Elevated expression of the chemokine receptor CCR4 in tumors is associated with poor prognosis in several cancers. Here, we have determined that CCR4 was highly expressed in human renal cell carcinoma (RCC) biopsies and observed abnormal levels of CCR4 ligands in RCC patient plasma. An antagonistic anti-CCR4 antibody had antitumor activity in the RENCA mouse model of RCC. CCR4 inhibition did not reduce the proportion of infiltrating leukocytes in the tumor microenvironment but altered the phenotype of myeloid cells, increased NK cell and Th1 cytokine levels, and reduced immature myeloid cell infiltrate and blood chemokine levels. In spite of prominent changes in the myeloid compartment, the anti-CCR4 antibody did not affect RENCA tumors in T cell–deficient mice, and treatment with an anti–class II MHC antibody abrogated its antitumor activity. We concluded that the effects of the anti-CCR4 antibody required the adaptive immune system and CD4+ T cells. Moreover, CCL17-induced IFN-γ production was reduced when Th1-polarized normal CD4+ T cells were exposed to the CCR4 ligand, evidencing the involvement of CCR4 in Th1/Th2 regulation. The anti-CCR4 antibody, alone or in combination with other immune modulators, is a potential treatment approach to human solid cancers with high levels of CCR4-expressing tumor-infiltrating leukocytes and abnormal plasma CCR4 ligand levels.
Chiara Berlato, Moddasar N. Khan, Tiziana Schioppa, Richard Thompson, Eleni Maniati, Anne Montfort, Maryam Jangani, Monica Canosa, Hagen Kulbe, Urs B. Hagemann, Alexander R. Duncan, Laura Fletcher, Robert W. Wilkinson, Thomas Powles, Sergio A. Quezada, Frances R. Balkwill
Compromised apoptotic signaling is a prerequisite for tumorigenesis. The design of effective therapies for cancer treatment depends on a comprehensive understanding of the mechanisms that govern cell survival. The antiapoptotic proteins of the BCL-2 family are key regulators of cell survival and are frequently overexpressed in malignancies, leading to increased cancer cell survival. Unlike BCL-2 and BCL-XL, the closest antiapoptotic relative BCL-W is required for spermatogenesis, but was considered dispensable for all other cell types. Here, however, we have exposed a critical role for BCL-W in B cell survival and lymphomagenesis. Loss of
Clare M. Adams, Annette S. Kim, Ramkrishna Mitra, John K. Choi, Jerald Z. Gong, Christine M. Eischen
Most patients who initially respond to treatment with the multi–tyrosine kinase inhibitor sunitinib eventually relapse. Therefore, developing a deeper understanding of the contribution of sunitinib’s numerous targets to the clinical response or to resistance is crucial. Here, we have shown that cancer cells respond to clinically relevant doses of sunitinib by enhancing the stability of the antiapoptotic protein MCL-1 and inducing mTORC1 signaling, thus evoking little cytotoxicity. Inhibition of MCL-1 or mTORC1 signaling sensitized cells to clinically relevant doses of sunitinib in vitro and was synergistic with sunitinib in impairing tumor growth in vivo, indicating that these responses are triggered as prosurvival mechanisms that enable cells to tolerate the cytotoxic effects of sunitinib. Furthermore, higher doses of sunitinib were cytotoxic, triggered a decline in MCL-1 levels, and inhibited mTORC1 signaling. Mechanistically, we determined that sunitinib modulates MCL-1 stability by affecting its proteasomal degradation. Dual modulation of MCL-1 stability at different dose ranges of sunitinib was due to differential effects on ERK and GSK3β activity, and the latter also accounted for dual modulation of mTORC1 activity. Finally, comparison of patient samples prior to and following sunitinib treatment suggested that increases in MCL-1 levels and mTORC1 activity correlate with resistance to sunitinib in patients.
