVs were found to increase the mRNA expression of M2 macrophage markers. Additionally, cytokine array analysis revealed that M2-like TAMs induced by CD133-containing MVs increased the secretion of interleukin 6, which activated the STAT3 pathway in CRC cells. Furthermore, the conditioned medium of M2-like TAMs promoted cell motility, epithelial-mesenchymal transition, and cell proliferation. However, MVs from CD133-knockdown cells had little effect on TAM polarization and CRC progression. These results demonstrate that CD133-containing MVs induce M2-like TAM polarization and contribute to cancer progression by mediating crosstalk between tumor cells and TAMs in the TME of CRC.
    Keywords:  CD133; colorectal cancer; macrophage polarization; microvesicles; tumor-associated macrophage
  3. J Exp Clin Cancer Res. 2023 Dec 13. 42(1): 337
      Myeloid cells (granulocytes and monocytes/macrophages) play an important role in neuroblastoma. By inducing a complex immunosuppressive network, myeloid cells pose a challenge for the adaptive immune system to eliminate tumor cells, especially in high-risk neuroblastoma. This review first summarizes the pro- and anti-tumorigenic functions of myeloid cells, including granulocytes, monocytes, macrophages, and myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC) during the development and progression of neuroblastoma. Secondly, we discuss how myeloid cells are engaged in the current treatment regimen and explore novel strategies to target these cells in neuroblastoma. These strategies include: (1) engaging myeloid cells as effector cells, (2) ablating myeloid cells or blocking the recruitment of myeloid cells to the tumor microenvironment and (3) reprogramming myeloid cells. Here we describe that despite their immunosuppressive traits, tumor-associated myeloid cells can still be engaged as effector cells, which is clear in anti-GD2 immunotherapy. However, their full potential is not yet reached, and myeloid cell engagement can be enhanced, for example by targeting the CD47/SIRPα axis. Though depletion of myeloid cells or blocking myeloid cell infiltration has been proven effective, this strategy also depletes possible effector cells for immunotherapy from the tumor microenvironment. Therefore, reprogramming of suppressive myeloid cells might be the optimal strategy, which reverses immunosuppressive traits, preserves myeloid cells as effectors of immunotherapy, and subsequently reactivates tumor-infiltrating T cells.
    Keywords:  Immunosuppression; Immunotherapy; Macrophages; Monocytes; Myeloid cells; Myeloid-derived suppressor cell; Neuroblastoma; Neutrophils
  4. Front Immunol. 2023 ;14 1279591
      Macrophages are found to infiltrate and migrate in a large number of Tumor-associated macrophages (TMEs) and other macrophages in the microenvironment of tumors and related diseases, and undergo phenotypic changes in response to a variety of cytokines, mainly including the primary phenotype M2 and the anti-tumor phenotype M1. The Hippo signaling pathway affects the development of cancer and other diseases through various biological processes, such as inhibition of cell growth. In this review, we focus on immune cells within the microenvironment of tumors and other diseases, and the role of the Hippo pathway in tumors on macrophage polarization in the tumor microenvironment (TME) and other diseases.
    Keywords:  Hippo; macrophages; polarization; regulation; tumor microenvironment
  5. Med Oncol. 2023 Dec 08. 41(1): 8
      Immunotherapies using immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) and chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy have achieved successful results against several types of human tumors, particularly hematological malignancies. However, their clinical results for the treatment of solid tumors remain poor and unsatisfactory. The immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment (TME) plays an important role by interfering with intratumoral T-cell infiltration, promoting effector T-cell exhaustion, upregulating inhibitory molecules, inducing hypoxia, and so on. Oncolytic viruses are an encouraging biocarrier that could be used in both natural and genetically engineered platforms to induce oncolysis in a targeted manner. Oncolytic virotherapy (OV) contributes to the reprogramming of the TME, thus synergizing the functional effects of current ICIs and CAR T-cell therapy to overcome resistant barriers in solid tumors. Here, we summarize the TME-related inhibitory factors affecting the therapeutic outcomes of ICIs and CAR T cells and discuss the potential of OV-based approaches to alleviate these barriers and improve future therapies for advanced solid tumors.
