Checkpoint blockade antibodies have been approved as immunotherapy for multiple types of cancer, but the response rate and efficacy are still limited. There are few immunogenic cell death (ICD)-inducing drugs available that can kill cancer cells, enhance tumor immunogenicity, increase the in vivo immune infiltration, and thereby boosting a tumor response to immunotherapy. So far, the ICD markers have been identified as the few immuno-stimulating characteristics of dead cells, but whether the presence of such ICD markers on tumor cells translates into enhanced antitumor immunity in vivo is still investigational. To identify anticancer drugs that could induce tumor cell death and boost T cell response, we performed drug screenings based on both an ICD reporter assay and T cell activation assay. We identified that teniposide, a DNA topoisomerase II inhibitor, could induce high mobility group box 1 (HMGB1) release and type I interferon signaling in tumor cells, and teniposide-treated tumor cells could activate antitumor T cell response both in vitro and in vivo. Mechanistically, teniposide induced tumor cell DNA damage and innate immune signaling including NF-κB activation and STING-dependent type I interferon signaling, both of which contribute to the activation of dendritic cells and subsequent T cells. Furthermore, teniposide potentiated the antitumor efficacy of anti-PD1 on multiple types of mouse tumor models. Our findings showed that teniposide could trigger tumor immunogenicity, and enabled a potential chemo-immunotherapeutic approach to potentiate the therapeutic efficacy of anti-PD1 immunotherapy.
Zining Wang, Jiemin Chen, Jie Hu, Hongxia Zhang, Feifei Xu, Wenzhuo He, Xiaojuan Wang, Mengyun Li, Wenhua Lu, Gucheng Zeng, Penghui Zhou, Peng Huang, Siyu Chen, Wende Li, Liang-ping Xia, Xiaojun Xia
Cancer-associated mutations in the spliceosome gene SF3B1 create a neomorphic protein that produces aberrant mRNA splicing in hundreds of genes, but the ensuing biologic and therapeutic consequences of this missplicing are not well understood. Here we have provided evidence that aberrant splicing by mutant SF3B1 altered the transcriptome, proteome, and metabolome of human cells, leading to missplicing-associated downregulation of metabolic genes, decreased mitochondrial respiration, and suppression of the serine synthesis pathway. We also found that mutant SF3B1 induces vulnerability to deprivation of the nonessential amino acid serine, which was mediated by missplicing-associated downregulation of the serine synthesis pathway enzyme PHGDH. This vulnerability was manifest both in vitro and in vivo, as dietary restriction of serine and glycine in mice was able to inhibit the growth of SF3B1MUT xenografts. These findings describe a role for SF3B1 mutations in altered energy metabolism, and they offer a new therapeutic strategy against SF3B1MUT cancers.
W. Brian Dalton, Eric Helmenstine, Noel Walsh, Lukasz P. Gondek, Dhanashree S. Kelkar, Abigail Read, Rachael Natrajan, Eric S. Christenson, Barbara Roman, Samarjit Das, Liang Zhao, Robert D. Leone, Daniel Shinn, Taylor Groginski, Anil K. Madugundu, Arun Patil, Daniel J. Zabransky, Arielle Medford, Justin Lee, Alex J. Cole, Marc Rosen, Maya Thakar, Alexander Ambinder, Joshua Donaldson, Amy E. DeZern, Karen Cravero, David Chu, Rafael Madero-Marroquin, Akhilesh Pandey, Paula J. Hurley, Josh Lauring, Ben Park
Metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) is a heterogeneous disease with diverse drivers of disease progression and mechanisms of therapeutic resistance. We conducted deep phenotypic characterization of CRPC metastases and patient-derived xenograft (PDX) lines using whole genome RNA sequencing, gene set enrichment analysis and immunohistochemistry. Our analyses revealed five mCRPC phenotypes based on the expression of well-characterized androgen receptor (AR) or neuroendocrine (NE) genes: (i) AR-high tumors (ARPC), (ii) AR-low tumors (ARLPC), (iii) amphicrine tumors composed of cells co-expressing AR and NE genes (AMPC), (iv) double-negative tumors (i.e. AR-/NE-; DNPC) and (v) tumors with small cell or NE gene expression without AR activity (SCNPC). RE1-silencing transcription factor (REST) activity, which suppresses NE gene expression, was lost in AMPC and SCNPC PDX models. However, knockdown of REST in cell lines revealed that attenuated REST activity drives the AMPC phenotype but is not sufficient for SCNPC conversion. We also identified a subtype of DNPC tumors with squamous differentiation and generated an encompassing 26-gene transcriptional signature that distinguished the five mCRPC phenotypes. Together, our data highlight the central role of AR and REST in classifying treatment-resistant mCRPC phenotypes. These molecular classifications could potentially guide future therapeutic studies and clinical trial design.
