An immunologic portrait of cancer

Infectious Disease and Immunogenetics Section (IDIS), Department of Transfusion Medicine, Clinical Center and Trans-NIH Center for Human Immunology (CHI), National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.
Journal of Translational Medicine (Impact Factor: 3.93). 08/2011; 9(1):146. DOI: 10.1186/1479-5876-9-146
Source: PubMed


The advent of high-throughput technology challenges the traditional histopathological classification of cancer, and proposes new taxonomies derived from global transcriptional patterns. Although most of these molecular re-classifications did not endure the test of time, they provided bulk of new information that can reframe our understanding of human cancer biology. Here, we focus on an immunologic interpretation of cancer that segregates oncogenic processes independent from their tissue derivation into at least two categories of which one bears the footprints of immune activation. Several observations describe a cancer phenotype where the expression of interferon stimulated genes and immune effector mechanisms reflect patterns commonly observed during the inflammatory response against pathogens, which leads to elimination of infected cells. As these signatures are observed in growing cancers, they are not sufficient to entirely clear the organism of neoplastic cells but they sustain, as in chronic infections, a self-perpetuating inflammatory process. Yet, several studies determined an association between this inflammatory status and a favorable natural history of the disease or a better responsiveness to cancer immune therapy. Moreover, these signatures overlap with those observed during immune-mediated cancer rejection and, more broadly, immune-mediated tissue-specific destruction in other immune pathologies. Thus, a discussion concerning this cancer phenotype is warranted as it remains unknown why it occurs in immune competent hosts. It also remains uncertain whether a genetically determined response of the host to its own cancer, the genetic makeup of the neoplastic process or a combination of both drives the inflammatory process. Here we reflect on commonalities and discrepancies among studies and on the genetic or somatic conditions that may cause this schism in cancer behavior.


