Hyper-IL-15 suppresses metastatic and autochthonous liver cancer by promoting tumour-specific CD8+ T cell responses.
ABSTRACT: Liver cancer has a very dismal prognosis due to lack of effective therapy. Here, we studied the therapeutic effects of hyper-interleukin15 (hyper-IL-15), which is composed of IL-15 and the sushi domain of the IL-15 receptor ? chain, on metastatic and autochthonous liver cancers.Liver metastatic tumour models were established by intraportally injecting syngeneic mice with murine CT26 colon carcinoma cells or B16-OVA melanoma cells. Primary hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) was induced by diethylnitrosamine (DEN). A hydrodynamics-based gene delivery method was used to achieve sustained hyper-IL-15 expression in the liver.Liver gene delivery of hyper-IL-15 robustly expanded CD8(+) T and NK cells, leading to a long-term (more than 40 days) accumulation of CD8(+) T cells in vivo, especially in the liver. Hyper-IL-15 treatment exerted remarkable therapeutic effects on well-established liver metastatic tumours and even on DEN-induced autochthonous HCC, and these effects were abolished by depletion of CD8(+) T cells but not NK cells. Hyper-IL-15 triggered IL-12 and interferon-? production and reduced the expression of co-inhibitory molecules on dendritic cells in the liver. Adoptive transfer of T cell receptor (TCR) transgenic OT-1 cells showed that hyper-IL-15 preferentially expanded tumour-specific CD8(+) T cells and promoted their interferon-? synthesis and cytotoxicity.Liver delivery of hyper-IL-15 provides an effective therapy against well-established metastatic and autochthonous liver cancers in mouse models by preferentially expanding tumour-specific CD8(+) T cells and promoting their anti-tumour effects.
Project description:Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a typical inflammation-associated cancer, but may also provoke antitumour immune responses whose significance and underlying mechanisms are incompletely understood.To characterise immune responses in the diethylnitrosamine (DEN)-liver cancer mouse model.Tumour development and immune cell functions upon DEN treatment were compared between C57BL/6 wild-type (WT), chemokine scavenging receptor D6-deficient, B cell- (Igh6), CD4 T cell- (MHC-II) and T-/B cell-deficient (Rag1) mice. Relevance for human HCC was tested by comparing gene array results from 139 HCC tissues.The induction of premalignant lesions after 24 weeks and of HCC-like tumours after 42 weeks by DEN in mice was accompanied by significant leucocyte infiltration in the liver and upregulation of distinct intrahepatic chemokines (CCL2, CCL5, CXCL9). Macrophages and CD8 (cytotoxic) T cells were most prominently enriched in tumour-bearing livers, similar to samples from human HCC. Myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC) increased in extrahepatic compartments of DEN-treated mice (bone marrow, spleen). The contribution of immune cell subsets for DEN-induced hepatocarcinogenesis was functionally dissected. In D6(-/-) mice, which lack the chemokine scavenging receptor D6, hepatic macrophage infiltration was significantly increased, but tumour formation and progression did not differ from that of WT mice. In contrast, progression of hepatic tumours (numbers, diameters, tumour load) was strikingly enhanced in T-/B cell-deficient Rag1(-/-) mice upon DEN treatment. When mice deficient for B cells (Igh6(-/-), ?MT) or major histocompatibility complex II were used, the data indicated that T cells prevent initial tumour formation, while B cells critically limit growth of established tumours. Accordingly, in tumour-bearing mice antibody production against liver-related model antigen was enhanced, indicating tumour-associated B cell activation. In agreement, T and B cell pathways were differentially regulated in gene array analyses from 139 human HCC tissues and significantly associated with patients' survival.Distinct axes of the adaptive immune system, which are also prognostic in human HCC, actively suppress DEN-induced hepatocarcinogenesis by controlling tumour formation and progression.