Mark P. Labrecque, Ilsa M. Coleman, Lisha G. Brown, Lawrence D. True, Lori Kollath, Bryce Lakely, Holly M. Nguyen, Yu C. Yang, Rui M. Gil da Costa, Arja Kaipainen, Roger Coleman, Celestia S. Higano, Evan Y. Yu, Heather H. Cheng, Elahe A. Mostaghel, Bruce Montgomery, Michael T. Schweizer, Andrew C. Hsieh, Daniel W. Lin, Eva Corey, Peter S. Nelson, Colm Morrissey
Irreversible T cell exhaustion limits the efficacy of programmed cell death 1 (PD-1) blockade. We observed that dual CD40-TLR4 stimulation within a single tumor restored PD-1 sensitivity and that this regimen triggered a systemic tumor-specific CD8+ T cell response. This approach effectively treated established tumors in diverse syngeneic cancer models, and the systemic effect was dependent on the injected tumor, indicating that treated tumors were converted into necessary components of this therapy. Strikingly, this approach was associated with the absence of exhausted PD-1hi T cells in treated and distant tumors, while sparing the intervening draining lymph node and spleen. Furthermore, patients with transcription changes like those induced by this therapy experienced improved progression-free survival with anti–PD-1 treatment. Dual CD40-TLR4 activation within a single tumor is thus an approach for overcoming resistance to PD-1 blockade that is unique in its ability to cause the loss of exhausted T cells within tumors while sparing nonmalignant tissues.
Danny N. Khalil, Nathan Suek, Luis Felipe Campesato, Sadna Budhu, David Redmond, Robert M. Samstein, Chirag Krishna, Katherine S. Panageas, Marinela Capanu, Sean Houghton, Daniel Hirschhorn, Roberta Zappasodi, Rachel Giese, Billel Gasmi, Michael Schneider, Aditi Gupta, James J. Harding, John Alec Moral, Vinod P. Balachandran, Jedd D. Wolchok, Taha Merghoub
Transcription factor fusion genes create oncoproteins that drive oncogenesis and represent challenging therapeutic targets. Understanding the molecular targets by which such fusion oncoproteins promote malignancy offers an approach to develop rational treatment strategies to improve clinical outcomes. Capicua–double homeobox 4 (CIC-DUX4) is a transcription factor fusion oncoprotein that defines certain undifferentiated round cell sarcomas with high metastatic propensity and poor clinical outcomes. The molecular targets regulated by the CIC-DUX4 oncoprotein that promote this aggressive malignancy remain largely unknown. We demonstrated that increased expression of ETS variant 4 (ETV4) and cyclin E1 (CCNE1) occurs via neomorphic, direct effects of CIC-DUX4 and drives tumor metastasis and survival, respectively. We uncovered a molecular dependence on the CCNE-CDK2 cell cycle complex that renders CIC-DUX4–expressing tumors sensitive to inhibition of the CCNE-CDK2 complex, suggesting a therapeutic strategy for CIC-DUX4–expressing tumors. Our findings highlight a paradigm of functional diversification of transcriptional repertoires controlled by a genetically aberrant transcriptional regulator, with therapeutic implications.