Mohamed Elgendy, Amal Kamal Abdel-Aziz, Salvatore Lorenzo Renne, Viviana Bornaghi, Giuseppe Procopio, Maurizio Colecchia, Ravindran Kanesvaran, Chee Keong Toh, Daniela Bossi, Isabella Pallavicini, Jose Luis Perez-Gracia, Maria Dolores Lozano, Valeria Giandomenico, Ciro Mercurio, Luisa Lanfrancone, Nicola Fazio, Franco Nole, Bin Tean Teh, Giuseppe Renne, Saverio Minucci
The AXL receptor and its activating ligand, growth arrest–specific 6 (GAS6), are important drivers of metastasis and therapeutic resistance in human cancers. Given the critical roles that GAS6 and AXL play in refractory disease, this signaling axis represents an attractive target for therapeutic intervention. However, the strong picomolar binding affinity between GAS6 and AXL and the promiscuity of small molecule inhibitors represent important challenges faced by current anti-AXL therapeutics. Here, we have addressed these obstacles by engineering a second-generation, high-affinity AXL decoy receptor with an apparent affinity of 93 femtomolar to GAS6. Our decoy receptor, MYD1-72, profoundly inhibited disease progression in aggressive preclinical models of human cancers and induced cell killing in leukemia cells. When directly compared with the most advanced anti-AXL small molecules in the clinic, MYD1-72 achieved superior antitumor efficacy while displaying no toxicity. Moreover, we uncovered a relationship between AXL and the cellular response to DNA damage whereby abrogation of AXL signaling leads to accumulation of the DNA-damage markers γH2AX, 53BP1, and RAD51. MYD1-72 exploited this relationship, leading to improvements upon the therapeutic index of current standard-of-care chemotherapies in preclinical models of advanced pancreatic and ovarian cancer.
Mihalis S. Kariolis, Yu Rebecca Miao, Anh Diep, Shannon E. Nash, Monica M. Olcina, Dadi Jiang, Douglas S. Jones II, Shiven Kapur, Irimpan I. Mathews, Albert C. Koong, Erinn B. Rankin, Jennifer R. Cochran, Amato J. Giaccia
Li-Fraumeni syndrome (LFS) is a cancer predisposition disorder caused by germline mutations in
Ping-yuan Wang, Jie Li, Farzana L. Walcott, Ju-Gyeong Kang, Matthew F. Starost, S. Lalith Talagala, Jie Zhuang, Ji-Hoon Park, Rebecca D. Huffstutler, Christina M. Bryla, Phuong L. Mai, Michael Pollak, Christina M. Annunziata, Sharon A. Savage, Antonio Tito Fojo, Paul M. Hwang
Tumor cells gain metastatic capacity through a Golgi phosphoprotein 3–dependent (GOLPH3-dependent) Golgi membrane dispersal process that drives the budding and transport of secretory vesicles. Whether Golgi dispersal underlies the pro-metastatic vesicular trafficking that is associated with epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) remains unclear. Here, we have shown that, rather than causing Golgi dispersal, EMT led to the formation of compact Golgi organelles with improved ribbon linking and cisternal stacking. Ectopic expression of the EMT-activating transcription factor ZEB1 stimulated Golgi compaction and relieved microRNA-mediated repression of the Golgi scaffolding protein PAQR11. Depletion of PAQR11 dispersed Golgi organelles and impaired anterograde vesicle transport to the plasma membrane as well as retrograde vesicle tethering to the Golgi. The N-terminal scaffolding domain of PAQR11 was associated with key regulators of Golgi compaction and vesicle transport in pull-down assays and was required to reconstitute Golgi compaction in PAQR11-deficient tumor cells. Finally, high PAQR11 levels were correlated with EMT and shorter survival in human cancers, and PAQR11 was found to be essential for tumor cell migration and metastasis in EMT-driven lung adenocarcinoma models. We conclude that EMT initiates a PAQR11-mediated Golgi compaction process that drives metastasis.
Xiaochao Tan, Priyam Banerjee, Hou-Fu Guo, Stephen Ireland, Daniela Pankova, Young-ho Ahn, Irodotos Michail Nikolaidis, Xin Liu, Yanbin Zhao, Yongming Xue, Alan R. Burns, Jonathon Roybal, Don L. Gibbons, Tomasz Zal, Chad J. Creighton, Daniel Ungar, Yanzhuang Wang, Jonathan M. Kurie
Mutations and deletions in components of ubiquitin ligase complexes that lead to alterations in protein turnover are important mechanisms in driving tumorigenesis. Here we describe an alternative mechanism involving upregulation of the microRNA miR-424 that leads to impaired ubiquitination and degradation of oncogenic transcription factors in prostate cancers. We found that miR-424 targets the E3 ubiquitin ligase COP1 and identified STAT3 as a key substrate of COP1 in promoting tumorigenic and cancer stem-like properties in prostate epithelial cells. Altered protein turnover due to impaired COP1 function led to accumulation and enhanced basal and cytokine-induced activity of STAT3. We further determined that loss of the ETS factor ESE3/EHF is the initial event that triggers the deregulation of the miR-424/COP1/STAT3 axis. COP1 silencing and STAT3 activation were effectively reverted by blocking of miR-424, suggesting a possible strategy to attack this key node of tumorigenesis in ESE3/EHF–deficient tumors. These results establish miR-424 as an oncogenic effector linked to noncanonical activation of STAT3 and as a potential therapeutic target.
