How to Hit Mesenchymal Stromal Cells and Make the Tumor Microenvironment Immunostimulant Rather Than Immunosuppressive.
ABSTRACT: Experimental evidence indicates that mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) may regulate tumor microenvironment (TME). It is conceivable that the interaction with MSC can influence neoplastic cell functional behavior, remodeling TME and generating a tumor cell niche that supports tissue neovascularization, tumor invasion and metastasization. In addition, MSC can release transforming growth factor-beta that is involved in the epithelial-mesenchymal transition of carcinoma cells; this transition is essential to give rise to aggressive tumor cells and favor cancer progression. Also, MSC can both affect the anti-tumor immune response and limit drug availability surrounding tumor cells, thus creating a sort of barrier. This mechanism, in principle, should limit tumor expansion but, on the contrary, often leads to the impairment of the immune system-mediated recognition of tumor cells. Furthermore, the cross-talk between MSC and anti-tumor lymphocytes of the innate and adaptive arms of the immune system strongly drives TME to become immunosuppressive. Indeed, MSC can trigger the generation of several types of regulatory cells which block immune response and eventually impair the elimination of tumor cells. Based on these considerations, it should be possible to favor the anti-tumor immune response acting on TME. First, we will review the molecular mechanisms involved in MSC-mediated regulation of immune response. Second, we will focus on the experimental data supporting that it is possible to convert TME from immunosuppressive to immunostimulant, specifically targeting MSC.
Project description:The tumor microenvironment (TME) plays a critical role in tumorigenesis and is composed of different cellular components, including immune cells and mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs). In this review, we will discuss MSCs in the TME setting and more specifically their interactions with immune cells and how they can both inhibit (immunosurveillance) and favor (immunoediting) tumor growth. We will also discuss how MSCs are used as a therapeutic strategy in cancer. Due to their unique immunomodulatory properties, MSCs isolated from perinatal tissues are intensely explored as therapeutic interventions in various inflammatory-based disorders with promising results. However, their therapeutic applications in cancer remain for the most part controversial and, importantly, the interactions between administered perinatal MSC and immune cells in the TME remain to be clearly defined.
Project description:Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) targeting immune checkpoint proteins, such as CTLA-4 and PD-1/PD-L1, have demonstrated remarkable and durable clinical responses in various cancer types. However, a considerable number of patients receiving ICIs eventually experience a relapse due to diverse resistance mechanisms. As a result, there have been increasing research efforts to elucidate the molecular mechanisms behind resistance to ICIs and improve patient outcomes. There is growing evidence that the dysregulated metabolic activity of tumor cells generates an immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment (TME) that orchestrates an impaired anti-tumor immune response. Notably, the immunosuppressive TME is characterized by nutrient shortage, hypoxia, an acidic extracellular milieu, and abundant immunosuppressive molecules. A detailed understanding of the TME remains a major challenge in mounting a more effective anti-tumor immune response. Herein, we discuss how tumor cells reprogram metabolism to modulate a pro-tumor TME, driving disease progression and immune evasion; in particular, we highlight potential approaches to target metabolic vulnerabilities in the context of anti-tumor immunotherapy.
Project description:The immune system has many sophisticated mechanisms to balance an extensive immune response. Distinct immunosuppressive cells could protect from excessive tissue damage and autoimmune disorders. Tumor cells take an advantage of those immunosuppressive mechanisms and establish a strongly immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment (TME), which inhibits antitumor immune responses, supporting the disease progression. Myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC) play a crucial role in this immunosuppressive TME. Those cells represent a heterogeneous population of immature myeloid cells with a strong immunosuppressive potential. They inhibit an antitumor reactivity of T cells and NK cells. Furthermore, they promote angiogenesis, establish pre-metastatic niches, and recruit other immunosuppressive cells such as regulatory T cells. Accumulating evidences demonstrated that the enrichment and activation of MDSC correlated with tumor progression, recurrence, and negative clinical outcome. In the last few years, various preclinical studies and clinical trials targeting MDSC showed promising results. In this review, we discuss different therapeutic approaches on MDSC targeting to overcome immunosuppressive TME and enhance the efficiency of current tumor immunotherapies.