Ross A. Okimoto, Wei Wu, Shigeki Nanjo, Victor Olivas, Yone K. Lin, Rovingaile Kriska Ponce, Rieko Oyama, Tadashi Kondo, Trever G. Bivona
Loss-of-function mutations in genes encoding TET DNA dioxygenase occur frequently in hematopoietic malignancy, but rarely in solid tumors which instead commonly have reduced activity. The impact of decreased TET activity in solid tumors is not known. Here we show that TET2 mediates interferon γ (IFNγ)-JAK-STAT signaling pathway to control chemokine and PD-L1 expression, lymphocyte infiltration and cancer immunity. IFNγ stimulated STAT1 to bind TET2 and recruit TET2 to hydroxymethylate chemokine and PD-L1 genes. Reduced TET activity was associated with decreased TH1-type chemokines and tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) and the progression of human colon cancer. Deletion of Tet2 in murine melanoma and colon tumor cells reduced chemokine expression and TILs, enabling tumors to evade anti-tumor immunity and to resist anti-PD-L1 therapy. Conversely, stimulating TET activity by systematic injection of its co-factor, ascorbate/vitamin C, increased chemokine and TILs, leading to enhanced anti-tumor immunity and anti-PD-L1 efficacy and extended lifespan of tumor-bearing mice. These results suggest an IFNγ-JAK-STAT-TET signaling pathway that mediates tumor response to anti-PD-L1/PD-1 therapy and is frequently disrupted in solid tumors. Our findings also suggest TET activity as a biomarker for predicting the efficacy and patient response to anti-PD-1/PD-L1 therapy, and stimulating TET activity as an adjuvant immunotherapy of solid tumors.
Yan-ping Xu, Lei Lv, Ying Liu, Matthew D. Smith, Wen-Cai Li, Xian-ming Tan, Meng Cheng, Zhijun Li, Michael Bovino, Jeffrey Aubé, Yue Xiong
Prostate cancer (PC) is initially dependent on androgen receptor (AR) signaling for survival and growth. Therapeutics designed to suppress AR activity serve as the primary intervention for advanced disease. However, supraphysiological androgen (SPA) concentrations can produce paradoxical responses leading to PC growth inhibition. We sought to discern the mechanisms by which SPA inhibits PC and to determine if molecular context associates with anti-tumor activity. SPA produced an AR-mediated, dose-dependent induction of DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs), G0/G1 cell cycle arrest and cellular senescence. SPA repressed genes involved in DNA repair and delayed the restoration of damaged DNA which was augmented by PARP1 inhibition. SPA-induced DSBs were accentuated in BRCA2-deficient PCs, and combining SPA with PARP or DNA-PKcs inhibition further repressed growth. Next-generation sequencing was performed on biospecimens from PC patients receiving SPA as part of ongoing Phase II clinical trials. Patients with mutations in genes mediating homology-directed DNA repair were more likely to exhibit clinical responses to SPA. These results provide a mechanistic rationale for directing SPA therapy to PCs with AR amplification or DNA repair deficiency, and for combining SPA therapy with PARP inhibition.
Payel Chatterjee, Michael T. Schweizer, Jared M. Lucas, Ilsa Coleman, Michael D. Nyquist, Sander B. Frank, Robin Tharakan, Elahe Mostaghel, Jun Luo, Colin C. Pritchard, Hung-Ming Lam, Eva Corey, Emmanuel S. Antonarakis, Samuel R. Denmeade, Peter S. Nelson
Glycosylation of immune receptors and ligands, such as T cell receptor and coinhibitory molecules, regulates immune signaling activation and immune surveillance. However, how oncogenic signaling initiates glycosylation of coinhibitory molecules to induce immunosuppression remains unclear. Here we show that IL-6–activated JAK1 phosphorylates programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) Tyr112, which recruits the endoplasmic reticulum–associated N-glycosyltransferase STT3A to catalyze PD-L1 glycosylation and maintain PD-L1 stability. Targeting of IL-6 by IL-6 antibody induced synergistic T cell killing effects when combined with anti–T cell immunoglobulin mucin-3 (anti–Tim-3) therapy in animal models. A positive correlation between IL-6 and PD-L1 expression was also observed in hepatocellular carcinoma patient tumor tissues. These results identify a mechanism regulating PD-L1 glycosylation initiation and suggest the combination of anti–IL-6 and anti–Tim-3 as an effective marker-guided therapeutic strategy.
