CD8+ T cells regulate tumour ferroptosis during cancer immunotherapy.
ABSTRACT: Cancer immunotherapy restores or enhances the effector function of CD8+ T cells in the tumour microenvironment1,2. CD8+ T cells activated by cancer immunotherapy clear tumours mainly by inducing cell death through perforin-granzyme and Fas-Fas ligand pathways3,4. Ferroptosis is a form of cell death that differs from apoptosis and results from iron-dependent accumulation of lipid peroxide5,6. Although it has been investigated in vitro7,8, there is emerging evidence that ferroptosis might be implicated in a variety of pathological scenarios9,10. It is unclear whether, and how, ferroptosis is involved in T cell immunity and cancer immunotherapy. Here we show that immunotherapy-activated CD8+ T cells enhance ferroptosis-specific lipid peroxidation in tumour cells, and that increased ferroptosis contributes to the anti-tumour efficacy of immunotherapy. Mechanistically, interferon gamma (IFN?) released from CD8+ T cells downregulates the expression of SLC3A2 and SLC7A11, two subunits of the glutamate-cystine antiporter system xc-, impairs the uptake of cystine by tumour cells, and as a consequence, promotes tumour cell lipid peroxidation and ferroptosis. In mouse models, depletion of cystine or cysteine by cyst(e)inase (an engineered enzyme that degrades both cystine and cysteine) in combination with checkpoint blockade synergistically enhanced T cell-mediated anti-tumour immunity and induced ferroptosis in tumour cells. Expression of system xc- was negatively associated, in cancer patients, with CD8+ T cell signature, IFN? expression, and patient outcome. Analyses of human transcriptomes before and during nivolumab therapy revealed that clinical benefits correlate with reduced expression of SLC3A2 and increased IFN? and CD8. Thus, T cell-promoted tumour ferroptosis is an anti-tumour mechanism, and targeting this pathway in combination with checkpoint blockade is a potential therapeutic approach.
Project description:CD8+ T cells activated by cancer immunotherapy execute tumor clearance mainly by inducing cell death through perforin-granzyme- and Fas/Fas ligand-pathways. Ferroptosis is a form of cell death that differs from apoptosis and results from iron-dependent lipid peroxide accumulation. Although it was mechanistically illuminated in vitro, emerging evidence has shown that ferroptosis may be implicated in a variety of pathological scenarios. However, the involvement of ferroptosis in T cell immunity and cancer immunotherapy is unknown. Here, we find that immunotherapy-activated CD8+ T cells enhance ferroptosis-specific lipid peroxidation in tumor cells, and in turn, increased ferroptosis contributes to the anti-tumor efficacy of immunotherapy. Mechanistically, IFNg released from CD8+ T cells downregulates expression of SLC3A2 and SLC7A11, two subunits of glutamate-cystine antiporter system xc-, restrains tumor cell cystine uptake, and as a consequence, promotes tumor cell lipid peroxidation and ferroptosis. In preclinical models, depletion of cyst(e)ine by cyst(e)inase in combination with checkpoint blockade synergistically enhances T cell-mediated anti-tumor immunity and induces tumor cell ferroptosis. Thus, T cell-promoted tumor ferroptosis is a novel anti-tumor mechanism. Targeting tumor ferroptosis pathway constitutes a therapeutic approach in combination with checkpoint blockade. Overall design: Human HT-1080 mRNA profiles treated by IFNg for 8 hours was determined by RNA-Seq.
Project description:A challenge in oncology is to rationally and effectively integrate immunotherapy with traditional modalities, including radiotherapy. Here, we demonstrate that radiotherapy induces tumor-cell ferroptosis. Ferroptosis agonists augment and ferroptosis antagonists limit radiotherapy efficacy in tumor models. Immunotherapy sensitizes tumors to radiotherapy by promoting tumor-cell ferroptosis. Mechanistically, IFN? derived from immunotherapy-activated CD8+ T cells and radiotherapy-activated ATM independently, yet synergistically, suppresses SLC7A11, a unit of the glutamate-cystine antiporter xc-, resulting in reduced cystine uptake, enhanced tumor lipid oxidation and ferroptosis, and improved tumor control. Thus, ferroptosis is an unappreciated mechanism and focus for the development of effective combinatorial cancer therapy. SIGNIFICANCE: This article describes ferroptosis as a previously unappreciated mechanism of action for radiotherapy. Further, it shows that ferroptosis is a novel point of synergy between immunotherapy and radiotherapy. Finally, it nominates SLC7A11, a critical regulator of ferroptosis, as a mechanistic determinant of synergy between radiotherapy and immunotherapy.This article is highlighted in the In This Issue feature, p. 1631.
