Multifunctional Nanoregulator Reshapes Immune Microenvironment and Enhances Immune Memory for Tumor Immunotherapy.
ABSTRACT: Hypoxia leads to up-regulation of PD-L1 and decreases T lymphocyte infiltration, thus boosting immunotherapeutic resistance of tumors. Moreover, tumor-infiltrating myeloid cells such as myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) correlate with potent immune suppressive activity and resistance to the immune checkpoint blocking (ICB) in tumor sites. Here, a multifunctional nanoregulator incorporating MnO2 particles and small molecular IPI549 is developed, which can reshape the tumor immune microenvironment (TIME) to unleash the immune system. The intravenously administered nanoregulator effectively accumulates in tumor sites to alleviate hypoxia via oxygen-generating reduction of MnO2 and to inhibit PI3K? on MDSCs via IPI549 release in the tumor microenvironment (TME), which results in concurrent downregulation of PD-L1 expression, polarization of tumor associated macrophages (TAMs) toward pro-inflammatory M1-like phenotype (tumor-suppressive), enhanced infiltration of CD4+ helper T lymphocytes (Th cells), and cytotoxic CD8+ T lymphocytes (Tc cells), and suppressed infiltration of regulatory T lymphocytes (Treg cells) for effective tumor immunotherapy. Furthermore, the local generation of Mn2+ in TME allows tumor-specific magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). More excitingly, the nanoregulator-reshaped TIME is effectively reserved due to the synergistic effect of hypoxia alleviation and MDSC PI3K? inhibition, leading to remarkable post-medication inhibition of tumor re-growth and metastasis in an animal study.
Project description:In cancers with tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs), monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) that block immune checkpoints such as CTLA-4 and PD-1/PD-L1 promote antitumor T-cell immunity. Unfortunately, most cancers fail to respond to single-agent immunotherapies. T regulatory cells, myeloid derived suppressor cells (MDSCs), and extensive stromal networks within the tumor microenvironment (TME) dampen antitumor immune responses by preventing T-cell infiltration and/or activation. Few studies have explored combinations of immune-checkpoint antibodies that target multiple suppressive cell populations within the TME, and fewer have studied the combinations of both agonist and antagonist mAbs on changes within the TME. Here, we test the hypothesis that combining a T-cell-inducing vaccine with both a PD-1 antagonist and CD40 agonist mAbs (triple therapy) will induce T-cell priming and TIL activation in mouse models of nonimmunogenic solid malignancies. In an orthotopic breast cancer model and both subcutaneous and metastatic pancreatic cancer mouse models, only triple therapy was able to eradicate most tumors. The survival benefit was accompanied by significant tumor infiltration of IFN?-, Granzyme B-, and TNF?-secreting effector T cells. Further characterization of immune populations was carried out by high-dimensional flow-cytometric clustering analysis and visualized by t-distributed stochastic neighbor embedding (t-SNE). Triple therapy also resulted in increased infiltration of dendritic cells, maturation of antigen-presenting cells, and a significant decrease in granulocytic MDSCs. These studies reveal that combination CD40 agonist and PD-1 antagonist mAbs reprogram immune resistant tumors in favor of antitumor immunity.
Project description:Hypoxia plays an extensive role in the development of the tumor microenvironment (TME), particularly in mediating immunosuppression. Respiratory hyperoxia therapy has the potential to improve the effects of conventional cancer therapies via molecular mechanisms mediating antitumor immunity. Here, we investigated whether hyperoxia therapy can restore tumor immunity and inhibit lung metastases in a mouse model of triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) by treating a 4T1 mammary carcinoma mouse model with normoxia (21% oxygen) or hyperoxia (60% oxygen) therapy, after tumor development. Using flow cytometry analysis, we observed significant organ-specific expansion of myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) and protein expression upregulation of the programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) in the hypoxic TME of 4T1 tumor-bearing mice maintained under normoxia conditions, with the TME converting to a T-cell immune-suppressive state as early as the premetastatic phase. Markedly, hyperoxia treatments ameliorated hypoxia levels in the lung TME and decreased the proportion of MDSCs and the expression of PD-L1 in both the primary tumor and in the metastatic lung, when compared to animals treated with respiratory normoxia therapy. In addition, the number of lung metastatic nodes fell from 90 per lung in the normoxic treated group to 13 per lung in the hyperoxic treated group (<i>P</i> < 0.05), with the latter having limited hyperoxia effects on primary tumor growth (mammary glands). Notably, hyperoxia therapy was characterized by the differential recruitment of CD4<sup>+</sup> and CD8<sup>+</sup> T-cells. Thus, our study confirms that hyperoxia therapy may be used to overcome TME immunosuppression and control the extend of lung metastases in TNBC. Importantly, changes in immunosuppressive MDSCs frequency and PD-L1 expression levels may serve as biomarkers of hypoxia levels in cancer affected tissues that can benefit from hyperoxia treatments.
