Purpose: Myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC) are one of the major factors responsible for immune suppression in cancer. Therefore, it would be important to identify effective therapeutic means to modulate these cells.Experimental Design: We evaluated the effect of the synthetic triterpenoid C-28 methyl ester of 2-cyano-3,12-dioxooleana-1,9,-dien-28-oic acid (CDDO-Me; bardoxolone methyl) in MC38 colon carcinoma, Lewis lung carcinoma, and EL-4 thymoma mouse tumor models, as well as blood samples from patients with renal cell cancer and soft tissue sarcoma. Samples were also analyzed from patients with pancreatic cancer treated with CDDO-Me in combination with gemcitabine.Results: CDDO-Me at concentrations of 25 to 100 nmol/L completely abrogated immune suppressive activity of MDSC in vitro. CDDO-Me reduced reactive oxygen species in MDSCs but did not affect their viability or the levels of nitric oxide and arginase. Treatment of tumor-bearing mice with CDDO-Me did not affect the proportion of MDSCs in the spleens but eliminated their suppressive activity. This effect was independent of antitumor activity. CDDO-Me treatment decreased tumor growth in mice. Experiments with severe combined immunodeficient-beige mice indicated that this effect was largely mediated by the immune system. CDDO-Me substantially enhanced the antitumor effect of a cancer vaccines. Treatment of pancreatic cancer patients with CDDO-Me did not affect the number of MDSCs in peripheral blood but significantly improved the immune response.Conclusions: CDDO-Me abrogated the immune suppressive effect of MDSCs and improved immune responses in tumor-bearing mice and cancer patients. It may represent an attractive therapeutic option by enhancing the effect of cancer immunotherapy.
Myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC) are one of the major factors limiting the efficacy of immune therapy. In a clinical trial of patients with extensive stage small cell lung cancer (SCLC) we tested the possibility that targeting MDSC can improve the induction of immune responses by a cancer vaccine. Forty-one patients with extensive stage SCLC were randomized into three arms: arm A - control, arm B - vaccination with dendritic cells transduced with wild-type p53, and arm C – vaccination in combination with MDSC targeted therapy with all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA). Interim results of the ongoing clinical trial are presented. Pre-treatment levels of MDSC populations in patients from all three arms were similar. Vaccine alone did not affect the proportion of MDSC, whereas in patients treated with ATRA the MDSC decreased more than two-fold (p=0.02). Before the start of treatment no patients had detectable p53 specific responses in IFN-γ ELISPOT. Sequential measurements did not show positive p53 responses in any of the 14 patients from arm A. After immunization, only 3 out of 15 patients (20%) from arm B developed a p53-specific response (p=0.22). In contrast, in arm C 5 out of 12 patients (41.7%) had detectable p53 responses (p=0.012). The proportion of granzyme B positive CD8+ T cells was increased only in patients from arm C but not in arm B. Depletion of MDSC substantially improved the immune response to vaccination suggesting that this approach can be used to enhance the effect of immune interventions in cancer.
When used as therapy for hematopoietic malignancies, allogeneic BM transplantation (BMT) relies on the graftversus-leukemia (GVL) effect to eradicate residual tumor cells through immunologic mechanisms. However, graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), which is initiated by alloreactive donor T cells that recognize mismatched major and/or minor histocompatibility antigens and cause severe damage to hematopoietic and epithelial tissues, is a potentially lethal complication of allogeneic BMT. To enhance the therapeutic potential of BMT, we sought to find therapeutic targets that could inhibit GVHD while preserving GVL and immune responses to infectious agents. We show here that T cell responses triggered in mice by either Listeria monocytogenes or administration of antigen and adjuvant were relatively well preserved in the absence of PKC isoform θ (PKCθ), a key regulator of TCR signaling. In contrast, PKCθ was required for alloreactivity and GVHD induction. Furthermore, absence of PKCθ raised the threshold for T cell activation, which selectively affected alloresponses. Most importantly, PKCθ-deficient T cells retained the ability to respond to virus infection and to induce GVL effect after BMT. These findings suggest PKCθ is a potentially unique therapeutic target required for GVHD induction but not for GVL or protective responses to infectious agents.
CD28 is required for the development of regulatory T cells (Tregs; CD4+CD25+Foxp3+) in the thymus and also contributes to their survival and homeostasis in the periphery. We studied whether and how CD28 and ICOS control the differentiation of Tregs from naive T cells. By using wild-type, CD28-, ICOS-, or CD28/ICOS-double knockout mice on C57BL/6 background as T cell sources, we found that CD28 is essential, whereas ICOS is dispensable, for the development and homeostasis of Tregs. Furthermore, the differentiation of Tregs from naive CD4+CD25− T cells in vivo also depends on CD28. The requirement of CD28 for Treg differentiation was mediated by IL-2, because neutralization of IL-2 with its specific mAb-blocked Treg differentiation from wild-type CD4+CD25− T cells and addition of IL-2 restored Treg differentiation from CD28−/− T cells. Other common γ-chain cytokines, IL-4, IL-7, or IL-15, do not share such a role with IL-2. Although CD28 is required for the differentiation of Tregs from naive T cells, already generated Tregs do not depend on CD28 to exert their suppressive function. Our study reveals a new aspect of CD28 function in regulating T cell response.