    Keywords:  Immunotherapy; CAR T cell; Oncolytic virotherapy; Solid tumor; Tumor microenvironment
  6. J Clin Med. 2023 Dec 02. pii: 7469. [Epub ahead of print]12(23):
      This review explores various aspects of the HCC TME, including both cellular and non-cellular components, to elucidate their roles in tumor development and progression. Specifically, it highlights the significance of cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) and their contributions to tumor progression, angiogenesis, immune suppression, and therapeutic resistance. Moreover, this review emphasizes the role of immune cells, such as tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs), myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs), and regulatory T-cells (Tregs), in shaping the immunosuppressive microenvironment that promotes tumor growth and immune evasion. Furthermore, we also focused only on the non-cellular components of the HCC TME, including the extracellular matrix (ECM) and the role of hypoxia-induced angiogenesis. Alterations in the composition of ECM and stiffness have been implicated in tumor invasion and metastasis, while hypoxia-driven angiogenesis promotes tumor growth and metastatic spread. The molecular mechanisms underlying these processes, including the activation of hypoxia-inducible factors (HIFs) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) signaling, are also discussed. In addition to elucidating the complex TME of HCC, this review focuses on emerging therapeutic strategies that target the TME. It highlights the potential of second-line treatments, such as regorafenib, cabozantinib, and ramucirumab, in improving overall survival for advanced HCC patients who have progressed on or were intolerant to first-line therapy. Furthermore, this review explores the implications of the Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer (BCLC) staging and classification system in guiding HCC management decisions. The BCLC system, which incorporates tumor stage, liver function, and performance status, provides a framework for treatment stratification and prognosis prediction in HCC patients. The insights gained from this review contribute to the development of novel therapeutic interventions and personalized treatment approaches for HCC patients, ultimately improving clinical outcomes in this challenging disease.
    Keywords:  BCLC staging and classification; biomarkers; hepatocellular carcinoma; immunotherapy; targeted therapy; tumor microenvironment
  7. Front Immunol. 2023 ;14 1291619
      Macrophages and neutrophils are the main components of the innate immune system and play important roles in promoting angiogenesis, extracellular matrix remodeling, cancer cell proliferation, and metastasis in the tumor microenvironment (TME). They can also be harnessed to mediate cytotoxic tumor killing effects and orchestrate effective anti-tumor immune responses with proper stimulation and modification. Therefore, macrophages and neutrophils have strong potential in cancer immunotherapy. In this review, we briefly outlined the applications of macrophages or neutrophils in adoptive cell therapies, and focused on chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-engineered macrophages (CAR-Ms) and neutrophils (CAR-Ns). We summarized the construction strategies, the preclinical and clinical studies of CAR-Ms and CAR-Ns. In the end, we briefly discussed the limitations and challenges of CAR-Ms and CAR-Ns, as well as future research directions to extend their applications in treating solid tumors.
    Keywords:  CAR macrophages; CAR neutrophils; adoptive cell therapy; cancer immunotherapy; solid tumor
  8. Trends Cancer. 2023 Dec 09. pii: S2405-8033(23)00235-2. [Epub ahead of print]
      The tumor microenvironment (TME) is an integral part of tumors and plays a central role in all stages of carcinogenesis and progression. Each organ has a unique and heterogeneous microenvironment, which affects the ability of disseminated cells to grow in the new and sometimes hostile metastatic niche. Resident stromal cells, such as fibroblasts, osteoblasts, and astrocytes, are essential culprits in the modulation of metastatic progression: they transition from being sentinels of tissue integrity to being dysfunctional perpetrators that support metastatic outgrowth. Therefore, better understanding of the complexity of their reciprocal interactions with cancer cells and with other components of the TME is essential to enable the design of novel therapeutic approaches to prevent metastatic relapse.