Project description:Gehua Jiecheng Decoction (GHJCD), a famous traditional Chinese medicine, has been used in the prevention and treatment of precancerous lesion of liver cancer, but its active mechanism has not been reported. This study aimed to evaluate the therapeutic effect of GHJCD on diethylnitrosamine (DEN)-induced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in mice and the mechanism of this effect. We found that GHJCD effectively inhibited the occurrence of liver cancer and reduced the tumor area. The ratio of regulatory cells (Tregs), tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs), and myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) in HCC microenvironment was down-regulated, whereas that of CD8 T and effective CD8 T cells was up-regulated. In addition, the expression levels of inflammatory factors IL-6, IL-10, TNF-?, and CCL-2 in the liver were inhibited, whereas those of the angiogenesis related molecules CD31 and VEGF were decreased. Moreover, WNT1, ?-catenin, NF-kB, p-MAPK, p-AKT, and p-SRC content in the liver decreased, whereas APC content increased. These results suggested that GHJCD exerted a good inhibitory effect on liver cancer induced by DEN and thus may have a multi-target effect; GHJCD not only antagonized the immunosuppressive effect of the microenvironment of liver cancer but also exerted strong anti-inflammatory and antiangiogenesis effects.
Project description:Aberrant cell death/survival has a critical role in the development of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Caspase-2, a cell death protease, limits oxidative stress and chromosomal instability. To study its role in reactive oxygen species (ROS) and DNA damage-induced liver cancer, we assessed diethylnitrosamine (DEN)-mediated tumour development in caspase-2-deficient (Casp2(-/-)) mice. Following DEN injection in young animals, tumour development was monitored for 10 months. We found that DEN-treated Casp2(-/-) mice have dramatically elevated tumour burden and accelerated tumour progression with increased incidence of HCC, accompanied by higher oxidative damage and inflammation. Furthermore, following acute DEN injection, liver injury, DNA damage, inflammatory cytokine release and hepatocyte proliferation were enhanced in mice lacking caspase-2. Our study demonstrates for the first time that caspase-2 limits the progression of tumourigenesis induced by an ROS producing and DNA damaging reagent. Our findings suggest that after initial DEN-induced DNA damage, caspase-2 may remove aberrant cells to limit liver damage and disease progression. We propose that Casp2(-/-) mice, which are more susceptible to genomic instability, are limited in their ability to respond to DNA damage and thus carry more damaged cells resulting in accelerated tumourigenesis.
Project description:The tumour microenvironment consists of malignant cells, stroma and immune cells. In women with large and locally advanced breast cancers (LLABCs) undergoing neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC), tumour-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs), various subsets (effector, regulatory) and cytokines in the primary tumour play a key role in the induction of tumour cell death and a pathological complete response (pCR) with NAC. Their contribution to a pCR in nodal metastases, however, is poorly studied and was investigated.Axillary lymph nodes (ALNs) (24 with and 9 without metastases) from women with LLABCs undergoing NAC were immunohistochemically assessed for TILs, T effector and regulatory cell subsets, NK cells and cytokine expression using labelled antibodies, employing established semi-quantitative methods. IBM SPSS statistical package (21v) was used. Non-parametric (paired and unpaired) statistical analyses were performed. Univariate and multivariate regression analyses were carried out to establish the prediction of a pCR and Spearman's Correlation Coefficient was used to determine the correlation of immune cell infiltrates in ALN metastatic and primary breast tumours.In ALN metastases high levels of TILs, CD4+ and CD8+ T and CD56+ NK cells were significantly associated with pCRs.. Significantly higher levels of Tregs (FOXP3+, CTLA-4+) and CD56+ NK cells were documented in ALN metastases than in the corresponding primary breast tumours. CD8+ T and CD56+ NK cells showed a positive correlation between metastatic and primary tumours. A high % CD8+ and low % FOXP3+ T cells and high CD8+: FOXP3+ ratio in metastatic ALNs (tumour-free para-cortex) were associated with pCRs. Metastatic ALNs expressed high IL-10, low IL-2 and IFN-?.Our study has provided new data characterising the possible contribution of T effector and regulatory cells and NK cells and T helper1 and 2 cytokines to tumour cell death associated with NAC in ALNs.The Trial was retrospectively registered. Study Registration Number is ISRCTN00407556 .