T helper (Th)1 cells were considered responsible for the induction of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), but recently the concept has been challenged. Th17 cells play a critical role in mediating autoimmune diseases, but their role in the pathogenesis of GVHD remains unclear. Herein we compare the ability of in vitro generated Th1 and Th17 cells from C57BL/6 mice to induce GVHD in lethally irradiated BALB/c recipients. Allogeneic Th17 cells had superior expansion and infiltration capabilities in GVHD target organs, which correlated with their increased pathogenicity when compared with naïve or Th1 controls. Th17 cells caused no pathology in the syngeneic recipients, indicating that antigen-activation was required for their pathogenicity. Polarized Th17 cells could not maintain their phenotype in vivo as they produced a significant amount of interferon (IFN)-γ after being transplanted into allogeneic recipients; however, IFN-γ was not required for Th17 cell-induced GVHD. Further, we evaluated the pathogenesis of Th17 cells in GVHD by using polyclonal nonprimed CD4 T cells in a clinically relevant allogeneic bone marrow transplantation (BMT) setting. We found that disruption of Th17-differentiation alone by targeting RORγt (Th17-specific transcription factor) had no significant effect on GVHD development. We conclude that Th17 cells are sufficient but not necessary to induce GVHD.
Purpose The goal of this study was to determine the effect of combination of intratumoral administration of dendritic cells (DC) and fractionated external beam radiation (EBRT) on tumor-specific immune responses in patients with soft tissue sarcoma (STS). Methods and Material Seventeen patients with large (>5 cm) high grade STS were enrolled in the study. They were treated in the neoadjuvant setting with 5040 cGy of EBRT, split into 28 fractions and delivered 5 days a week, combined with intratumoral injection of 107 DCs followed by complete resection. DCs were injected on the second, third, and fourth Friday of the treatment cycle. Clinical evaluation and immunological assessments were performed. Results The treatment was well tolerated. No patient had tumor-specific immune responses before combined EBRT/DC therapy; nine patients (52.9%) developed tumor-specific immune responses, which lasted from 11 to 42 weeks. Twelve of 17 patients (70.6%) were progression free after one year. Treatment caused a dramatic accumulation of T cells in the tumor. The presence of CD4+ T cells in the tumor positively correlated with tumor-specific immune responses that developed following combined therapy. Accumulation of myeloid-derived suppressor cells but not regulatory T cells negatively correlated with the development of tumor-specific immune responses. Experiments with 111In labeled DCs demonstrated that these antigen presenting cells need at least 48 hr to start migrating from tumor site. Conclusions Combination of intratumoral DC administration with EBRT was safe and resulted in induction of antitumor immune responses. This suggests that this therapy is promising and need further testing in clinical trials design to assess clinical efficacy.
Dysregulated metabolism is a key driver of maladaptive tumor-reactive T lymphocytes within the tumor microenvironment. Actionable targets that rescue the effector activity of antitumor T cells remain elusive. Here, we report that the Sirtuin-2 (Sirt2) NAD + -dependent deacetylase inhibits T cell metabolism and impairs T cell effector functions. Remarkably, upregulation of Sirt2 in human tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) negatively correlates with response to TIL therapy in advanced non-small-cell lung cancer. Mechanistically, Sirt2 suppresses T cell metabolism by targeting key enzymes involved in glycolysis, tricarboxylic acid-cycle, fatty acid oxidation, and glutaminolysis. Accordingly, Sirt2-deficient murine T cells exhibit increased glycolysis and oxidative phosphorylation, resulting in enhanced proliferation and effector functions and subsequently exhibiting superior antitumor activity. Importantly, pharmacologic inhibition of Sirt2 endows human TILs with these superior metabolic fitness and effector functions. Our findings unveil Sirt2 as an unexpected actionable target for reprogramming T cell metabolism to augment a broad spectrum of cancer immunotherapies.
Objective. T cells deficient in CD28 expression have been implicated in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Given that CD28-null T cells are functionally heterogeneous, we undertook this study to screen for novel receptors on these cells.Methods. Seventy-two patients with RA (ages 35-84 years) and 53 healthy persons (32 young controls ages 19-34 years, 21 older controls ages 39-86 years) were recruited. Phenotypes and proliferative capacity of T cells from fresh leukocytes and of long-term cultures were monitored by flow cytometry. Lung biopsy specimens from patients with RA-associated interstitial pneumonitis (IP) were examined by immunohistochemistry. Receptor functionality was assessed by crosslinking bioassays.Results. Chronic stimulation of CD28؉ T cells in vitro yielded progenies that lacked CD28 but that gained CD56. Ex vivo analysis of leukocytes from patients with extraarticular RA showed a higher frequency of CD56؉,CD28-null T cells than in patients with disease confined to the joints or in healthy controls. CD56؉,CD28-null T cells had nil capacity for proliferation, consistent with cellular senescence. CD56؉ T cells had skewed T cell receptor (TCR) ␣/␤-chain usage and restricted TCR third complementarity-determining region spectra. Histologic studies showed that CD56؉ T cells were components of cellular infiltrates in RAassociated IP. CD56 crosslinking on T cells sufficiently induced cytokine production, although CD56/TCR coligation induced higher production levels.Conclusion. Chronic activation of T cells induces counterregulation of CD28 and CD56 expression. The loss of CD28 is accompanied by the gain of CD56 that confers TCR-independent and TCR-dependent activation pathways. We propose that accumulation of CD56؉ T cells in RA contributes to maladaptive immune responses and that CD56؉ T cells are potential targets for therapy.
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