    Keywords:  astrocytes; fibroblasts; metastasis; microenvironment; osteoblasts; stromal cells
  9. Int J Mol Sci. 2023 Nov 29. pii: 16893. [Epub ahead of print]24(23):
      Prostate cancer stands as one of the most prevalent malignancies afflicting men worldwide. The tumor microenvironment plays a pivotal role in tumor progression, comprising various cell types including endothelial cells, tumor-associated fibroblasts, and macrophages. Recent accumulating evidence underscores the indispensable contribution of endothelial cells to prostate cancer development. Both endothelial cells and tumor cells release a multitude of factors that instigate angiogenesis, metastasis, and even drug resistance in prostate cancer. These factors serve as regulators within the tumor microenvironment and represent potential therapeutic targets for managing prostate cancer. In this review, we provide an overview of the crucial functions of endothelial cells in angiogenesis, metastasis, and drug resistance, and their prospective therapeutic applications in combating this disease.
    Keywords:  endothelial cells; prostate cancer; therapeutic applications; tumor microenvironment
  10. Front Oncol. 2023 ;13 1296906
      Numerous studies in various cancer models have demonstrated that ingredients of cannabis can influence tumor growth through the endocannabinoid system (ECS), a network of molecules (mediators, receptors, transporters, enzymes) that maintains homeostasis and protection in many tissues. The main constituents of the ECS are the classical cannabinoid (CB) receptors, such as CB1 and CB2, their endogenous ligands (endocannabinoids), and the endocannabinoids' synthesizing and degrading enzymes. The role of the ECS in cancer is still unclear and its effects often depend on the tumor entity and the expression levels of CB receptors. Many studies have highlighted the tumor cell-killing potential of CB1 agonists. However, cannabis is also known as an immunosuppressant and some data suggest that the use of cannabis during immunotherapy worsens treatment outcomes in cancer patients. CB receptors are widely present in immune cells, and together with monoacylglycerol lipase, the 2-arachidonoylglycerol degrading enzyme, they could be critically involved in the regulation of the immune cell profile of the tumor microenvironment (TME), and hence in tumor progression. So far, data on the impact of the ECS in the immune-TME are still vague. In this review, we discuss the current understanding of the ECS on immunoregulation during tumor growth, and how it might affect the outcome of cancer immunotherapy.
    Keywords:  cannabinoid receptors; cannabis; endocannabinoid system; immune checkpoint inhibitor; tumor microenvironment
  11. Int J Oncol. 2024 Feb;pii: 11. [Epub ahead of print]64(2):
      The tumor microenvironment (TME) is a complex system composed mainly of tumor cells, mesenchymal cells and immune cells. Macrophages, also known as tumor‑associated macrophages (TAMs), among innate immune cells, are some of the most abundant components of the TME. They may influence tumor growth and metastasis through interactions with other cell populations in the TME and have been associated with poor prognosis in a variety of tumors. Therefore, a better understanding of the role of TAMs in the TME may provide new insight into tumor therapy. In the present review, the origin and classification of TAMs in the TME were outlined and their polarization and dual effects on tumor cells, as well as emerging strategies for cancer therapies targeting TAMs, were discussed.
    Keywords:  cancer; polarization; therapy; tumor microenvironment; tumor‑associated macrophages
  12. Int J Mol Sci. 2023 Nov 26. pii: 16771. [Epub ahead of print]24(23):
      Breast cancer is one of the most prevalent tumors among women. Its prognosis and treatment outcomes depend on factors related to tumor cell biology. However, recent studies have revealed the critical role of the tumor microenvironment (TME) in the development, progression, and treatment response of breast cancer. In this review, we explore the different components of the TME and their relevance as prognostic and predictive biomarkers in breast cancer. In addition, techniques for assessing the tumor microenvironment, such as immunohistochemistry or gene expression profiling, and their clinical utility in therapeutic decision-making are examined. Finally, therapeutic strategies targeting the TME are reviewed, highlighting their potential clinical benefits. Overall, this review emphasizes the importance of the TME in breast cancer and its potential as a clinical tool for better patient stratification and the design of personalized therapies.
