Targeting immune checkpoints potentiates immunoediting and changes the dynamics of tumor evolution.
ABSTRACT: The cancer immunoediting hypothesis postulates a dual role of the immune system: protecting the host by eliminating tumor cells, and shaping the tumor by editing its genome. Here, we elucidate the impact of evolutionary and immune-related forces on editing the tumor in a mouse model for hypermutated and microsatellite-instable colorectal cancer. Analyses of wild-type and immunodeficient RAG1 knockout mice transplanted with MC38 cells reveal that upregulation of checkpoint molecules and infiltration by Tregs are the major tumor escape mechanisms. Our results show that the effects of immunoediting are weak and that neutral accumulation of mutations dominates. Targeting the PD-1/PD-L1 pathway using immune checkpoint blocker effectively potentiates immunoediting. The immunoediting effects are less pronounced in the CT26 cell line, a non-hypermutated/microsatellite-instable model. Our study demonstrates that neutral evolution is another force that contributes to sculpting the tumor and that checkpoint blockade effectively enforces T-cell-dependent immunoselective pressure.
Project description:The immune system plays a dual role in tumor evolution-it can identify and control nascent tumor cells in a process called immunosurveillance and can promote tumor progression through immunosuppression via various mechanisms. Thus, bilateral host-protective and tumor-promoting actions of immunity are integrated as cancer immunoediting. In this decade, immune checkpoint inhibitors, specifically programmed cell death 1 (PD-1) pathway inhibitors, have changed the treatment paradigm of advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). These agents are approved for the treatment of patients with NSCLC and demonstrate impressive clinical activity and durable responses in some patients. However, for many NSCLC patients, the efficacy of immune checkpoint inhibitors is limited. To optimize the full utility of the immune system for eradicating cancer, a broader understanding of cancer immunosurveillance and immunoediting is essential. In this review, we discuss the fundamental knowledge of the phenomena and provide an overview of the next-generation immunotherapies in the pipeline.
Project description:In carcinogen-driven cancers, a high mutational burden results in neoepitopes that can be recognized immunologically. Such carcinogen-induced tumors may evade this immune response through "immunoediting," whereby tumors adapt to immune pressure and escape T cell-mediated killing. Many tumors lack a high neoepitope burden, and it remains unclear whether immunoediting occurs in such cases. Here, we evaluated T cell immunity in an autochthonous mouse model of pancreatic cancer and found a low mutational burden, absence of predicted neoepitopes derived from tumor mutations, and resistance to checkpoint immunotherapy. Spontaneous tumor progression was identical in the presence or absence of T cells. Moreover, tumors arising in T cell-depleted mice grew unchecked in immune-competent hosts. However, introduction of the neoantigen ovalbumin (OVA) led to tumor rejection and T cell memory, but this did not occur in OVA immune-tolerant mice. Thus, immunoediting does not occur in this mouse model - a likely consequence, not a cause, of absent neoepitopes. Because many human tumors also have a low missense mutational load and minimal neoepitope burden, our findings have clinical implications for the design of immunotherapy for patients with such tumors.
Project description:Cancer immunoediting explains the dual role by which the immune system can both suppress and/or promote tumor growth. Although cancer immunoediting was first demonstrated using mouse models of cancer, strong evidence that it occurs in human cancers is now accumulating. In particular, the importance of CD8+ T cells in cancer immunoediting has been shown, and more broadly in those tumors with an adaptive immune resistance phenotype. This Review describes the characteristics of the adaptive immune resistance tumor microenvironment and discusses data obtained in mouse and human settings. The role of other immune cells and factors influencing the effector function of tumor-specific CD8+ T cells is covered. We also discuss the temporal occurrence of cancer immunoediting in metastases and whether it differs from immunoediting in the primary tumor of origin.