Li-Chuan Chan, Chia-Wei Li, Weiya Xia, Jung-Mao Hsu, Heng-Huan Lee, Jong-Ho Cha, Hung-Ling Wang, Wen-Hao Yang, Er-Yen Yen, Wei-Chao Chang, Zhengyu Zha, Seung-Oe Lim, Yun-Ju Lai, Chunxiao Liu, Jielin Liu, Qiongzhu Dong, Yi Yang, Linlin Sun, Yongkun Wei, Lei Nie, Jennifer L. Hsu, Hui Li, Qinghai Ye, Manal M. Hassan, Hesham M. Amin, Ahmed O. Kaseb, Xin Lin, Shao-Chun Wang, Mien-Chie Hung
Cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) are key actors in modulating the progression of many solid tumors such as breast cancer (BC). Herein, we identify an integrin α11/PDGFRβ+ CAF subset displaying tumor-promoting features in BC. In the preclinical MMTV-PyMT mouse model, integrin α11-deficiency led to a drastic reduction of tumor progression and metastasis. A clear association between integrin α11 and PDGFRβ was found at both transcriptional and histological levels in BC specimens. High stromal integrin α11/PDGFRβ expression was associated with high grades and poorer clinical outcome in human BC patients. Functional assays using five CAF subpopulations (one murine, four human) revealed that integrin α11 promotes CAF invasion and CAF-induced tumor cell invasion upon PDGF-BB stimulation. Mechanistically, integrin α11 pro-invasive activity relies on its ability to interact with PDGFRβ in a ligand-dependent manner and to promote its downstream JNK activation, leading to the production of tenascin C, a pro-invasive matricellular protein. Pharmacological inhibition of PDGFRβ and JNK impaired tumor cell invasion induced by integrin α11-positive CAFs. Collectively, our study uncovers an integrin α11-positive subset of pro-tumoral CAFs that exploits PDGFRβ/JNK signalling axis to promote tumor invasiveness in BC.
Irina Primac, Erik Maquoi, Silvia Blacher, Ritva Heljasvaara, Jan Van Deun, Hilde Y. H. Smeland, Annalisa Canale, Thomas Louis, Linda Stuhr, Nor Eddine Sounni, Didier Cataldo, Taina Pihlajaniemi, Christel Pequeux, Olivier De Wever, Donald Gullberg, Agnès Noel
Despite recent therapeutic advances, prostate cancer remains a leading cause of cancer-related death. A subset of castration resistant prostate cancers become androgen receptor (AR) signaling-independent and develop neuroendocrine prostate cancer (NEPC) features through lineage plasticity. These NEPC tumors, associated with aggressive disease and poor prognosis, are driven, in part, by aberrant expression of N-Myc, through mechanisms that remain unclear. Integrative analysis of the N-Myc transcriptome, cistrome and interactome using in vivo, in vitro and ex vivo models (including patient-derived organoids) identified a lineage switch towards a neural identity associated with epigenetic reprogramming. N-Myc and known AR-co-factors (e.g., FOXA1 and HOXB13) overlapped, independently of AR, at genomic loci implicated in neural lineage specification. Moreover, histone marks specifically associated with lineage-defining genes were reprogrammed by N-Myc. We also demonstrated that the N-Myc-induced molecular program accurately classifies our cohort of patients with advanced prostate cancer. Finally, we revealed the potential for EZH2 inhibition to reverse the N-Myc-induced suppression of epithelial lineage genes. Altogether, our data provide insights on how N-Myc regulates lineage plasticity and epigenetic reprogramming associated with lineage-specification. The N-Myc signature we defined could also help predict the evolution of prostate cancer and thus better guide the choice of future therapeutic strategies.
Adeline Berger, Nicholas J. Brady, Rohan Bareja, Brian D. Robinson, Vincenza Conteduca, Michael A. Augello, Loredana Puca, Adnan Ahmed, Etienne Dardenne, Xiaodong Lu, Inah Hwang, Alyssa M. Bagadion, Andrea Sboner, Olivier Elemento, Jihye Paik, Jindan Yu, Christopher E. Barbieri, Noah Dephoure, Himisha Beltran, David S. Rickman