    Keywords:  biomarkers; breast cancer; targeted therapy; tumor microenvironment
  13. Med. 2023 Dec 08. pii: S2666-6340(23)00288-X. [Epub ahead of print]4(12): 863-874
      Emerging evidence suggests that local tumor radiotherapy reshapes the repertoire of circulating myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) and leads to their infiltration into the tumor microenvironment, which poses a major obstacle for radiotherapy efficacy. Recent findings have identified RNA m6A modification at the nexus of both anti-tumor immunity and radiation response. Here, we examine the mechanisms by which this RNA modification modulates the immune milieu of the radiation-remodeled tumor microenvironment. We discuss potential therapeutic interventions targeting m6A machinery to improve radiotherapy response.
  14. Methods Mol Biol. 2024 ;2748 1-12
      Isolation of live cells from the tumor microenvironment (TME) has represented a challenge, particularly from metastatic nodules that need to be identified within the entire metastatic tissue. Cherry-niche, an in vivo labelling technique, allows the isolation of all the different cell populations in the TME without needing to visually locate the metastatic cancer cell colonies. Therefore, neighboring TME cells can be isolated even from the early stages of cancer cell seeding and colonization in the metastatic tissue. Here, we show how to use Cherry-niche to identify and isolate neutrophils from the lung metastatic niche. We also provide examples of downstream analyses to characterize freshly isolated neutrophils ex vivo, such as Giemsa staining, reactive oxygen species (ROS) detection, and phagocytosis assays. Similar strategies can be used to isolate other immune and non-immune cells from the metastatic TME.
    Keywords:  Cell isolation; Flow cytometry; Immune cells; Labelling; Metastasis; Neutrophils; Niche; Tumor microenvironment
  15. Cells. 2023 Nov 22. pii: 2686. [Epub ahead of print]12(23):
      Cancer stem cells (CSCs) are a rare cancer cell population, responsible for the facilitation, progression, and resistance of tumors to therapeutic interventions. This subset of cancer cells with stemness and tumorigenic properties is organized in niches within the tumor microenvironment (TME) and presents altered regulation in a variety of metabolic pathways, including glycolysis, oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS), as well as lipid, amino acid, and iron metabolism. CSCs exhibit similarities as well as differences when comparedto normal stem cells, but also possess the ability of metabolic plasticity. In this review, we summarize the metabolic characteristics of normal, non-cancerous stem cells and CSCs. We also highlight the significance and implications of interventions targeting CSC metabolism to potentially achieve more robust clinical responses in the future.
    Keywords:  amino acid metabolism; cancerstem cells; glycolysis; lipid metabolism; metabolism; oxidative phosphorylation; stem cells
  16. Methods Mol Biol. 2024 ;2748 243-265
      Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapy has proven to be a successful treatment option for leukemias and lymphomas. These encouraging outcomes underscore the potential of adoptive cell therapy for other oncology applications, namely, solid tumors. However, CAR T cells are yet to succeed in treating solid tumors. Unlike liquid tumors, solid tumors create a hostile tumor microenvironment (TME). CAR T cells must traffic to the TME, survive, and retain their function to eradicate the tumor. Nevertheless, there is no universal preclinical model to systematically test candidate CARs and CAR targets for their capacity to infiltrate and eliminate human solid tumors in vivo. Here, we provide a detailed protocol to evaluate human CAR CD4+ helper T cells and CD8+ cytotoxic T cells in immunodeficient (NSG) mice bearing antigen-expressing human solid tumors.