Project description:Ferroptosis, implicated in several diseases, is a new form of programmed and nonapoptotic cell death triggered by iron-dependent lipid peroxidation after inactivation of the cystine/glutamate antiporter system xc-, which is composed of solute carrier family 7 membrane 11 (SLC7A11) and solute carrier family 3 membrane 2 (SLC3A2). Therefore, inducing ferroptosis through inhibiting the cystine/glutamate antiporter system xc- may be an effective way to treat cancer. In previous screening tests, we found that the benzopyran derivative 2-imino-6-methoxy-2H-chromene-3-carbothioamide (IMCA) significantly inhibited the viability of colorectal cancer cells. However, the impact of IMCA on ferroptosis remains unknown. Hence, this study investigated the effect of IMCA on ferroptosis and elucidated the underlying molecular mechanism. Results showed that IMCA significantly inhibited the cell viability of colorectal cancer cells in vitro and inhibited tumor growth with negligible organ toxicity in vivo. Further studies showed that IMCA significantly induced the ferroptosis of colorectal cancer cells. Mechanistically, IMCA downregulated the expression of SLC7A11 and decreased the contents of cysteine and glutathione, which resulted in reactive oxygen species accumulation and ferroptosis. Furthermore, overexpression of SLC7A11 significantly attenuated the ferroptosis caused by IMCA. In addition, IMCA regulated the activity of the AMPK/mTOR/p70S6k signaling pathway, which is related to the activity of SLC7A11 and ferroptosis. Collectively, our research provided experimental evidences on the activity and mechanism of ferroptosis induced by IMCA and revealed that IMCA might be a promising therapeutic drug for colorectal cancer.
Project description:Although p53-mediated cell-cycle arrest, senescence and apoptosis serve as critical barriers to cancer development, emerging evidence suggests that the metabolic activities of p53 are also important. Here we show that p53 inhibits cystine uptake and sensitizes cells to ferroptosis, a non-apoptotic form of cell death, by repressing expression of SLC7A11, a key component of the cystine/glutamate antiporter. Notably, p53(3KR), an acetylation-defective mutant that fails to induce cell-cycle arrest, senescence and apoptosis, fully retains the ability to regulate SLC7A11 expression and induce ferroptosis upon reactive oxygen species (ROS)-induced stress. Analysis of mutant mice shows that these non-canonical p53 activities contribute to embryonic development and the lethality associated with loss of Mdm2. Moreover, SLC7A11 is highly expressed in human tumours, and its overexpression inhibits ROS-induced ferroptosis and abrogates p53(3KR)-mediated tumour growth suppression in xenograft models. Our findings uncover a new mode of tumour suppression based on p53 regulation of cystine metabolism, ROS responses and ferroptosis.
Project description:Clinical response to immunotherapy is closely associated with the immunosuppressive tumour microenvironment (TME), and influenced by the dynamic interaction between tumour cells and lymphatic endothelial cells (LECs). Here, we show that high levels of miR-142-5p positively correlate with indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) expression in tumour-associated lymphatic vessels in advanced cervical squamous cell carcinoma (CSCC). The miR-142-5p is transferred by CSCC-secreted exosomes into LECs to exhaust CD8<sup>+</sup> T cells via the up-regulation of lymphatic IDO expression, which was abrogated by an IDO inhibitor. Mechanistically, miR-142-5p directly down-regulates lymphatic AT-rich interactive domain-containing protein 2 (ARID2) expression, inhibits DNA methyltransferase 1 (DNMT1) recruitment to interferon (IFN)-? promoter, and enhances IFN-? transcription by suppressing promoter methylation, thereby leading to elevated IDO activity. Furthermore, increased serum exosomal miR-142-5p levels and the consequent IDO activity positively correlate with CSCC progression. In conclusion, exosomes secreted by CSCC cells deliver miR-142-5p to LECs and induce IDO expression via ARID2-DNMT1-IFN-? signalling to suppress and exhaust CD8<sup>+</sup> T cells. Our study suggests that LECs act as an integral component of the immune checkpoint(s) in the TME and may serve as a potential new target for CSCC diagnosis and treatment.
Project description:Both anti-PD1/PD-L1 therapy and oncolytic virotherapy have demonstrated promise, yet have exhibited efficacy in only a small fraction of cancer patients. Here we hypothesized that an oncolytic poxvirus would attract T cells into the tumour, and induce PD-L1 expression in cancer and immune cells, leading to more susceptible targets for anti-PD-L1 immunotherapy. Our results demonstrate in colon and ovarian cancer models that an oncolytic vaccinia virus attracts effector T cells and induces PD-L1 expression on both cancer and immune cells in the tumour. The dual therapy reduces PD-L1<sup>+</sup> cells and facilitates non-redundant tumour infiltration of effector CD8<sup>+</sup>, CD4<sup>+</sup> T cells, with increased IFN-γ, ICOS, granzyme B and perforin expression. Furthermore, the treatment reduces the virus-induced PD-L1<sup>+</sup> DC, MDSC, TAM and Treg, as well as co-inhibitory molecules-double-positive, severely exhausted PD-1<sup>+</sup>CD8<sup>+</sup> T cells, leading to reduced tumour burden and improved survival. This combinatorial therapy may be applicable to a much wider population of cancer patients.