Project description:Tumor-infiltrating myeloid cells such as myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) and tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) form an important component of the hypoxic tumor microenvironment. Here, we investigated the influence of hypoxia on immune checkpoint receptors (programmed death [PD]-1 and CTLA-4) and their respective ligands (PD-1 ligand 1 [PD-L1], PD-L2, CD80, and CD86) on MDSCs. We demonstrate that MDSCs at the tumor site show a differential expression of PD-L1 as compared with MDSCs from peripheral lymphoid organ (spleen). Hypoxia caused a rapid, dramatic, and selective up-regulation of PD-L1 on splenic MDSCs in tumor-bearing mice. This was not limited to MDSCs, as hypoxia also significantly increased the expression of PD-L1 on macrophages, dendritic cells, and tumor cells. Furthermore, PD-L1 up-regulation under hypoxia was dependent on hypoxia-inducible factor-1? (HIF-1?) but not HIF-2?. Chromatin immunoprecipitation and luciferase reporter assay revealed direct binding of HIF-1? to a transcriptionally active hypoxia-response element (HRE) in the PD-L1 proximal promoter. Blockade of PD-L1 under hypoxia enhanced MDSC-mediated T cell activation and was accompanied by the down-regulation of MDSCs IL-6 and IL-10. Finally, neutralizing antibodies against IL-10 under hypoxia significantly abrogated the suppressive activity of MDSCs. Simultaneous blockade of PD-L1 along with inhibition of HIF-1? may thus represent a novel approach for cancer immunotherapy.
Project description:Immune-checkpoint inhibition (ICI) has revolutionized treatment in cancers that are naturally immunogenic by enabling infiltration of T cells into the tumor microenvironment (TME) and promoting cytotoxic signaling pathways. Tumors possessing complex immunosuppressive TMEs such as breast and pancreatic cancers present unique therapeutic obstacles as response rates to ICI remain low. Such tumors often recruit myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs), whose functioning prohibits both T-cell activation and infiltration. We attempted to sensitize these tumors to ICI using epigenetic modulation to target MDSC trafficking and function to foster a less immunosuppressive TME. We showed that combining a histone deacetylase inhibitor, entinostat (ENT), with anti-PD-1, anti-CTLA-4, or both significantly improved tumor-free survival in both the HER2/neu transgenic breast cancer and the Panc02 metastatic pancreatic cancer mouse models. Using flow cytometry, gene-expression profiling, and ex vivo functional assays, we characterized populations of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) and MDSCs, as well as their functional capabilities. We showed that addition of ENT to checkpoint inhibition led to significantly decreased suppression by granulocytic MDSCs in the TME of both tumor types. We also demonstrated an increase in activated granzyme-B-producing CD8+ T effector cells in mice treated with combination therapy. Gene-expression profiling of both MDSCs and TILs identified significant changes in immune-related pathways. In summary, addition of ENT to ICI significantly altered infiltration and function of innate immune cells, allowing for a more robust adaptive immune response. These findings provide a rationale for combination therapy in patients with immune-resistant tumors, including breast and pancreatic cancers.
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:A wide-range of myeloid-derived suppressor cell (MDSC)-mediated immune suppressive functions has previously been described. Nevertheless, potential novel mechanisms by which MDSCs aid tumor progression are, in all likelihood, still unrecognized. Next to its well-known expression in natural killer cells and cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs), granzyme B (GzmB) expression has been found in different cell types. In an MDSC culture model, we demonstrated perforin and GzmB expression. Furthermore, similar observations were made in MDSCs isolated from tumor-bearing mice. Even in MDSCs from humans, GzmB expression was demonstrated. Of note, B16F10 melanoma cells co-cultured with perforin/GzmB knock out mice (KO) MDSCs displayed a remarkable decrease in invasive potential. B16F10 melanoma cells co-injected with KO MDSCs, displayed a significant slower growth curve compared to tumor cells co-injected with wild type (WT) MDSCs. In vivo absence of perforin/GzmB in MDSCs resulted in a higher number of CD8+ T-cells. Despite this change in favor of CD8+ T-cell infiltration, we observed low interferon-γ (IFN-γ) and high programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) expression, suggesting that other immunosuppressive mechanisms render these CD8+ T-cells dysfunctional. Taken together, our results suggest that GzmB expression in MDSCs is another means to promote tumor growth and warrants further investigation to unravel the exact underlying mechanism.