    Keywords:  Cancer; Chimeric antigen receptor; Infiltration; Microenvironment; Model; Solid tumor; Synthetic immunology; T cell; Trafficking
  17. BMC Cancer. 2023 Dec 07. 23(1): 1201
      BACKGROUND: Recapitulating the tumor microenvironment (TME) in vitro remains a major hurdle in cancer research. In recent years, there have been significant strides in this area, particularly with the emergence of 3D spheroids as a model system for drug screening and therapeutics development for solid tumors. However, incorporating macrophages into these spheroid cultures poses specific challenges due to the intricate interactions between macrophages and cancer cells.METHODS: To address this issue, in this study, we established a reproducible healthy multicellular 3D spheroid culture with macrophage infiltrates in order to mimic the TME and modulate the drug's efficacy on cancer cells in the presence of macrophages. A 3D spheroid was established using the human cancer cell line CAL33 and THP1 cell derived M0 macrophages were used as a source of macrophages. Cellular parameters including tumour metabolism, health, and mitochondrial mass were analysed in order to establish ideal conditions. To modulate the interaction of cancer cells with macrophage the ROS, NO, and H2O2 levels, in addition to M1 and M2 macrophage phenotypic markers, were analyzed. To understand the crosstalk between cancer cells and macrophages for ECM degradation, HSP70, HIF1α and cysteine proteases were examined in spheroids using western blotting and qPCR.
    RESULTS: The spheroids with macrophage infiltrates exhibited key features of solid tumors, including cellular heterogeneity, metabolic changes, nutrient gradients, ROS emission, and the interplay between HIF1α and HSP70 for upregulation of ECM degradading enzymes. Our results demonstrate that tumor cells exhibit a metabolic shift in the presence of macrophages. Additionally, we have observed a shift in the polarity of M0 macrophages towards tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) in response to cancer cells in spheroids. Results also demonstrate the involvement of macrophages in regulating HIF-1α, HSP70, and ECM degradation cysteine proteases enzymes.
    CONCLUSIONS: This study has significant implications for cancer therapy as it sheds light on the intricate interaction between tumor cells and their surrounding macrophages. Additionally, our 3D spheroid model can aid in drug screening and enhance the predictive accuracy of preclinical studies. The strength of our study lies in the comprehensive characterization of the multicellular 3D spheroid model, which closely mimics the TME.
    Keywords:  Cysteine proteases; Doxorubicin; Extracellular matrix; Hypoxia; Inflammation; Tumor associated macrophage polarization; Tumor microenvironment; Warburg effect
  18. Front Immunol. 2023 ;14 1275904
      Natural killer (NK) cells are cellular components of the innate immune system that can recognize and suppress the proliferation of cancer cells. NK cells can eliminate cancer cells through direct lysis, by secreting perforin and granzymes, or through antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC). ADCC involves the binding of the Fc gamma receptor IIIa (CD16), present on NK cells, to the constant region of an antibody already bound to cancer cells. Cancer cells use several mechanisms to evade antitumor activity of NK cells, including the accumulation of inhibitory cytokines, recruitment and expansion of immune suppressor cells such as myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) and regulatory T cells (Tregs), modulation of ligands for NK cells receptors. Several strategies have been developed to enhance the antitumor activity of NK cells with the goal of overcoming cancer cells resistance to NK cells. The three main strategies to engineer and boost NK cells cytotoxicity include boosting NK cells with modulatory cytokines, adoptive NK cell therapy, and the employment of engineered NK cells to enhance antibody-based immunotherapy. Although the first two strategies improved the efficacy of NK cell-based therapy, there are still some limitations, including immune-related adverse events, induction of immune-suppressive cells and further cancer resistance to NK cell killing. One strategy to overcome these issues is the combination of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) that mediate ADCC and engineered NK cells with potentiated anti-cancer activity. The advantage of using mAbs with ADCC activity is that they can activate NK cells, but also favor the accumulation of immune effector cells to the tumor microenvironment (TME). Several clinical trials reported that combining engineered NK cells with mAbs with ADCC activity can result in a superior clinical response compared to mAbs alone. Next generation of clinical trials, employing engineered NK cells with mAbs with higher affinity for CD16 expressed on NK cells, will provide more effective and higher-quality treatments to cancer patients.