Project description:Cancer immunoediting describes the process whereby highly immunogenic tumor cells are removed, or edited, from the primary tumor repertoire by the immune system. In immunodeficient mice, the editing process is hampered, and "unedited" tumor cells can be recovered and studied. In this study, we compared unedited and edited tumors for their expression of NK group 2D (NKG2D) ligands, a family of surface proteins expressed on tumor cells that can activate NK cell cytotoxic activity. We found that the expression of the NKG2D ligand H60a was more heterogeneous in groups of unedited 3'-methylcholanthrene sarcoma cell lines compared with that in edited 3'-methylcholanthrene sarcoma cell lines (i.e., some unedited cell lines expressed very high levels of H60a, whereas other unedited and edited cell lines expressed very low levels). We also found that some highly immunogenic cell lines displayed a bimodal distribution consisting of H60a-hi and H60a-lo cells. In one of these cell lines, the H60a-hi cells could be removed by passaging the cells through RAG2(-/-) mice, resulting in edited cell lines that were poor targets for NK cells and that displayed progressive tumor growth. This editing of H60a-hi cells required NK cells and NKG2D. Our studies show that the expression of H60a on tumors cells can be actively modulated by the immune system, thereby implicating this NKG2D ligand in tumor immunosurveillance.
Project description:Recent progress in cancer genome analysis using next-generation sequencing has revealed a high mutation burden in some tumors. The particularly high rate of somatic mutation in these tumors correlates with the generation of neo-antigens capable of eliciting an immune response. Identification of hypermutated tumors is therefore clinically valuable for selecting patients suitable for immunotherapy treatment. There are several known causes of hypermutation in tumors, such as ultraviolet light in melanoma, tobacco smoke in lung cancer, and excessive APOBEC (apolipoprotein B mRNA editing enzyme, catalytic polypeptide-like) activity in breast and gastric cancer. In gastrointestinal cancers, one of the leading causes of hypermutation is a defect in DNA mismatch repair, which results in microsatellite instability (MSI). This review will focus on the frequency, characteristics and genomic signature of hypermutated gastrointestinal cancers with MSI. Detection of tumor hypermutation in cancer is expected to not only predict the clinical benefit of immune checkpoint inhibitor treatment, but also to provide better surgical strategies for the patients with hypermutated tumors. Thus, in an era of precision medicine, identification of hypermutation and MSI will play an important role directing surgical and chemotherapeutic treatment.
Project description:Cancers evade the immune system in order to grow or metastasise through the process of cancer immunoediting. While checkpoint inhibitor therapy has been effective for reactivating tumour immunity in some cancers, many solid cancers, including breast cancer, remain largely non-responsive. Understanding the way non-responsive cancers evolve to evade immunity, what resistance pathways are activated and whether this occurs at the clonal level will improve immunotherapeutic design. We tracked cancer cell clones during the immunoediting process and determined clonal transcriptional profiles that allow immune evasion in murine mammary tumour growth in response to immunotherapy with anti-PD1 and anti-CTLA4. Clonal diversity was significantly restricted by immunotherapy treatment at both the primary and metastatic sites. These findings demonstrate that immunoediting selects for pre-existing breast cancer cell populations, that immunoediting is not a static process and is ongoing during metastasis and immunotherapy treatment. Isolation of immunotherapy resistant clones revealed unique and overlapping transcriptional signatures. The overlapping gene signature was predictive of poor survival in basal-like breast cancer patient cohorts. Some of these overlapping genes have existing small molecules which can be used to potentially improve immunotherapy response.