Cecilia Dallavalle, Domenico Albino, Gianluca Civenni, Jessica Merulla, Paola Ostano, Maurizia Mello-Grand, Simona Rossi, Marco Losa, Gioacchino D’Ambrosio, Fausto Sessa, George N. Thalmann, Ramon Garcia-Escudero, Andrea Zitella, Giovanna Chiorino, Carlo V. Catapano, Giuseppina M. Carbone
Hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs) reside in the bone marrow. Stress signals from cancer and other conditions promote HSPC mobilization into circulation and subsequent homing to tissue microenvironments. HSPC infiltration into tissue microenvironments can influence disease progression; notably, in cancer, HSPCs encourage tumor growth. Here we have uncovered a mutually exclusive distribution of EPHB4 receptors in bone marrow sinusoids and ephrin B2 ligands in hematopoietic cells. We determined that signaling interactions between EPHB4 and ephrin B2 control HSPC mobilization from the bone marrow. In mice, blockade of the EPHB4/ephrin B2 signaling pathway reduced mobilization of HSPCs and other myeloid cells to the circulation. EPHB4/ephrin B2 blockade also reduced HSPC infiltration into tumors as well as tumor progression in murine models of melanoma and mammary cancer. These results identify EPHB4/ephrin B2 signaling as critical to HSPC mobilization from bone marrow and provide a potential strategy for reducing cancer progression by targeting the bone marrow.
Hyeongil Kwak, Ombretta Salvucci, Roberto Weigert, Jorge L. Martinez-Torrecuadrada, Mark Henkemeyer, Michael G. Poulos, Jason M. Butler, Giovanna Tosato
Natural killer (NK) cells can have potent antileukemic activity following haplo-mismatched, T cell–depleted stem cell transplantations for the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia (AML), but they are not successful in eradicating de novo AML. Here, we have used a mouse model of de novo AML to elucidate the mechanisms by which AML evades NK cell surveillance. NK cells in leukemic mice displayed a marked reduction in the cytolytic granules perforin and granzyme B. Further, as AML progressed, we noted the selective loss of an immature subset of NK cells in leukemic mice and in AML patients. This absence was not due to elimination by cell death or selective reduction in proliferation, but rather to the result of a block in NK cell differentiation. Indeed, NK cells from leukemic mice and humans with AML showed lower levels of TBET and EOMES, transcription factors that are critical for terminal NK cell differentiation. Further, the microRNA miR-29b, a regulator of T-bet and EOMES, was elevated in leukemic NK cells. Finally, deletion of miR-29b in NK cells reversed the depletion of this NK cell subset in leukemic mice. These results indicate that leukemic evasion of NK cell surveillance occurs through miR-mediated dysregulation of lymphocyte development, representing an additional mechanism of immune escape in cancer.
Bethany L. Mundy-Bosse, Steven D. Scoville, Li Chen, Kathleen McConnell, Hsiaoyin C. Mao, Elshafa H. Ahmed, Nicholas Zorko, Sophia Harvey, Jordan Cole, Xiaoli Zhang, Stefan Costinean, Carlo M. Croce, Karilyn Larkin, John C. Byrd, Sumithira Vasu, William Blum, Jianhua Yu, Aharon G. Freud, Michael A. Caligiuri
The rising success of cancer immunotherapy has produced immense interest in defining the clinical contexts that may benefit from this therapeutic approach. To this end, there is a need to ascertain how the therapeutic modulation of intrinsic cancer cell programs influences the anticancer immune response. For example, the role of autophagy as a tumor cell survival and metabolic fitness pathway is being therapeutically targeted in ongoing clinical trials that combine cancer therapies with antimalarial drugs for the treatment of a broad spectrum of cancers, many of which will likely benefit from immunotherapy. However, our current understanding of the interplay between autophagy and the immune response remains incomplete. Here, we have evaluated how autophagy inhibition impacts the antitumor immune response in immune-competent mouse models of melanoma and mammary cancer. We observed equivalent levels of T cell infiltration and function within autophagy-competent and -deficient tumors, even upon treatment with the anthracycline chemotherapeutic doxorubicin. Similarly, we found equivalent T cell responses upon systemic treatment of tumor-bearing mice with antimalarial drugs. Our findings demonstrate that antitumor adaptive immunity is not adversely impaired by autophagy inhibition in these models, allowing for the future possibility of combining autophagy inhibitors with immunotherapy in certain clinical contexts.
Hanna Starobinets, Jordan Ye, Miranda Broz, Kevin Barry, Juliet Goldsmith, Timothy Marsh, Fanya Rostker, Matthew Krummel, Jayanta Debnath