    Keywords:  ADCC; CAR-NK; NK cells; adoptive NK cell therapy; modulatory cytokines; monoclonal antibody
  19. Zhongguo Shi Yan Xue Ye Xue Za Zhi. 2023 Dec;31(6): 1885-1889
      Cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAF) are a key component of the tumor microenvironment, which can secrete a variety of cytokines, chemokines and growth factors, directly and indirectly support cancer cells, also alter the immune cellular environment by inhibiting the activity of immune effector cells and recruiting immunosuppressive cells, thereby allowing cancer cells to evade immune surveillance. CAF has been proven to be associated with the development, progression, and poor prognosis of solid tumors. However, the role of CAF in hematological malignancies is still unclear. This article reviews the research progress of CAF in hematological malignancies.
    Keywords:   leukemia ; lymphoma ; multiple myeloma ; cancer-associated fibroblast
  20. Cells. 2023 Nov 30. pii: 2742. [Epub ahead of print]12(23):
      Autophagy is an essential lysosome-mediated degradation pathway that maintains cellular homeostasis and viability in response to various intra- and extracellular stresses. Mitophagy is a type of autophagy that is involved in the intricate removal of dysfunctional mitochondria during conditions of metabolic stress. In this review, we describe the multifaceted roles of autophagy and mitophagy in normal physiology and the field of cancer biology. Autophagy and mitophagy exhibit dual context-dependent roles in cancer development, acting as tumor suppressors and promoters. We also discuss the important role of autophagy and mitophagy within the cancer microenvironment and how autophagy and mitophagy influence tumor host-cell interactions to overcome metabolic deficiencies and sustain the activity of cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) in a stromal environment. Finally, we explore the dynamic interplay between autophagy and the immune response in tumors, indicating their potential as immunomodulatory targets in cancer therapy. As the field of autophagy and mitophagy continues to evolve, this comprehensive review provides insights into their important roles in cancer and cancer microenvironment.
    Keywords:  autophagy; cancer; cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs); mitophagy; tumor microenvironment (TME); tumor-associated immune cells
  21. Front Immunol. 2023 ;14 1276658
      The growth and advancement of ccRCC are strongly associated with the presence of immune infiltration and the tumor microenvironment, comprising tumor cells, immune cells, stromal cells, vascular cells, myeloid-derived cells, and extracellular matrix (ECM). Nevertheless, as a result of the diverse and constantly evolving characteristics of the tumor microenvironment, prior advanced sequencing methods have frequently disregarded specific less prevalent cellular traits at varying intervals, thereby concealing their significance. The advancement and widespread use of single-cell sequencing technology enable us to comprehend the source of individual tumor cells and the characteristics of a greater number of individual cells. This, in turn, minimizes the impact of intercellular heterogeneity and temporal heterogeneity of the same cell on experimental outcomes. This review examines the attributes of the tumor microenvironment in ccRCC and provides an overview of the progress made in single-cell sequencing technology and its particular uses in the current focus of immune infiltration in ccRCC.
    Keywords:  ScRNA-seq; T-cell; TME; ccRCC; time
  22. Methods Mol Biol. 2024 ;2748 119-134
      Solid tumors contain abnormal physical and biochemical barriers that hinder chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapies. However, there is a lack of understanding on how the solid tumor microenvironment (e.g. hypoxia) modulates CAR-T cell function. Hypoxia is a common feature of many advanced solid tumors that contributes to reprogramming of cancer and T cell metabolism as well as their phenotypes and interactions. To gain insights into the activities of CAR-T cells in solid tumors and to assess the effectiveness of new combination treatments involving CAR-T cells, in vitro models that faithfully reflect CAR-T cell-solid tumor interactions under physiologically relevant tumor microenvironment is needed. Here we demonstrate how to establish a hypoxic 3-dimensional (3-D) tumor model using a cleanroom-free, micromilling-based microdevice and assess the efficacy of the combination treatment with CAR-T cells and PD-1/PD-L1 inhibition.