Project description:Tumor microenvironment (TME) promotes immune suppression through recruiting and expanding suppressive immune cells such as regulatory T cells (Tregs) to facilitate cancer progression. In this study, we identify a novel CD39+ ??Treg in human colorectal cancer (CRC). CD39+ ??Tregs are the predominant regulatory T cells and have more potent immunosuppressive activity than CD4+ or CD8+ Tregs via the adenosine-mediated pathway but independent of TGF-? or IL-10. They also secrete cytokines including IL-17A and GM-CSF, which may chemoattract myeloid-derived suppressive cells (MDSCs), thus establishing an immunosuppressive network. We further demonstrate that tumor-derived TGF-?1 induces CD39+ ??T cells from paired normal colon tissues to produce more adenosine and become potent immunosuppressive T cells. Moreover, CD39+ ??Treg infiltration is positively correlated with TNM stage and other unfavorable clinicopathological features, implicating that CD39+ ??Tregs are one of the key players in establishment of immunosuppressive TME in human CRC that may be critical for tumor immunotherapy.
Project description:Herein, an intelligent biodegradable hollow manganese dioxide (H-MnO2) nano-platform is developed for not only tumor microenvironment (TME)-specific imaging and on-demand drug release, but also modulation of hypoxic TME to enhance cancer therapy, resulting in comprehensive effects favoring anti-tumor immune responses. With hollow structures, H-MnO2 nanoshells post modification with polyethylene glycol (PEG) could be co-loaded with a photodynamic agent chlorine e6 (Ce6), and a chemotherapy drug doxorubicin (DOX). The obtained H-MnO2-PEG/C&D would be dissociated under reduced pH within TME to release loaded therapeutic molecules, and in the meantime induce decomposition of tumor endogenous H2O2 to relieve tumor hypoxia. As a result, a remarkable in vivo synergistic therapeutic effect is achieved through the combined chemo-photodynamic therapy, which simultaneously triggers a series of anti-tumor immune responses. Its further combination with checkpoint-blockade therapy would lead to inhibition of tumors at distant sites, promising for tumor metastasis treatment.MnO2 nanostructures are promising TME-responsive theranostic agents in cancer. Here, the authors develop a nano-platform based on hollow H-MnO2 nanoshells able to modulate the tissue microenvironment, release a drug and inhibit tumor growth alone or in combination with check-point blockade therapy.
Project description:Tumor hypoxia, acidosis, and excessive reactive oxygen species (ROS) were the main characteristics of the bladder tumor microenvironment (TME), and abnormal TME led to autophagy activation, which facilitated cancer cell proliferation. The therapeutic efficacy of autophagy inhibitors might also be impeded by abnormal TME. To address these issues, we proposed a new strategy that utilized manganese dioxide (MnO2) nanoparticles to optimize the abnormal TME and revitalize autophagy inhibitors, and both oxygenation and autophagy inhibition may sensitize the tumor cells to radiation therapy. Methods: By taking advantage of the strong affinity between negatively charged MnO2 and positively charged chloroquine (CQ), the nanoparticles were fabricated by integrating MnO2 and CQ in human serum albumin (HSA)-based nanoplatform (HSA-MnO2-CQ NPs). Results: HSA-MnO2-CQ NPs NPs efficiently generated O2 and increased pH in vitro after reaction with H+/H2O2 and then released the encapsulated CQ in a H+/H2O2 concentration-dependent manner. The NPs restored the autophagy-inhibiting activity of chloroquine in acidic conditions by increasing its intracellular uptake, and markedly blocked hypoxia-induced autophagic flux. In vivo studies showed the NPs improved pharmacokinetic behavior of chloroquine and effectively accumulated in tumor tissues. The NPs exhibited significantly decreased tumor hypoxia areas and increased tumor pH, and had remarkable autophagy inhibition efficacy on bladder tumors. Finally, a significant anti-tumor effect achieved by the enhanced autophagy inhibition and radiation sensitization. Conclusions: HSA-MnO2-CQ NPs synergistically regulated the abnormal TME and inhibited autophagic flux, and effectively sensitized radiation therapy to treat bladder cancers.
Project description:Immunotherapy (IMT) is now a core component of cancer treatment, however, many patients do not respond to these novel therapies. Investigating the resistance mechanisms behind this differential response is now a critical area of research. Immune-based therapies, particularly immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICI), rely on a robust infiltration of T-cells into the tumor microenvironment (TME) for an effective response. While early efforts relied on quantifying tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL) in the TME, characterizing the functional quality and degree of TIL exhaustion correlates more strongly with ICI response. Even with sufficient TME infiltration, immune cells face a harsh metabolic environment that can significantly impair effector function. These tumor-mediated metabolic perturbations include hypoxia, oxidative stress, and metabolites of cellular energetics. Primarily through HIF-1-dependent processes, hypoxia invokes an immunosuppressive phenotype via altered molecular markers, immune cell trafficking, and angiogenesis. Additionally, oxidative stress can promote lipid peroxidation, ER stress, and Treg dysfunction, all associated with immune dysregulation. Finally, the metabolic byproducts of lipids, amino acids, glucose, and cellular energetics are associated with immunosuppression and ICI resistance. This review will explore these biochemical pathways linked to immune cell dysfunction in the TME and highlight potential adjunctive therapies to be used alongside current IMT.