Irreversible T cell exhaustion limits the efficacy of programmed cell death 1 (PD-1) blockade. We observed that dual CD40-TLR4 stimulation within a single tumor restored PD-1 sensitivity and that this regimen triggered a systemic tumor-specific CD8+ T cell response. This approach effectively treated established tumors in diverse syngeneic cancer models, and the systemic effect was dependent on the injected tumor, indicating that treated tumors were converted into necessary components of this therapy. Strikingly, this approach was associated with the absence of exhausted PD-1hi T cells in treated and distant tumors, while sparing the intervening draining lymph node and spleen. Furthermore, patients with transcription changes like those induced by this therapy experienced improved progression-free survival with anti–PD-1 treatment. Dual CD40-TLR4 activation within a single tumor is thus an approach for overcoming resistance to PD-1 blockade that is unique in its ability to cause the loss of exhausted T cells within tumors while sparing nonmalignant tissues.
Danny N. Khalil, Nathan Suek, Luis Felipe Campesato, Sadna Budhu, David Redmond, Robert M. Samstein, Chirag Krishna, Katherine S. Panageas, Marinela Capanu, Sean Houghton, Daniel Hirschhorn, Roberta Zappasodi, Rachel Giese, Billel Gasmi, Michael Schneider, Aditi Gupta, James J. Harding, John Alec Moral, Vinod P. Balachandran, Jedd D. Wolchok, Taha Merghoub
Transcription factor fusion genes create oncoproteins that drive oncogenesis and represent challenging therapeutic targets. Understanding the molecular targets by which such fusion oncoproteins promote malignancy offers an approach to develop rational treatment strategies to improve clinical outcomes. Capicua–double homeobox 4 (CIC-DUX4) is a transcription factor fusion oncoprotein that defines certain undifferentiated round cell sarcomas with high metastatic propensity and poor clinical outcomes. The molecular targets regulated by the CIC-DUX4 oncoprotein that promote this aggressive malignancy remain largely unknown. We demonstrated that increased expression of ETS variant 4 (ETV4) and cyclin E1 (CCNE1) occurs via neomorphic, direct effects of CIC-DUX4 and drives tumor metastasis and survival, respectively. We uncovered a molecular dependence on the CCNE-CDK2 cell cycle complex that renders CIC-DUX4–expressing tumors sensitive to inhibition of the CCNE-CDK2 complex, suggesting a therapeutic strategy for CIC-DUX4–expressing tumors. Our findings highlight a paradigm of functional diversification of transcriptional repertoires controlled by a genetically aberrant transcriptional regulator, with therapeutic implications.
Ross A. Okimoto, Wei Wu, Shigeki Nanjo, Victor Olivas, Yone K. Lin, Rovingaile Kriska Ponce, Rieko Oyama, Tadashi Kondo, Trever G. Bivona
Loss-of-function mutations in genes encoding TET DNA dioxygenase occur frequently in hematopoietic malignancy, but rarely in solid tumors which instead commonly have reduced activity. The impact of decreased TET activity in solid tumors is not known. Here we show that TET2 mediates interferon γ (IFNγ)-JAK-STAT signaling pathway to control chemokine and PD-L1 expression, lymphocyte infiltration and cancer immunity. IFNγ stimulated STAT1 to bind TET2 and recruit TET2 to hydroxymethylate chemokine and PD-L1 genes. Reduced TET activity was associated with decreased TH1-type chemokines and tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) and the progression of human colon cancer. Deletion of Tet2 in murine melanoma and colon tumor cells reduced chemokine expression and TILs, enabling tumors to evade anti-tumor immunity and to resist anti-PD-L1 therapy. Conversely, stimulating TET activity by systematic injection of its co-factor, ascorbate/vitamin C, increased chemokine and TILs, leading to enhanced anti-tumor immunity and anti-PD-L1 efficacy and extended lifespan of tumor-bearing mice. These results suggest an IFNγ-JAK-STAT-TET signaling pathway that mediates tumor response to anti-PD-L1/PD-1 therapy and is frequently disrupted in solid tumors. Our findings also suggest TET activity as a biomarker for predicting the efficacy and patient response to anti-PD-1/PD-L1 therapy, and stimulating TET activity as an adjuvant immunotherapy of solid tumors.
Yan-ping Xu, Lei Lv, Ying Liu, Matthew D. Smith, Wen-Cai Li, Xian-ming Tan, Meng Cheng, Zhijun Li, Michael Bovino, Jeffrey Aubé, Yue Xiong
Prostate cancer (PC) is initially dependent on androgen receptor (AR) signaling for survival and growth. Therapeutics designed to suppress AR activity serve as the primary intervention for advanced disease. However, supraphysiological androgen (SPA) concentrations can produce paradoxical responses leading to PC growth inhibition. We sought to discern the mechanisms by which SPA inhibits PC and to determine if molecular context associates with anti-tumor activity. SPA produced an AR-mediated, dose-dependent induction of DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs), G0/G1 cell cycle arrest and cellular senescence. SPA repressed genes involved in DNA repair and delayed the restoration of damaged DNA which was augmented by PARP1 inhibition. SPA-induced DSBs were accentuated in BRCA2-deficient PCs, and combining SPA with PARP or DNA-PKcs inhibition further repressed growth. Next-generation sequencing was performed on biospecimens from PC patients receiving SPA as part of ongoing Phase II clinical trials. Patients with mutations in genes mediating homology-directed DNA repair were more likely to exhibit clinical responses to SPA. These results provide a mechanistic rationale for directing SPA therapy to PCs with AR amplification or DNA repair deficiency, and for combining SPA therapy with PARP inhibition.
