Regulatory T cells and myeloid-derived suppressor cells in the tumor microenvironment undergo Fas-dependent cell death during IL-2/?CD40 therapy.
ABSTRACT: Fas ligand expression in certain tumors has been proposed to contribute to immunosuppression and poor prognosis. However, immunotherapeutic approaches may elicit the Fas-mediated elimination of immunosuppressive regulatory T cells (Tregs) and myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) within tumors that represent major obstacles for cancer immunotherapy. Previously, we showed that IL-2 and agonistic CD40 Ab (?CD40) elicited synergistic antitumor responses coincident with the efficient removal of Tregs and MDSCs. We demonstrate in this study in two murine tumor models that Treg and MDSC loss within the tumor microenvironment after IL-2/?CD40 occurs through a Fas-dependent cell death pathway. Among tumor-infiltrating leukocytes, CD8(+) T cells, neutrophils, and immature myeloid cells expressed Fas ligand after treatment. Fas was expressed by tumor-associated Tregs and immature myeloid cells, including MDSCs. Tregs and MDSCs in the tumor microenvironment expressed active caspases after IL-2/?CD40 therapy and, in contrast with effector T cells, Tregs significantly downregulated Bcl-2 expression. In contrast, Tregs and MDSCs proliferated and expanded in the spleen after treatment. Adoptive transfer of Fas-deficient Tregs or MDSCs into wild-type, Treg-, or MDSC-depleted hosts resulted in the persistence of Tregs or MDSCs and the loss of antitumor efficacy in response to IL-2/?CD40. These results demonstrate the importance of Fas-mediated Treg/MDSC removal for successful antitumor immunotherapy. Our results suggest that immunotherapeutic strategies that include exploiting Treg and MDSC susceptibility to Fas-mediated apoptosis hold promise for treatment of cancer.
Project description:Immune tolerance to tumors is often associated with accumulation of myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC) and an increase in the number of T-regulatory cells (Treg). In tumor-bearing mice, MDSCs can themselves facilitate the generation of tumor-specific Tregs. In this study, we demonstrate that expression of the immune stimulatory receptor CD40 on MDSCs is required to induce T-cell tolerance and Treg accumulation. In an immune reconstitution model, adoptive transfer of Gr-1+CD115+ monocytic MDSCs derived from CD40-deficient mice failed to recapitulate the ability of wild-type MDSCs to induce tolerance and Treg development in vivo. Agonistic anti-CD40 antibodies phenocopied the effect of CD40 deficiency and also improved the therapeutic efficacy of IL-12 and 4-1BB immunotherapy in the treatment of advanced tumors. Our findings suggest that CD40 is essential not only for MDSC-mediated immune suppression but also for tumor-specific Treg expansion. Blockade of CD40-CD40L interaction between MDSC and Treg may provide a new strategy to ablate tumoral immune suppression and thereby heighten responses to immunotherapy.
Project description:Tumor-induced T-cell tolerance is a major mechanism that facilitates tumor progression and limits the efficacy of immune therapeutic interventions. Regulatory T cells (Treg) play a central role in the induction of tolerance to tumor antigens, yet the precise mechanisms regulating its induction in vivo remain to be elucidated. Using the A20 B-cell lymphoma model, here we identify myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC) as the tolerogenic antigen presenting cells capable of antigen uptake and presentation to tumor-specific Tregs. MDSC-mediated Treg induction requires arginase but is transforming growth factor-beta independent. In vitro and in vivo inhibition of MDSC function, respectively, with NOHA or sildenafil abrogates Treg proliferation and tumor-induced tolerance in antigen-specific T cells. These findings establish a role for MDSCs in antigen-specific tolerance induction through preferential antigen uptake mediating the recruitment and expansion of Tregs. Furthermore, therapeutic interventions, such as in vivo phosphodiesterase 5-inhibition, which effectively abrogate the immunosuppressive role of MDSCs and reduce Treg numbers, may play a critical role in delaying and/or reversing tolerance induction.
Project description:Short-course preoperative radiotherapy (SC-RT) followed by total mesorectal excision (TME) is one therapeutic option for locally advanced rectal cancer (LARC) patients. Since radio-induced DNA damage may affect tumor immunogenicity, Myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) and T regulatory cells (Tregs) were evaluated in 13 patients undergoing SC-RT and TME for LARC. Peripheral Granulocytic-MDSCs (G-MDSC) [LIN-/HLA-DR-/CD11b+/CD14-/CD15+/CD33+], Monocytic (M-MDSC) [CD14+/HLA-DR-/lowCD11b+/CD33+] and Tregs [CD4+/CD25hi+/FOXP3+- CTLA-4/PD1] basal value was significantly higher in LARC patients compared to healthy donors (HD). Peripheral MDSC and Tregs were evaluated at time 0 (T0), after 2 and 5 weeks (T2-T5) from radiotherapy; before surgery (T8) and 6-12 months after surgery (T9, T10). G-MDSC decreased at T5 and further at T8 while M-MDSC cells decreased at T5; Tregs reached the lowest value at T5. LARC poor responder patients displayed a major decrease in M-MDSC after SC-RT and an increase of Treg-PD-1. In this pilot study MDSCs and Tregs decrease during the SC-RT treatment could represent a biomarker of response in LARC patients. Further studies are needed to confirm that the deepest M-MDSC reduction and increase in Treg-PD1 cells within 5-8 weeks from the beginning of treatment could discriminate LARC patients poor responding to SC-RT.