Project description:The liver provides a tolerogenic immune niche exploited by several highly prevalent pathogens as well as by primary and metastatic tumors. We have sampled healthy and hepatitis B virus (HBV)-infected human livers to probe for a subset of T cells specialized to overcome local constraints and mediate immunity. We characterize a population of T-betloEomesloBlimp-1hiHobitlo T cells found within the intrahepatic but not the circulating memory CD8 T cell pool expressing liver-homing/retention markers (CD69+CD103+ CXCR6+CXCR3+). These tissue-resident memory T cells (TRM) are preferentially expanded in patients with partial immune control of HBV infection and can remain in the liver after the resolution of infection, including compartmentalized responses against epitopes within all major HBV proteins. Sequential IL-15 or antigen exposure followed by TGF? induces liver-adapted TRM, including their signature high expression of exhaustion markers PD-1 and CD39. We suggest that these inhibitory molecules, together with paradoxically robust, rapid, cell-autonomous IL-2 and IFN? production, equip liver CD8 TRM to survive while exerting local noncytolytic hepatic immunosurveillance.
Project description:Interleukin-15 (IL-15) has significant potential in cancer immunotherapy as an activator of antitumor CD8 T and natural killer (NK) cells. The primary objectives of this trial were to determine safety, adverse event profile, dose-limiting toxicity, and maximum-tolerated dose of recombinant human IL-15 (rhIL-15) administered as a daily intravenous bolus infusion for 12 consecutive days in patients with metastatic malignancy.We performed a first in-human trial of Escherichia coli-produced rhIL-15. Bolus infusions of 3.0, 1.0, and 0.3 ?g/kg per day of IL-15 were administered for 12 consecutive days to patients with metastatic malignant melanoma or metastatic renal cell cancer.Flow cytometry of peripheral blood lymphocytes revealed dramatic efflux of NK and memory CD8 T cells from the circulating blood within minutes of IL-15 administration, followed by influx and hyperproliferation yielding 10-fold expansions of NK cells that ultimately returned to baseline. Up to 50-fold increases of serum levels of multiple inflammatory cytokines were observed. Dose-limiting toxicities observed in patients receiving 3.0 and 1.0 ?g/kg per day were grade 3 hypotension, thrombocytopenia, and elevations of ALT and AST, resulting in 0.3 ?g/kg per day being determined the maximum-tolerated dose. Indications of activity included clearance of lung lesions in two patients.IL-15 could be safely administered to patients with metastatic malignancy. IL-15 administration markedly altered homeostasis of lymphocyte subsets in blood, with NK cells and ?? cells most dramatically affected, followed by CD8 memory T cells. To reduce toxicity and increase efficacy, alternative dosing strategies have been initiated, including continuous intravenous infusions and subcutaneous IL-15 administration.
Project description:Western-style high fat, high sugar diets are associated with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and increased liver cancer risk. Sulforaphane from broccoli may protect against these. Previously we initiated broccoli feeding to mice prior to exposure to the hepatocarcinogen diethylnitrosamine (DEN), and saw protection against NAFLD and liver cancer. Here we administered DEN to unweaned mice, initiating broccoli feeding two weeks later, to determine if broccoli protects against cancer progression. Specifically, male 15-day-old C57BL/6J mice were given DEN and placed on a Western or Western+10%Broccoli diet from the age of 4 weeks through 7 months. Dietary broccoli decreased hepatic triacylglycerols, NAFLD, liver damage and tumour necrosis factor by month 5 without changing body weight or relative liver weight, but did not slow carcinogenesis, seen in 100% of mice. We conclude that broccoli, a good source of sulforaphane, slows progression of hepatic lipidosis, but not tumourigenesis in this robust model.
Project description:Activation of the hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-pathway in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) induces therapy resistant tumours, characterized by increased liver progenitor cell (LPCs) characteristics and poor prognosis. We previously reported corresponding results in mice with HCC in which hypoxia was mimicked by prolyl hydroxylase domain (PHD) inhibition. Here, we aimed at investigating whether induction of LPC characteristics occurs during the onset of hepatocarcinogenesis and if this is associated with activation of Notch signalling. Dietheylnitrosamine (DEN) was used to induce hepatic tumours in PHD2 haplodeficient (PHD2+/-) mice which were euthanized at 5, 10, 15 and 17 weeks following DEN during neoplastic transformation, before tumour formation. Neoplasia and mRNA expression of LPC and Notch markers were evaluated by histology and qPCR on isolated livers. PHD2 haplodeficiency resulted in enhanced expression of HIF target genes after 17 weeks of DEN compared to wild type (WT) littermates but had no effect on the onset of neoplastic transformation. The mRNA expression of Afp and Epcam was increased at all time points following DEN whereas CK19, Prom1 and Notch3 were increased after 17 weeks of DEN, without difference between PHD2+/- and WT mice. MDR1 mRNA expression was increased in all DEN treated mice compared to saline control with increased expression in PHD2+/- compared to WT from 15 weeks. These results indicate that the effects of PHD2 haplodeficiency on the expression of LPC and Notch markers manifest during tumour nodule formation and not early on during neoplastic transformation.