Project description:Owing to the fast-paced growth and cross-infiltration of oncology, immunology and molecular biology, tumor immunotherapy technology represented by immune checkpoint blockade and chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapy has lately made remarkable advancements. In comparison with traditional chemotherapy, immunotherapy has the potential to elicit a stronger sustained antitumor immune response in those patients who have advanced malignant malignancies. In spite of the advancements made, a significant number of clinical research works have validated that an extensive proportion of cancer patients still manifest insensitivity to immunotherapy, primarily because of the immunomodulatory interactions between tumor cells and the immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment (TME), together mediating the immune tolerance of tumors and accordingly impacting the positive response to immunotherapy. The intricate immunosuppressive networks formed by stromal cells, inflammatory cells, vasculature, extracellular matrix (ECM), and their secreted cytokines in the TME, play a pivotal role in tumor immune escape. Specific blocking of inhibition pathways in the TME is expected to effectively prevent immune escape and tolerance of tumor cells in addition to their metastasis, accordingly improving the antitumor immune response at various phases of tumor growth. Emerging nanoscale targeted drug carriers truly suit this specific requirement due to their specificity, biocompatibility, and convenience of production. This review emphasizes recent attempts to remodel the tumor immune microenvironment using novel nanoparticles, which include specifically eliminating immunosuppressive cells, reprogramming immune regulatory cells, promoting inflammatory cytokines and blocking immune checkpoints. Targeted remodeling of the immunosuppressive TME using well-designed and fabricated nanoparticles provides a promising strategy for improving the effectiveness of current immunotherapy and is greatly significant.
Project description:A hallmark of cancer is the ability of tumor cells to avoid immune destruction. Activated immune cells in tumor microenvironment (TME) secrete proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines which foster the proliferation of tumor cells. Specific antigens expressed by cancer cells are recognized by the main actors of immune response that are involved in their elimination (immunosurveillance). By the recruitment of immunosuppressive cells, decreasing the tumor immunogenicity, or through other immunosuppressive mechanisms, tumors can impair the host immune cells within the TME and escape their surveillance. Within the TME, cells of the innate (e.g., macrophages, mast cells, neutrophils) and the adaptive (e.g., lymphocytes) immune responses are interconnected with epithelial cancer cells, fibroblasts, and endothelial cells via cytokines, chemokines, and adipocytokines. The molecular pattern of cytokines and chemokines has a key role and could explain the involvement of the immune system in tumor initiation and progression. Thyroid cancer-related inflammation is an important target for diagnostic procedures and novel therapeutic strategies. Anticancer immunotherapy, especially immune checkpoint inhibitors, unleashes the immune system and activates cytotoxic lymphocytes to kill cancer cells. A better knowledge of the molecular and immunological characteristics of TME will allow novel and more effective immunotherapeutic strategies in advanced thyroid cancer.
Project description:The clinical success of cancer immunotherapies targeting PD-1 and CTLA-4 has ignited a substantial research effort to improve our understanding of tumor immunity. Recent studies have revealed that the immune contexture of a tumor influences therapeutic response and survival benefit for cancer patients. Identifying treatment modalities that limit immunosuppression, relieve T cell exhaustion, and potentiate effector functions in the tumor microenvironment (TME) is of much interest. In particular, combinatorial therapeutic approaches that re-educate the TME by limiting the accumulation of immunosuppressive immune cells, such as Foxp3 regulatory T cells (Tregs) and tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs), while promoting CD8+ and CD4+ effector T cell activity is critical. Here, we review key approaches to target these immunosuppressive immune cell subsets and signaling molecules and define the impact of these changes to the tumor milieu. We will highlight the preclinical and clinical evidence for their ability to improve anti-tumor immune responses as well as strategies and challenges for their implementation. Together, this review will provide understanding of therapeutic approaches to efficiently shape the TME and reinvigorate the immune response against cancer.
Project description:The tumor microenvironment (TME) provides necessary nutrition for tumor growth and recruits immunosuppressive factors including regulatory T cells and myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) to inhibit the anti-tumor immune response induced by immunotherapy. As a main TME component, cancer associated fibroblasts (CAFs) can restrain T cell infiltration and activity through extracellular matrix remodeling. Vaccines targeting fibroblast-activating protein ? (FAP?), which is mainly expressed on the CAF surface, can eliminate CAFs in tumors and regulate the TME, enhancing the potency of T cell-mediated anti-tumor effects. However, the anti-tumor effects were not fully realized as the tumor induces a large number of peripheral MDSCs during its growth, rendering the body of mice in an immunosuppressive state and preventing the vaccine from inducing effective anti-tumor immune responses. Here, we developed a dual-targeted DNA vaccine OsFS, targeting tumor matrix antigen FAP? and tumor cell antigen survivin simultaneously, exhibited enhanced antineoplastic effects in an established breast cancer model. Moreover, doxorubicin (Dox) pretreatment to remove the peripheral MDSCs induced to regulate the peripheral immune environment could further facilitate the anti-tumor activity of the vaccine. These results indicated that combination treatment of the tumor cells and the TME dual-targeting vaccine plus Dox could effectively realize the anti-tumor activity of the vaccine by decreasing immunosuppressive factors and inducing more tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes, which may offer important guidance for clinical research regarding the combination of the DNA vaccine with low-dose Dox.