    Keywords:  CAR-T cell; Chimeric antigen receptor; Hypoxia; Immune checkpoint inhibition; Immunotherapy; Ovarian cancer; Solid tumors
  23. Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2023 Dec 09. pii: S1043-2760(23)00244-8. [Epub ahead of print]
      Resistance to anticancer therapy still represents one of the main obstacles to cancer treatment. Numerous components of the tumor microenvironment (TME) contribute significantly to the acquisition of drug resistance. Microenvironmental pressures arising during cancer evolution foster tumor heterogeneity (TH) and facilitate the emergence of drug-resistant clones. In particular, metabolic pressures arising in the TME may favor epigenetic adaptations supporting the acquisition of persistence features in tumor cells. Tumor-persistent cells (TPCs) are characterized by high phenotypic and metabolic plasticity, representing a noticeable advantage in chemo- and radio-resistance. Understanding the crosslink between the evolution of metabolic pressures in the TME, epigenetics, and TPC evolution is significant for developing novel therapeutic strategies specifically targeting TPC vulnerabilities to overcome drug resistance.
    Keywords:  epigenetics; metabolism; therapy resistance; tumor microenvironment; tumor-persistent cells
  24. Mol Cancer. 2023 Dec 13. 22(1): 203
      Tumor immunotherapy has transformed neoplastic disease management, yet low response rates and immune complications persist as major challenges. Extracellular vesicles including exosomes have emerged as therapeutic agents actively involved in a diverse range of pathological conditions. Mounting evidence suggests that alterations in the quantity and composition of extracellular vesicles (EVs) contribute to the remodeling of the immune-suppressive tumor microenvironment (TME), thereby influencing the efficacy of immunotherapy. This revelation has sparked clinical interest in utilizing EVs for immune sensitization. In this perspective article, we present a comprehensive overview of the origins, generation, and interplay among various components of EVs within the TME. Furthermore, we discuss the pivotal role of EVs in reshaping the TME during tumorigenesis and their specific cargo, such as PD-1 and non-coding RNA, which influence the phenotypes of critical immune cells within the TME. Additionally, we summarize the applications of EVs in different anti-tumor therapies, the latest advancements in engineering EVs for cancer immunotherapy, and the challenges encountered in clinical translation. In light of these findings, we advocate for a broader understanding of the impact of EVs on the TME, as this will unveil overlooked therapeutic vulnerabilities and potentially enhance the efficacy of existing cancer immunotherapies.
    Keywords:  Cancer immunotherapy; Engineered EVs; Extracellular vesicles; Lymph node microenvironment; Non-coding RNA; PD-1; Tumor microenvironment
  25. Pharmacol Res. 2023 Dec 05. pii: S1043-6618(23)00388-2. [Epub ahead of print]199 107032
      Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide. The burden of cancer incidence and mortality is increasing rapidly. New approaches to cancer prevention and treatment are urgently needed. Natural products are reliable and powerful sources for anticancer drug discovery. Baicalin and baicalein, two major flavones isolated from Scutellaria baicalensis Georgi, a multi-purpose traditional medicinal plant in China, exhibit anticancer activities against multiple cancers. Of note, these phytochemicals exhibit extremely low toxicity to normal cells. Besides their cytotoxic and cytostatic activities toward diverse tumor cells, recent studies demonstrated that baicalin and baicalein modulate a variety of tumor stromal cells and extracellular matrix (ECM) in the tumor microenvironment (TME), which is essential for tumorigenesis, cancer progression and metastasis. In this review, we summarize the therapeutic potential and the mechanism of action of baicalin and baicalein in the regulation of tumor microenvironmental immune cells, endothelial cells, fibroblasts, and ECM that reshape the TME and cancer signaling, leading to inhibition of tumor angiogenesis, progression, and metastasis. In addition, we discuss the biotransformation pathways of baicalin and baicalein, related therapeutic challenges and the future research directions to improve their bioavailability and clinical anticancer applications. Recent advances of baicalin and baicalein warrant their continued study as important natural ways for cancer interception and therapy.
    Keywords:  Anticancer; Baicalein; Baicalin; Bioavailability; Immunomodulators; Natural products; Tumor microenvironment