Project description:Myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) accumulate in tumors and the peripheral blood of cancer patients and demonstrate cancer-promoting activity across multiple tumor types. A limited number of agents are known to impact MDSC activity. TLR8 is expressed in myeloid cells. We investigated expression of TLR8 on MDSC and the effect of a TLR8 agonist, motolimod, on MDSC survival and function. TLR8 was highly expressed in monocytic MDSC (mMDSC) but absent in granulocytic MDSC (gMDSC). Treatment of human PBMC with motolimod reduced the levels of mMDSC in volunteers and cancer donors versus control (P < 0.001). Motolimod did not impact levels of gMDSC. The reduction of mMDSC was due to induced cell death by TLR8 ligation. Pretreatment of PBMC with a FAS neutralizing antibody inhibited motolimod-induced reduction of mMDSC (P < 0.001). Finally, we demonstrated that mMDSC impeded IL-2 secretion by CD3/CD28-activated T cells; IL-2 secretion was partially restored when cells were cocultured with motolimod (142 ± 36 pg/ml vs. 59 ± 13 pg/ml; P = 0.03). There is increasing evidence that MDSCs contribute to the progression of cancer by inhibiting tumor-directed T cells. TLR8 agonists may synergize with cancer immunotherapeutic approaches to enhance the antitumor effects of the adaptive immune response.
Project description:PURPOSE:Myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC) and regulatory T cells (Treg) play a key role in the progression of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). On the basis of our preclinical data demonstrating that phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE5) inhibition can modulate these cell populations, we evaluated whether the PDE5 inhibitor tadalafil can revert tumor-induced immunosuppression and promote tumor immunity in patients with HNSCC. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN:First, we functionally and phenotypically characterized MDSCs in HNSCCs and determined, retrospectively, whether their presence at the tumor site correlates with recurrence. Then, we performed a prospective single-center, double-blinded, randomized, three-arm study in which patients with HNSCC undergoing definitive surgical resection of oral and oropharyngeal tumors were treated with tadalafil 10 mg/day, 20 mg/day, or placebo for at least 20 days preoperatively. Blood and tumor MDSC and Treg presence and CD8(+) T-cell reactivity to tumor antigens were evaluated before and after treatment. RESULTS:MDSCs were characterized in HNSCC and their intratumoral presence significantly correlates with recurrence. Tadalafil treatment was well tolerated and significantly reduced both MDSCs and Treg concentrations in the blood and in the tumor (P < 0.05). In addition, the concentration of blood CD8(+) T cells reactive to autologous tumor antigens significantly increased after treatment (P < 0.05). Tadalafil immunomodulatory activity was maximized at an intermediate dose but not at higher doses. Mechanistic analysis suggests a possible off-target effect on PDE11 at high dosages that, by increasing intracellular cAMP, may negatively affect antitumor immunity. CONCLUSIONS:Tadalafil seems to beneficially modulate the tumor micro- and macro-environment in patients with HNSCC by lowering MDSCs and Tregs and increasing tumor-specific CD8(+) T cells in a dose-dependent fashion.
Project description:Myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) are heterogeneous immature myeloid cells that accumulate in response to tumor progression. Compelling data from mouse models and human cancer patients showed that tumor-induced inflammatory mediators induce MDSC differentiation. However, the mechanisms underlying MDSC persistence is largely unknown. Here, we demonstrated that tumor-induced MDSCs exhibit significantly decreased spontaneous apoptosis as compared with myeloid cells with the same phenotypes from tumor-free mice. Consistent with the decreased apoptosis, cell surface Fas receptor decreased significantly in tumor-induced MDSCs. Screening for changes of key apoptosis mediators downstream the Fas receptor revealed that expression levels of IRF8 and Bax are diminished, whereas expression of Bcl-xL is increased in tumor-induced MDSCs. We further determined that IRF8 binds directly to Bax and Bcl-x promoter in primary myeloid cells in vivo, and IRF8-deficient MDSC-like cells also exhibit increased Bcl-xL and decreased Bax expression. Analysis of CD69 and CD25 levels revealed that cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) are partially activated in tumor-bearing hosts. Strikingly, FasL but not perforin and granzymes were selectively activated in CTLs in the tumor-bearing host. ABT-737 significantly increased the sensitivity of MDSCs to Fas-mediated apoptosis in vitro. More importantly, ABT-737 therapy increased MDSC spontaneous apoptosis and decreased MDSC accumulation in tumor-bearing mice. Our data thus determined that MDSCs use down-regulation of IRF8 to alter Bax and Bcl-xL expression to deregulate the Fas-mediated apoptosis pathway to evade elimination by host CTLs. Therefore, targeting Bcl-xL is potentially effective in suppression of MDSC persistence in cancer therapy.