Project description:Interleukin-15 (IL-15) and its high affinity receptor interleukin-15 receptor alpha (IL-15R?) are widely expressed in immune cells and hepatic resident cells. IL-15 signaling has important functions in homeostasis of natural killer (NK), natural killer T (NKT) and cytotoxic T (CD8(+) T) cells, and in liver regeneration. We hypothesized that IL-15 has a protective role in liver fibrosis progression by maintaining NK cell homeostasis.Fibrosis was induced using two mechanistically distinct models. Congenic bone marrow transplantation was used to evaluate the contribution of IL-15 signaling from various compartments to NK, CD8(+) T and NKT cell homeostasis and fibrogenesis. The gene expression profile of hepatic stellate cell (HSC) from IL-15R? knockout (IL-15R?KO) mice and wild-type mice were captured using microarray analysis and validated in isolated HSC. Quantitative real-time PCR was used to assess repressors of collagen transcription.IL-15R?KO mice exhibited more fibrosis in both models. IL-15 signaling from specific types of hepatic cells had divergent roles in maintaining liver NK, CD8(+) T and NKT cells, with a direct and protective role on radio-resistant non-parenchymal cells beyond the control of NK homeostasis. HSCs isolated from IL-15R?KO mice demonstrated upregulation of collagen production. Finally, IL-15R?KO HSC with or without transforming growth factor beta (TGF-?) stimulation exhibited increased expression of fibrosis markers and decreased collagen transcription repressors expression.IL-15R? signaling has a direct anti-fibrotic effect independent of preserving NK homeostasis. These findings establish a rationale to further explore the anti-fibrotic potential of enhancing IL-15 signaling in HSCs.We investigated how a cellular protein, Interleukin-15 (IL-15), decreases the amount of scar tissue that is formed upon liver injury. We found that IL-15 and its receptor decrease the amount of scar tissue that is created by specialized liver cells (called stellate cells) and increase the number of a specific subgroup of immune cells (natural killer cells) that are known to eliminate stellate cells.GSE45612, GSE 68001 and GSE 25097.
Project description:Interleukin-15 (IL-15) is a cell growth-factor that regulates lymphocyte function and homeostasis. Its strong immunostimulatory activity coupled with an apparent lack of toxicity makes IL-15 an exciting candidate for cancer therapy, somehow limited by its short half-life in circulation. To increase IL-15 bioavailability we constructed a recombinant adeno-associated vector expressing murine IL-15 (AAV-mIL15) in the liver. Mice injected with AAV-mIL15 showed sustained and vector dose-dependent levels of IL-15/IL-15R? complexes in serum, production of IFN-? and activation of CD8+ T-cells and macrophages. The antitumoral efficacy of AAV-mIL15 was tested in a mouse model of metastatic colorectal cancer established by injection of MC38 cells. AAV-mIL15 treatment slightly inhibits MC38 tumor-growth and significantly increases the survival of mice. However, mIL-15 sustained expression was associated with development of side effects like hepatosplenomegaly, liver damage and the development of haematological stress, which results in the expansion of hematopoietic precursors in the bone marrow. To elucidate the mechanism, we treated IFN-? receptor-, RAG1-, CD1d- and µMT-deficient mice and performed adoptive transfer of bone marrow cells from WT mice to RAG1-defcient mice. We demonstrated that the side effects of murine IL-15 administration were mainly mediated by IFN-?-producing T-cells.IL-15 induces the activation and survival of effector immune cells that are necessary for its antitumoral activity; but, long-term exposure to IL-15 is associated with the development of important side effects mainly mediated by IFN-?-producing T-cells. Strategies to modulate T-cell activation should be combined with IL-15 administration to reduce secondary adverse events while maintaining its antitumoral effect.