Payel Chatterjee, Michael T. Schweizer, Jared M. Lucas, Ilsa Coleman, Michael D. Nyquist, Sander B. Frank, Robin Tharakan, Elahe Mostaghel, Jun Luo, Colin C. Pritchard, Hung-Ming Lam, Eva Corey, Emmanuel S. Antonarakis, Samuel R. Denmeade, Peter S. Nelson
Glycosylation of immune receptors and ligands, such as T cell receptor and coinhibitory molecules, regulates immune signaling activation and immune surveillance. However, how oncogenic signaling initiates glycosylation of coinhibitory molecules to induce immunosuppression remains unclear. Here we show that IL-6–activated JAK1 phosphorylates programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) Tyr112, which recruits the endoplasmic reticulum–associated N-glycosyltransferase STT3A to catalyze PD-L1 glycosylation and maintain PD-L1 stability. Targeting of IL-6 by IL-6 antibody induced synergistic T cell killing effects when combined with anti–T cell immunoglobulin mucin-3 (anti–Tim-3) therapy in animal models. A positive correlation between IL-6 and PD-L1 expression was also observed in hepatocellular carcinoma patient tumor tissues. These results identify a mechanism regulating PD-L1 glycosylation initiation and suggest the combination of anti–IL-6 and anti–Tim-3 as an effective marker-guided therapeutic strategy.
Li-Chuan Chan, Chia-Wei Li, Weiya Xia, Jung-Mao Hsu, Heng-Huan Lee, Jong-Ho Cha, Hung-Ling Wang, Wen-Hao Yang, Er-Yen Yen, Wei-Chao Chang, Zhengyu Zha, Seung-Oe Lim, Yun-Ju Lai, Chunxiao Liu, Jielin Liu, Qiongzhu Dong, Yi Yang, Linlin Sun, Yongkun Wei, Lei Nie, Jennifer L. Hsu, Hui Li, Qinghai Ye, Manal M. Hassan, Hesham M. Amin, Ahmed O. Kaseb, Xin Lin, Shao-Chun Wang, Mien-Chie Hung
Cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) are key actors in modulating the progression of many solid tumors such as breast cancer (BC). Herein, we identify an integrin α11/PDGFRβ+ CAF subset displaying tumor-promoting features in BC. In the preclinical MMTV-PyMT mouse model, integrin α11-deficiency led to a drastic reduction of tumor progression and metastasis. A clear association between integrin α11 and PDGFRβ was found at both transcriptional and histological levels in BC specimens. High stromal integrin α11/PDGFRβ expression was associated with high grades and poorer clinical outcome in human BC patients. Functional assays using five CAF subpopulations (one murine, four human) revealed that integrin α11 promotes CAF invasion and CAF-induced tumor cell invasion upon PDGF-BB stimulation. Mechanistically, integrin α11 pro-invasive activity relies on its ability to interact with PDGFRβ in a ligand-dependent manner and to promote its downstream JNK activation, leading to the production of tenascin C, a pro-invasive matricellular protein. Pharmacological inhibition of PDGFRβ and JNK impaired tumor cell invasion induced by integrin α11-positive CAFs. Collectively, our study uncovers an integrin α11-positive subset of pro-tumoral CAFs that exploits PDGFRβ/JNK signalling axis to promote tumor invasiveness in BC.
Irina Primac, Erik Maquoi, Silvia Blacher, Ritva Heljasvaara, Jan Van Deun, Hilde Y. H. Smeland, Annalisa Canale, Thomas Louis, Linda Stuhr, Nor Eddine Sounni, Didier Cataldo, Taina Pihlajaniemi, Christel Pequeux, Olivier De Wever, Donald Gullberg, Agnès Noel
Despite recent therapeutic advances, prostate cancer remains a leading cause of cancer-related death. A subset of castration resistant prostate cancers become androgen receptor (AR) signaling-independent and develop neuroendocrine prostate cancer (NEPC) features through lineage plasticity. These NEPC tumors, associated with aggressive disease and poor prognosis, are driven, in part, by aberrant expression of N-Myc, through mechanisms that remain unclear. Integrative analysis of the N-Myc transcriptome, cistrome and interactome using in vivo, in vitro and ex vivo models (including patient-derived organoids) identified a lineage switch towards a neural identity associated with epigenetic reprogramming. N-Myc and known AR-co-factors (e.g., FOXA1 and HOXB13) overlapped, independently of AR, at genomic loci implicated in neural lineage specification. Moreover, histone marks specifically associated with lineage-defining genes were reprogrammed by N-Myc. We also demonstrated that the N-Myc-induced molecular program accurately classifies our cohort of patients with advanced prostate cancer. Finally, we revealed the potential for EZH2 inhibition to reverse the N-Myc-induced suppression of epithelial lineage genes. Altogether, our data provide insights on how N-Myc regulates lineage plasticity and epigenetic reprogramming associated with lineage-specification. The N-Myc signature we defined could also help predict the evolution of prostate cancer and thus better guide the choice of future therapeutic strategies.