Available from: Daniela Murtas
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    • "Molecular pathways activated by these nanotubes include toll-like receptor (TLR), IL-6, dendritic cell maturation, TNF, NFKB, and T helper 1 chemokine pathways (CXCR3 and CCR5 ligand pathways) [39]. Because of the critical role of these inflammatory pathways (especially the T helper 1 chemokine pathways) in controlling immune-mediated tumor rejection, our findings suggest the highly promising application of this type of f-CNTs as adjuvant molecules in the contest of cancer immunotherapy [49-52]. In contrast, thinner oxidized MWCNTs down-modulated genes associated with ribosomal proteins in both monocyte and T cell lines. "
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    ABSTRACT: It has been recently proposed that nanomaterials, alone or in concert with their specific biomolecular conjugates, can be used to directly modulate the immune system, therefore offering a new tool for the enhancement of immune-based therapies against infectious disease and cancer. Here, we revised the publications on the impact of functionalized carbon nanotubes (f-CNTs), graphene and carbon nanohorns on immune cells. Whereas f-CNTs are the nanomaterial most widely investigated, we noticed a progressive increase of studies focusing on graphene in the last couple of years. The majority of the works (56%) have been carried out on macrophages, following by lymphocytes (30% of the studies). In the case of lymphocytes, T cells were the most investigated (22%) followed by monocytes and dendritic cells (7%), mixed cell populations (peripheral blood mononuclear cells, 6%), and B and natural killer (NK) cells (1%). Most of the studies focused on toxicity and biocompatibility, while mechanistic insights on the effect of carbon nanotubes on immune cells are generally lacking. Only very recently high-throughput gene-expression analyses have shed new lights on unrecognized effects of carbon nanomaterials on the immune system. These investigations have demonstrated that some f-CNTs can directly elicitate specific inflammatory pathways. The interaction of graphene with the immune system is still at a very early stage of investigation. This comprehensive state of the art on biocompatible f-CNTs and graphene on immune cells provides a useful compass to guide future researches on immunological applications of carbon nanomaterials in medicine.
    Journal of Translational Medicine 05/2014; 12(1):138. DOI:10.1186/1479-5876-12-138 · 3.93 Impact Factor
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    • "CXCL9, CXCL10 and CCL5 represent the chemokines most frequently associated with both favourable prognostic and predictive role (Galon et al, 2013). We proposed that these chemokines identify a specific cancer immune phenotype ('Th1, interferon-driven phenotype') associated with better prognosis and responsiveness to immune manipulations (Ascierto et al, 2011; Spivey et al, 2012; Galon et al, 2013; Murtas et al, 2013). "
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Adoptive therapy with tumour-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) induces durable complete responses (CR) in ∼20% of patients with metastatic melanoma. The recruitment of T cells through CXCR3/CCR5 chemokine ligands is critical for immune-mediated rejection. We postulated that polymorphisms and/or expression of CXCR3/CCR5 in TILs and the expression of their ligands in tumour influence the migration of TILs to tumours and tumour regression. Methods: Tumour-infiltrating lymphocytes from 142 metastatic melanoma patients enrolled in adoptive therapy trials were genotyped for CXCR3 rs2280964 and CCR5-Δ32 deletion, which encodes a protein not expressed on the cell surface. Expression of CXCR3/CCR5 in TILs and CXCR3/CCR5 and ligand genes in 113 available parental tumours was also assessed. Tumour-infiltrating lymphocyte data were validated by flow cytometry (N=50). Results: The full gene expression/polymorphism model, which includes CXCR3 and CCR5 expression data, CCR5-Δ32 polymorphism data and their interaction, was significantly associated with both CR and overall response (OR; P=0.0009, and P=0.007, respectively). More in detail, the predicted underexpression of both CXCR3 and CCR5 according to gene expression and polymorphism data (protein prediction model, PPM) was associated with response to therapy (odds ratio=6.16 and 2.32, for CR and OR, respectively). Flow cytometric analysis confirmed the PPM. Coordinate upregulation of CXCL9, CXCL10, CXCL11, and CCL5 in pretreatment tumour biopsies was associated with OR. Conclusion: Coordinate overexpression of CXCL9, CXCL10, CXCL11, and CCL5 in pretreatment tumours was associated with responsiveness to treatment. Conversely, CCR5-Δ32 polymorphism and CXCR3/CCR5 underexpression influence downregulation of the corresponding receptors in TILs and were associated with likelihood and degree of response.
    British Journal of Cancer 10/2013; 109(9). DOI:10.1038/bjc.2013.557 · 4.84 Impact Factor
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    • "Several recent studies have shown that a neoplastic phenotype enriched in immune infiltrates correlates with good prognosis and enhanced likelihood to respond to immunotherapy (Galon et al, 2006; Ascierto et al, 2011, 2012). Our group observed that IFN-g has a central role in the immunologically active cancer phenotype characterised by enhanced expression of IRF-1. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Several lines of evidence suggest a dichotomy between immune active and quiescent cancers, with the former associated with a good prognostic phenotype and better responsiveness to immunotherapy. Central to such dichotomy is the master regulator of the acute inflammatory process interferon regulatory factor (IRF)-1. However, it remains unknown whether the responsiveness of IRF-1 to cytokines is able to differentiate cancer immune phenotypes. Methods: IRF-1 activation was measured in 15 melanoma cell lines at basal level and after treatment with IFN-γ, TNF-α and a combination of both. Microarray analysis was used to compare transcriptional patterns between cell lines characterised by high or low IRF-1 activation. Results: We observed a strong positive correlation between IRF-1 activation at basal level and after IFN-γ and TNF-α treatment. Microarray demonstrated that three cell lines with low and three with high IRF-1 inducible translocation scores differed in the expression of 597 transcripts. Functional interpretation analysis showed mTOR and Wnt/β-cathenin as the top downregulated pathways in the cell lines with low inducible IRF-1 activation, suggesting that a low IRF-1 inducibility recapitulates a cancer phenotype already described in literature characterised by poor prognosis. Conclusion: Our findings support the central role of IRF-1 in influencing different tumour phenotypes.
    British Journal of Cancer 06/2013; 109(1). DOI:10.1038/bjc.2013.335 · 4.84 Impact Factor
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