Vascular E-Selectin Expression Correlates with CD8 Lymphocyte Infiltration and Improved Outcome in Merkel Cell Carcinoma

1] Department of Medicine/Dermatology, University of Washington, Seattle Washington, USA [2] Department of Pathology, University of Washington, Seattle Washington, USA.
Journal of Investigative Dermatology (Impact Factor: 7.22). 01/2013; 133(8). DOI: 10.1038/jid.2013.36
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is an aggressive, polyomavirus-linked skin cancer. While CD8 lymphocyte infiltration into the tumor is strongly correlated with improved survival, these cells are absent or sparse in most MCCs. We investigated whether specific mechanisms of T-cell migration may be commonly disrupted in MCC tumors with poor CD8 lymphocyte infiltration. Intratumoral vascular E-selectin, critical for T-cell entry into skin, was downregulated in the majority (52%) of MCCs (n=56), and its loss was associated with poor intratumoral CD8 lymphocyte infiltration (P<0.05; n=45). Importantly, survival was improved in MCC patients whose tumors had higher vascular E-selectin expression (P<0.05). Local nitric oxide (NO) production is one mechanism of E-selectin downregulation and it can be tracked by quantifying nitrotyrosine, a stable biomarker of NO-induced reactive nitrogen species (RNS). Indeed, increasing levels of nitrotyrosine within MCC tumors were associated with low E-selectin expression (P<0.05; n=45) and decreased CD8 lymphocyte infiltration (P<0.05, n=45). These data suggest that one mechanism of immune evasion in MCC may be restriction of T cell entry into the tumor. Existing therapeutic agents that modulate E-selectin expression and/or RNS generation may restore T cell entry and could potentially synergize with other immune-stimulating therapies.Journal of Investigative Dermatology accepted article preview online, 25 January 2013;doi:10.1038/jid.2013.36.

Download full-text


Available from: Natalie Vandeven, Aug 06, 2014
1 Follower
26 Reads
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is a lethal, virus-associated cancer that lacks effective therapies for advanced disease. Agents blocking the PD-1/PD-L1 pathway have demonstrated objective, durable tumor regressions in patients with advanced solid malignancies and efficacy has been linked to PD-L1 expression in the tumor microenvironment. To investigate whether MCC might be a target for PD-1/PD-L1 blockade, we examined MCC PD-L1 expression, its association with tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs), Merkel cell polyomavirus (MCPyV), and overall survival. Sixty-seven MCC specimens from 49 patients were assessed with immunohistochemistry for PD-L1 expression by tumor cells and TILs, and immune infiltrates were characterized phenotypically. Tumor cell and TIL PD-L1 expression were observed in 49% and 55% of patients, respectively. In specimens with PD-L1(+) tumor cells, 97% (28/29) demonstrated a geographic association with immune infiltrates. Among specimens with moderate-severe TIL intensities, 100% (29/29) demonstrated PD-L1 expression by tumor cells. Significant associations were also observed between the presence of MCPyV DNA, a brisk inflammatory response, and tumor cell PD-L1 expression: MCPyV(-) tumor cells were uniformly PD-L1(-). Taken together, these findings suggest that a local tumor-specific and potentially MCPyV-specific immune response drives tumor PD-L1 expression, similar to previous observations in melanoma and head and neck squamous cell carcinomas. In multivariate analyses, PD-L1(-) MCCs were independently associated with worse overall survival (hazard ratio 3.12; 95% CI, 1.28-7.61; p=0.012). These findings suggest that an endogenous immune response promotes PD-L1 expression in the MCC microenvironment when MCPyV is present, and provide a rationale for investigating therapies blocking PD-1/PD-L1 for patients with MCC.
    07/2013; 1(1). DOI:10.1158/2326-6066.CIR-13-0034
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Recent studies of cancer patients revealed high diversity in oncogenic mechanisms, leading to increased treatment individualization for subgroups of patients with frequent cancers. A similar development may not be possible for patients with rare cancers, such as Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC). Finding shared disease mechanisms may open new options to understanding and treating such tumors. Tumor-infiltrating CD8+ T cells are frequently associated with favorable clinical outcome in a remarkably large spectrum of cancers. In this issue, Afanasiev et al. suggest a mechanism that may hinder the tumor homing of CD8+ T cells in MCC patients. It is possible that therapeutic mobilization of anti-cancer T cells may be useful in patients who share this specific immune biological feature.
    Journal of Investigative Dermatology 08/2013; 133(8):1929-32. DOI:10.1038/jid.2013.90 · 7.22 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is an aggressive skin cancer that typically requires the persistent expression of Merkel cell polyomavirus (MCPyV) oncoproteins that can serve as ideal immunotherapeutic targets. Several immune evasion mechanisms are active in MCC including down-regulation of HLA class-I expression on tumor cells and dysfunctional endogenous MCPyV-specific CD8 T cell responses. To overcome these obstacles, we combined local and systemic immune therapies in a 67-year-old man, who developed metastatic MCPyV-expressing MCC. Intralesional IFNβ-1b or targeted single-dose radiation was administered as a pre-conditioning strategy to reverse the down-regulation of HLA-I expression noted in his tumors and to facilitate the subsequent recognition of tumor cells by T cells. This was followed by the adoptive transfer of ex vivo expanded polyclonal, polyomavirus-specific T cells as a source of reactive antitumor immunity. The combined regimen was well-tolerated and led to persistent up-regulation of HLA-I expression in the tumor and a durable complete response in two of three metastatic lesions. Relative to historical controls, the patient experienced a prolonged period without development of additional distant metastases (535 days compared to historic median of 200 days, 95% confidence interval = 154-260 days). The transferred CD8(+) T cells preferentially accumulated in the tumor tissue, remained detectable and functional for >200 days, persisted with an effector phenotype, and exhibited evidence of recent in vivo activation and proliferation. The combination of local and systemic immune stimulatory therapies was well-tolerated and may be a promising approach to overcome immune evasion in virus-driven cancers.
    04/2014; 2(1):27-36. DOI:10.1158/2326-6066.CIR-13-0087
Show more