Adeline Berger, Nicholas J. Brady, Rohan Bareja, Brian D. Robinson, Vincenza Conteduca, Michael A. Augello, Loredana Puca, Adnan Ahmed, Etienne Dardenne, Xiaodong Lu, Inah Hwang, Alyssa M. Bagadion, Andrea Sboner, Olivier Elemento, Jihye Paik, Jindan Yu, Christopher E. Barbieri, Noah Dephoure, Himisha Beltran, David S. Rickman
Recent studies have demonstrated that CD4+ T cells can efficiently reject MHC-II–negative tumors. This requires indirect presentation of tumor-associated antigens on surrounding antigen-presenting cells. We hypothesized that intercellular transfer of proteins is not the sole consequence of cell death–mediated protein release, but depends on heat-shock cognate protein 70 (HSC70) and its KFERQ-like binding motif on substrate proteins. Using human Y chromosome antigen DBY, we showed that mutation of one of its 2 putative binding motifs markedly diminished T cell activation after indirect presentation and reduced protein-protein interaction with HSC70. Intercellular antigen transfer was shown to be independent of cell-cell contact, but relied on engulfment within secreted microvesicles. In vivo, alterations of the homologous KFERQ-like motif in murine DBY hampered tumor rejection, T cell activation, and migration into the tumor and substantially impaired survival. Collectively, we show that intercellular antigen transfer of DBY is tightly regulated via binding to HSC70 and that this mechanism influences recognition and rejection of MHC-II–negative tumors in vivo.
Sascha Kretschmann, Stefanie Herda, Heiko Bruns, Josefine Russ, Edith D. van der Meijden, Ursula Schlötzer-Schrehardt, Marieke Griffioen, Il-Kang Na, Andreas Mackensen, Anita N. Kremer
Cancer therapy is a double-edged sword, as surgery and chemotherapy can induce an inflammatory/immunosuppressive injury response that promotes dormancy escape and tumor recurrence. We hypothesized that these events could be altered by early blockade of the inflammatory cascade and/or by accelerating the resolution of inflammation. Preoperative, but not postoperative, administration of the nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug ketorolac and/or resolvins, a family of specialized proresolving autacoid mediators, eliminated micrometastases in multiple tumor-resection models, resulting in long-term survival. Ketorolac unleashed anticancer T cell immunity that was augmented by immune checkpoint blockade, negated by adjuvant chemotherapy, and dependent on inhibition of the COX-1/thromboxane A2 (TXA2) pathway. Preoperative stimulation of inflammation resolution via resolvins (RvD2, RvD3, and RvD4) inhibited metastases and induced T cell responses. Ketorolac and resolvins exhibited synergistic antitumor activity and prevented surgery- or chemotherapy-induced dormancy escape. Thus, simultaneously blocking the ensuing proinflammatory response and activating endogenous resolution programs before surgery may eliminate micrometastases and reduce tumor recurrence.
Dipak Panigrahy, Allison Gartung, Jun Yang, Haixia Yang, Molly M. Gilligan, Megan L. Sulciner, Swati S. Bhasin, Diane R. Bielenberg, Jaimie Chang, Birgitta A. Schmidt, Julia Piwowarski, Anna Fishbein, Dulce Soler-Ferran, Matthew A. Sparks, Steven J. Staffa, Vidula Sukhatme, Bruce D. Hammock, Mark W. Kieran, Sui Huang, Manoj Bhasin, Charles N. Serhan, Vikas P. Sukhatme
Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) results from hematopoietic stem cell transformation by the BCR-ABL kinase. Despite the success of BCR-ABL tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) in treating CML patients, leukemia stem cells (LSCs) resist elimination and persist as a major barrier to cure. Previous studies suggest that overexpression of the sirtuin 1 (SIRT1) deacetylase may contribute to LSC maintenance in CML. Here, by genetically deleting SIRT1 in transgenic CML mice, we definitively demonstrated an important role for SIRT1 in leukemia development. We identified a previously unrecognized role for SIRT1 in mediating increased mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation in CML LSCs. We showed that mitochondrial alterations were kinase independent and that TKI treatment enhanced inhibition of CML hematopoiesis in SIRT1-deleted mice. We further showed that the SIRT1 substrate PGC-1α contributed to increased oxidative phosphorylation and TKI resistance in CML LSCs. These results reveal an important role for SIRT1 and downstream signaling mechanisms in altered mitochondrial respiration in CML LSCs.
Ajay Abraham, Shaowei Qiu, Balu K. Chacko, Hui Li, Andrew Paterson, Jianbo He, Puneet Agarwal, Mansi Shah, Robert Welner, Victor M. Darley-Usmar, Ravi Bhatia