BACKGROUND: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a typical inflammation-associated cancer, but may also provoke antitumour immune responses whose significance and underlying mechanisms are incompletely understood. OBJECTIVE: To characterise immune responses in the diethylnitrosamine (DEN)-liver cancer mouse model. DESIGN: Tumour development and immune cell functions upon DEN treatment were compared between C57BL/6 wild-type (WT), chemokine scavenging receptor D6-deficient, B cell- (Igh6), CD4 T cell- (MHC-II) and T-/B cell-deficient (Rag1) mice. Relevance for human HCC was tested by comparing gene array results from 139 HCC tissues. RESULTS: The induction of premalignant lesions after 24 weeks and of HCC-like tumours after 42 weeks by DEN in mice was accompanied by significant leucocyte infiltration in the liver and upregulation of distinct intrahepatic chemokines (CCL2, CCL5, CXCL9). Macrophages and CD8 (cytotoxic) T cells were most prominently enriched in tumour-bearing livers, similar to samples from human HCC. Myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC) increased in extrahepatic compartments of DEN-treated mice (bone marrow, spleen). The contribution of immune cell subsets for DEN-induced hepatocarcinogenesis was functionally dissected. In D6(-/-) mice, which lack the chemokine scavenging receptor D6, hepatic macrophage infiltration was significantly increased, but tumour formation and progression did not differ from that of WT mice. In contrast, progression of hepatic tumours (numbers, diameters, tumour load) was strikingly enhanced in T-/B cell-deficient Rag1(-/-) mice upon DEN treatment. When mice deficient for B cells (Igh6(-/-), μMT) or major histocompatibility complex II were used, the data indicated that T cells prevent initial tumour formation, while B cells critically limit growth of established tumours. Accordingly, in tumour-bearing mice antibody production against liver-related model antigen was enhanced, indicating tumour-associated B cell activation. In agreement, T and B cell pathways were differentially regulated in gene array analyses from 139 human HCC tissues and significantly associated with patients' survival. CONCLUSIONS: Distinct axes of the adaptive immune system, which are also prognostic in human HCC, actively suppress DEN-induced hepatocarcinogenesis by controlling tumour formation and progression.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the fifth most common cancer worldwide with a poor prognosis of limited survival. The role of regulatory B cell (Breg), a new important B cell subset, in HCC progression remains unclear. We firstly found that the percentage of B cells at tumor margin was significantly higher than that in tumor and non-tumor region. Especially, increased intrahepatic B cells at tumor margin were positively associated with tumor invasive features and more tumor recurrence. Besides, HCC patients had a significantly higher percentage of circulating Bregs than healthy people. Increased circulating Bregs were correlated with advanced tumor staging, tumor multiplicity and venous infiltration. Next, we firstly revealed that human Bregs promoted HCC tumor growth independent of Tregs in SCID mice. The migration of Bregs from blood into tumor was also confirmed in mice. Finally, we further explored the molecular mechanism of Bregs promoting proliferation and migration of HCC cells in vitro. Bregs promoted HCC growth and invasiveness by direct interacting with liver cancer cells through CD40/CD154 signaling pathway.
Cancer Letters 10/2014; 355(2). DOI:10.1016/j.canlet.2014.09.026 · 5.62 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The tumor microenvironment plays a critical role in cancer development, progression, and control. The molecular and cellular nature of the tumor immune microenvironment influences disease outcome by altering the balance of suppressive versus cytotoxic responses in the vicinity of the tumor. Recent developments in systems biology have improved our understanding of the complex interactions between tumors and their immunological microenvironment in various human cancers. Effective tumor surveillance by the host immune system protects against disease, but chronic inflammation and tumor "immunoediting" have also been implicated in disease development and progression. Accordingly, reactivation and maintenance of appropriate antitumor responses within the tumor microenvironment correlate with a good prognosis in cancer patients. Improved understanding of the factors that shape the tumor microenvironment will be critical for the development of effective future strategies for disease management. The manipulation of these microenvironmental factors is already emerging as a promising tool for novel cancer treatments. In this paper, we summarize the various roles of the tumor microenvironment in cancer, focusing on immunological mediators of tumor progression and control, as well as the significant challenges for future therapies.
Journal of Oncology 08/2012; 2012(5):608406. DOI:10.1155/2012/608406
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) commonly arises in chronically inflamed livers, but may also provoke (anti-tumoral) immune responses. Using non-inflammatory diethylnitrosamine (DEN)-induced liver cancer in mice, we demonstrate that distinct axes of the adaptive immune system, which are also prognostic in human HCC, actively suppress hepatocarcinogenesis by controlling tumor formation and progression.
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