Project description:Immunotherapy has emerged as a promising and effective treatment for cancer, yet the clinical benefit is still variable, in part due to insufficient accumulation of immune effector cells in the tumour microenvironment. Better understanding of tumour-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) from nonhuman primate tumours could provide insights into improving effector cell accumulation in tumour tissues during immunotherapy. Here, we characterize TILs in a cynomolgus macaque tumour model in which the tumours were infiltrated with CD4<sup>+</sup> and CD8<sup>+</sup> T cells and were eventually rejected. The majority of CD4<sup>+</sup> and CD8<sup>+</sup> TILs exhibited a CD45RA<sup>-</sup>CCR7<sup>-</sup> effector memory phenotype, but unlike circulating T cells, they expressed CD69, a marker for tissue-resident memory T (T<sub>RM</sub>) cells. CD69-expressing CD8<sup>+</sup> TILs expressed high levels of the cytotoxic molecule granzyme B and the co-inhibitory receptor PD-1. Consistent with the T<sub>RM</sub> cell phenotype, CD8<sup>+</sup> TILs minimally expressed CX3CR1 but expressed CXCR3 at higher levels than circulating CD8<sup>+</sup> T cells. Meanwhile, CXCL9, CXCL10 and CXCL11, chemokine ligands for CXCR3, were expressed at high levels in the tumours, thus attracting CXCR3<sup>+</sup>CD8<sup>+</sup> T cells. These results indicate that tumour-transplanted macaques can be a useful preclinical model for studying and optimizing T cell accumulation in tumours for the development of new immunotherapies.
Project description:Ultraviolet (UV) radiation-induced tumours carry a high mutational load, are highly immunogenic, and often fail to grow when transplanted into normal, syngeneic mice. The aim of this study was to investigate factors critical for the immune-mediated rejection of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). In our rejection model, transplanted SCC establish and grow in mice immunosuppressed with tacrolimus. When tacrolimus is withdrawn, established SCC tumours subsequently undergo immune-mediated tumour rejection. Through the depletion of individual immune subsets at the time of tacrolimus withdrawal, we established a critical role for CD8<sup>+</sup> T cells, but not CD4<sup>+</sup> T cells, γδ T cells, or NK cells, in driving the regression of SCC. Regression was critically dependent on IFN-γ, although IFN-γ was not directly cytotoxic to SCC cells. IFN-γ-neutralisation abrogated SCC regression, significantly reduced CD8<sup>+</sup> T cell-infiltration into SCC, and significantly impaired the secretion of CXCL9, CXCL10 and CCL5 within the tumour microenvironment. A strong positive correlation was revealed between CXCL10 expression and CD8<sup>+</sup> T cell abundance in tumours. Indeed, blockade of the CXCL10 receptor CXCR3 at the time of tacrolimus withdrawal prevented CD8<sup>+</sup> T cell infiltration and the regression of SCC. Chimeric models revealed an important role for immune cells as producers of IFN-γ, but not as recipients of IFN-γ signals via the IFN-γ receptor. Together, these findings suggest a key role for IFN-γ in driving the expression of chemokines within the tumour environment essential for the destruction of established SCC by CD8<sup>+</sup> T cells.
Project description:The roles and regulatory mechanisms of ferroptosis (a non-apoptotic form of cell death) in cancer remain unclear. The tumour suppressor BRCA1-associated protein 1 (BAP1) encodes a nuclear deubiquitinating enzyme to reduce histone 2A ubiquitination (H2Aub) on chromatin. Here, integrated transcriptomic, epigenomic and cancer genomic analyses link BAP1 to metabolism-related biological processes, and identify cystine transporter SLC7A11 as a key BAP1 target gene in human cancers. Functional studies reveal that BAP1 decreases H2Aub occupancy on the SLC7A11 promoter and represses SLC7A11 expression in a deubiquitinating-dependent manner, and that BAP1 inhibits cystine uptake by repressing SLC7A11 expression, leading to elevated lipid peroxidation and ferroptosis. Furthermore, we show that BAP1 inhibits tumour development partly through SLC7A11 and ferroptosis, and that cancer-associated BAP1 mutants lose their abilities to repress SLC7A11 and to promote ferroptosis. Together, our results uncover a previously unappreciated epigenetic mechanism coupling ferroptosis to tumour suppression.
Project description:Effector T cells and fibroblasts are major components in the tumor microenvironment. The means through which these cellular interactions affect chemoresistance is unclear. Here, we show that fibroblasts diminish nuclear accumulation of platinum in ovarian cancer cells, resulting in resistance to platinum-based chemotherapy. We demonstrate that glutathione and cysteine released by fibroblasts contribute to this resistance. CD8(+) T cells abolish the resistance by altering glutathione and cystine metabolism in fibroblasts. CD8(+) T-cell-derived interferon (IFN)? controls fibroblast glutathione and cysteine through upregulation of gamma-glutamyltransferases and transcriptional repression of system xc(-) cystine and glutamate antiporter via the JAK/STAT1 pathway. The presence of stromal fibroblasts and CD8(+) T cells is negatively and positively associated with ovarian cancer patient survival, respectively. Thus, our work uncovers a mode of action for effector T cells: they abrogate stromal-mediated chemoresistance. Capitalizing upon the interplay between chemotherapy and immunotherapy holds high potential for cancer treatment.