Project description:Immunotherapies have become the backbone of cancer treatment. Among them, chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells have demonstrated great success in the treatment of hematological malignancies. However, CAR T therapy against solid tumors is less effective. Antigen targeting; an immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment (TME); and the infiltration, proliferation, and persistence of CAR T cells are the predominant barriers preventing the extension of CAR T therapy to solid tumors. To circumvent these obstacles, the next-generation CAR T cells will require more potent antitumor properties, which can be achieved by gene-editing technology. In this review, we summarize innovative strategies to enhance CAR T cell function by improving target identification, persistence, trafficking, and overcoming the suppressive TME. The construction of multi-target CAR T cells improves antigen recognition and reduces immune escape. Enhancing CAR T cell proliferation and persistence can be achieved by optimizing costimulatory signals and overexpressing cytokines. CAR T cells equipped with chemokines or chemokine receptors help overcome their poor homing to tumor sites. Strategies like knocking out immune checkpoint molecules, incorporating dominant negative receptors, and chimeric switch receptors can favor the depletion or reversal of negative T cell regulators in the TME.
Project description:The prostate tumor microenvironment (TME) is strongly immunosuppressive; it is largely driven by alteration in cell phenotypes (i.e. tumor-associated macrophages and exhausted cytotoxic T cells) that result in pro-tumorigenic conditions and tumor growth. A greater understanding into how these altered immune cell phenotypes are developed and could potentially be reversed would provide important insights into improved treatment efficacy for prostate cancer. Here, we report a microfluidic model of the prostate TME that mimics prostate ducts across various stages of prostate cancer progression, with associated stroma and immune cells. Using this platform, we exposed immune cells to a benign prostate TME or a metastatic prostate TME and investigated their metabolism, gene and cytokine expression. Immune cells exposed to the metastatic TME showed metabolic differences with a higher redox ratio indicating a switch to a more glycolytic metabolic profile. These cells also increased expression of pro-tumor response cytokines that have been shown to increase cell migration and angiogenesis such as Interleukin-1 (IL-1) a and Granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF). Lastly, we observed decreased TLR, STAT signaling and TRAIL expression, suggesting that phenotypes derived from exposure to the metastatic TME could have an impaired anti-tumor response. This platform could provide a valuable tool for studying immune cell phenotypes in in vitro tumor microenvironments.
Project description:The tumour microenvironment (TME) is an important factor in determining the growth and metastasis of colorectal cancer, and can aid tumours by both establishing an immunosuppressive milieu, allowing the tumour avoid immune clearance, and by hampering the efficacy of various therapeutic regimens. The tumour microenvironment is composed of many cell types including tumour, stromal, endothelial and immune cell populations. It is widely accepted that cells present in the TME acquire distinct functional phenotypes that promote tumorigenesis. One such cell type is the mesenchymal stromal cell (MSC). Evidence suggests that MSCs exert effects in the colorectal tumour microenvironment including the promotion of angiogenesis, invasion and metastasis. MSCs immunomodulatory capacity may represent another largely unexplored central feature of MSCs tumour promoting capacity. There is considerable evidence to suggest that MSCs and their secreted factors can influence the innate and adaptive immune responses. MSC-immune cell interactions can skew the proliferation and functional activity of T-cells, dendritic cells, natural killer cells and macrophages, which could favour tumour growth and enable tumours to evade immune cell clearance. A better understanding of the interactions between the malignant cancer cell and stromal components of the TME is key to the development of more specific and efficacious therapies for colorectal cancer. Here, we review and explore MSC- mediated mechanisms of suppressing anti-tumour immune responses in the colon tumour microenvironment. Elucidation of the precise mechanism of immunomodulation exerted by tumour-educated MSCs is critical to inhibiting immunosuppression and immune evasion established by the TME, thus providing an opportunity for targeted and efficacious immunotherapy for colorectal cancer growth and metastasis.