Project description:Myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) are CD11b+Gr1+ cells that induce T-cell hyporesponsiveness, thus impairing antitumor immunity. We have previously reported that disruption of Pak2, a member of the p21-activated kinases (Paks), in hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells (HSPCs) induces myeloid lineage skewing and expansion of CD11bhighGr1high cells in mice. In this study, we confirmed that Pak2-KO CD11bhighGr1high cells suppressed T-cell proliferation, consistent with an MDSC phenotype. Loss of Pak2 function in HSPCs led to (1) increased hematopoietic progenitor cell sensitivity to granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) signaling, (2) increased MDSC proliferation, (3) decreased MDSC sensitivity to both intrinsic and Fas-Fas ligand-mediated apoptosis, and (4) promotion of MDSCs by Pak2-deficient CD4+ T cells that produced more interferon ?, tumor necrosis factor ?, and GM-CSF. Pak2 disruption activated STAT5 while downregulating the expression of IRF8, a well-described myeloid transcription factor. Together, our data reveal a previously unrecognized role of Pak2 in regulating MDSC development via both cell-intrinsic and extrinsic mechanisms. Our findings have potential translational implications, as the efficacy of targeting Paks in cancer therapeutics may be undermined by tumor escape from immune control and/or acceleration of tumorigenesis through MDSC expansion.
Project description:MDSCs and Tregs play an essential role in the immunosuppressive networks that contribute to tumor-immune evasion. The mechanisms by which tumors promote the expansion and/or function of these suppressive cells and the cross-talk between MDSC and Treg remain incompletely defined. Previous reports have suggested that MDSC may contribute to Treg induction in cancer. Herein, we provide evidence that tumor-induced gr-MDSCs, endowed with the potential of suppressing conventional T Lc, surprisingly impair TGF-?1-mediated generation of CD4(+)CD25(+)FoxP3(+) iTregs. Furthermore, gr-MDSCs impede the proliferation of nTregs without, however, affecting FoxP3 expression. Suppression of iTreg differentiation from naïve CD4(+) cells by gr-MDSC occurs early in the polarization process, requires inhibition of early T cell activation, and depends on ROS and IDO but does not require arginase 1, iNOS, NO, cystine/cysteine depletion, PD-1 and PD-L1 signaling, or COX-2. These findings thus indicate that gr-MDSCs from TB hosts have the unanticipated ability to restrict immunosuppressive Tregs.
Project description:Interleukin-10 (IL-10) is a broadly acting immune inhibitory cytokine that is generally thought to support tumor growth. Here we challenge this view with evidence that genetic ablation of IL-10 in the mouse significantly heightens sensitivity to chemical carcinogenesis, growth of transplanted tumors, and formation of metastases. Tumor growth in IL-10-deficient (IL-10(-/-)) mice was associated with an increased level of myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC) and CD4(+)Foxp3(+) regulatory T (Treg) cells in both the tumor microenvironment and the tumor-draining lymph nodes. IL-10(-/-) MDSCs express high levels of MHC and IL-1, and they efficiently induced formation of Treg cells. IL-1 signaling blockade reduced tumor growth mediated by IL-10 deficiency, associated with a partial rescue of tumor infiltration and function of effector T cells and a decrease in tumor angiogenesis and tumor infiltration by Treg cells. Taken together, our findings establish that endogenous IL-10 inhibits inflammatory cytokine production and hampers the development of Treg cells and MDSCs, two key components of the immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment, thereby inhibiting tumor development, growth, and metastasis.
Project description:Myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) promote tumor progression. The mechanisms of MDSC development during tumor growth remain unknown. Tumor exosomes (T-exosomes) have been implicated to play a role in immune regulation, however the role of exosomes in the induction of MDSCs is unclear. Our previous work demonstrated that exosomes isolated from tumor cells are taken up by bone marrow myeloid cells. Here, we extend those findings showing that exosomes isolated from T-exosomes switch the differentiation pathway of these myeloid cells to the MDSC pathway (CD11b(+)Gr-1(+)). The resulting cells exhibit MDSC phenotypic and functional characteristics including promotion of tumor growth. Furthermore, we demonstrated that in vivo MDSC mediated promotion of tumor progression is dependent on T-exosome prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) and TGF-beta molecules. T-exosomes can induce the accumulation of MDSCs expressing Cox2, IL-6, VEGF, and arginase-1. Antibodies against exosomal PGE2 and TGF-beta block the activity of these exosomes on MDSC induction and therefore attenuate MDSC-mediated tumor-promoting ability. Exosomal PGE2 and TGF-beta are enriched in T-exosomes when compared with exosomes isolated from the supernatants of cultured tumor cells (C-exosomes). The tumor microenvironment has an effect on the potency of T-exosome mediated induction of MDSCs by regulating the sorting and the amount of exosomal PGE2 and TGF-beta available. Together, these findings lend themselves to developing specific targetable therapeutic strategies to reduce or eliminate MDSC-induced immunosuppression and hence enhance host antitumor immunotherapy efficacy.