Project description:Evidence of cancer immunosurveillance and immunoediting processes has been primarily demonstrated in mouse models of chemically induced oncogenesis. Although these models are very tractable, they are characterized by high mutational loads that represent a minority of human cancers. In this study, we sought to determine whether cancer immunosurveillance and immunoediting could be demonstrated in a more clinically relevant oncogene-induced model of carcinogenesis, the MMTV-PyMT (PyMT) mammary carcinoma model. This model system in the FVB/NJ strain background was previously used to demonstrate that adaptive immunity had no role in limiting primary cancer formation and in fact promoted metastasis, thus calling into question whether cancer immunosurveillance operated in preventing the development of breast cancer. Our current study in the C57BL/6 strain backgrounds provides a different conclusion, as we report here the existence of an adaptive immunosurveillance of PyMT mammary carcinomas using two independent models of immune deficiency. PyMT mice bred onto a <i>Rag1</i><sup>-/-</sup> background or immune suppressed by chronic tacrolimus therapy both demonstrated accelerated development of mammary carcinomas. By generating a bank of cell lines from these animals, we further show that a subset of PyMT cell lines had delayed growth after transplantation into wild-type (WT) syngeneic, but not immune-deficient hosts. This reduced growth rate in immunocompetent animals was characterized by an increase in immune cell infiltration and tissue differentiation. Furthermore, loss of the immune cell infiltration that characterized immunoediting of slow growing cell lines, changed them into fast growing variants capable of progressing in the immunocompetent model. In conclusion, our study provides evidence that immunosurveillance and immunoediting of PyMT-derived cell lines modulate tumor progression in this oncogene-induced model of cancer.
Project description:PURPOSE:Cancer immunoediting shapes tumor progression by the selection of tumor cell variants that can evade immune recognition. Given the immune evasion and intratumor heterogeneity characteristic of gliomas, we hypothesized that CD8+ T cells mediate immunoediting in these tumors. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN:We developed retrovirus-induced PDGF+ Pten -/- murine gliomas and evaluated glioma progression and tumor immunogenicity in the absence of CD8+ T cells by depleting this immune cell population. Furthermore, we characterized the genomic alterations present in gliomas that developed in the presence and absence of CD8+ T cells. RESULTS:Upon transplantation, gliomas that developed in the absence of CD8+ T cells engrafted poorly in recipients with intact immunity but engrafted well in those with CD8+ T-cell depletion. In contrast, gliomas that developed under pressure from CD8+ T cells were able to fully engraft in both CD8+ T-cell-depleted mice and immunocompetent mice. Remarkably, gliomas developed in the absence of CD8+ T cells exhibited increased aneuploidy, MAPK pathway signaling, gene fusions, and macrophage/microglial infiltration, and showed a proinflammatory phenotype. MAPK activation correlated with macrophage/microglia recruitment in this model and in the human disease. CONCLUSIONS:Our studies indicate that, in these tumor models, CD8+ T cells influence glioma oncogenic pathways, tumor genotype, and immunogenicity. This suggests immunoediting of immunogenic tumor clones through their negative selection by CD8+ T cells during glioma formation.
Project description:Cancer immunoediting is a process by which immune cells, particularly lymphocytes of the adaptive immune system, protect the host from the development of cancer and alter tumour progression by driving the outgrowth of tumour cells with decreased sensitivity to immune attack. Carcinogen-induced mouse models of cancer have shown that primary tumour susceptibility is thereby enhanced in immune-compromised mice, whereas the capacity for such tumours to grow after transplantation into wild-type mice is reduced. However, many questions about the process of cancer immunoediting remain unanswered, in part because of the known antigenic complexity and heterogeneity of carcinogen-induced tumours. Here we adapted a genetically engineered, autochthonous mouse model of sarcomagenesis to investigate the process of cancer immunoediting. This system allows us to monitor the onset and growth of immunogenic and non-immunogenic tumours induced in situ that harbour identical genetic and histopathological characteristics. By comparing the development of such tumours in immune-competent mice with their development in mice with broad immunodeficiency or specific antigenic tolerance, we show that recognition of tumour-specific antigens by lymphocytes is critical for immunoediting against sarcomas. Furthermore, primary sarcomas were edited to become less immunogenic through the selective outgrowth of cells that were able to escape T lymphocyte attack. Loss of tumour antigen expression or presentation on major histocompatibility complex I was necessary and sufficient for this immunoediting process to occur. These results highlight the importance of tumour-specific-antigen expression in immune surveillance, and potentially, immunotherapy.