Jessica Godin-Ethier

Université de Montréal, Montréal, Quebec, Canada

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Publications (9)30.89 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) is found in multiple malignancies and exerts immunosuppressive effects that are central in protecting tumors from host T lymphocyte rejection. IDO is an enzyme involved in the catabolism of tryptophan resulting in inhibition of T lymphocyte function. While inhibition of IDO enzymatic activity results in tumor rejection, it is still unknown how we can directly target IDO expression within tumors using drugs. We have chosen to interfere with IDO expression by targeting the key-signaling event signal transducer and activator of transcription 1 (STAT1). We evaluated the efficacy of fludarabine, previously described to inhibit STAT1 phosphorylation. Interestingly, fludarabine was efficient in suppressing protein expression and consequently IDO activity in two different cell lines derived from breast cancer and melanoma when IDO was activated with interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) or supernatants prepared from activated T lymphocytes. However, fludarabine had no inhibitory effect on STAT1 phosphorylation. Other IFN-γ-responsive genes were only marginally inhibited by fludarabine. The level of IDO transcript was unaffected by this inhibitor, suggesting the involvement of post-transcriptional control. Strikingly, we have found that the inhibition of proteasome partially protected IDO from fludarabine-induced degradation, indicating that fludarabine induces IDO degradation through a proteasome-dependent pathway. Currently used in the clinic to treat some malignancies, fludarabine has the potential for use in the treatment of human tumors through induction of IDO degradation and consequently, for the promotion of T cell-mediated anti-tumor response.
    PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(6):e99211. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) is a tryptophan-catabolizing enzyme with immune-regulating activities in many contexts, such as fetal protection, allograft protection, and cancer progression. Clinical trials are currently evaluating IDO inhibition with 1-methyltryptophan in cancer immunotherapy. However, the exact role of tryptophan catabolism by IDO in human cancers remains poorly understood. Here, we review several studies that correlate IDO expression in human cancer samples and tumor-draining lymph nodes, with relevant clinical or immunologic parameters. IDO expression in various histologic cancer types seems to decrease tumor infiltration of immune cells and to increase the proportion of regulatory T lymphocytes in the infiltrate. The impact of IDO on different immune cell infiltration leads to the conclusion that IDO negatively regulates the recruitment of antitumor immune cells. In addition, increased IDO expression correlates with diverse tumor progression parameters and shorter patient survival. In summary, in the vast majority of the reported studies, IDO expression is correlated with a less favorable prognosis. As we may see results from the first clinical trials with 1-methyltryptophan in years to come, this review brings together IDO studies from human studies and aims to help appreciate outcomes from current and future trials. Consequently, IDO inhibition seems a promising approach for cancer immunotherapy.
    Clinical Cancer Research 11/2011; 17(22):6985-91. · 7.84 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The immune system must be under tight control to avoid undesired responses. The enzyme indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) can exert necessary regulating effects by catabolizing tryptophan, leading to the suppression of immune responses in different settings, such as pregnancy and tumor growth. IDO's immuno-suppressive actions are mediated by tryptophan starvation and the accumulation of toxic tryptophan metabolites, resulting in T cell anergy, inhibition of clonal expansion or apoptosis. IDO activity in human macrophages and dendritic cells has been observed after interaction with T lymphocytes, and is triggered by interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) as well as CD40-ligand (CD40L). However, it is unclear whether IDO activity is present in B lymphocytes, which have been identified as having suppressive properties involved in anti-tumor immunity inhibition. In this study, we investigated whether IDO expression is induced in human B cells after exposure to T lymphocyte stimuli and TLR ligands. We report IDO1 and IDO2 mRNA up-regulation by exogenous stimulation with CD40L and IFN-γ. IDO is also upregulated by imiquimod, a TLR 7/8 agonist. In addition, IDO protein is detected after treatment with these exogenous factors or with supernatant from activated CD4(+) T cells. We, however, report weak or absent enzymatic activity from these IDO-expressing cells, as assessed by tryptophan consumption. We conclude that IDO may not be a counter-regulatory mechanism utilized by B lymphocytes to down-regulate immune responses, although its expression is inducible.
    Molecular Immunology 09/2011; 49(1-2):253-9. · 2.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Multi-parametric flow cytometry analysis is a reliable method for phenotypic and functional characterization of tumor infiltrating immune cells (TIIC). The isolation of infiltrating leukocytes from solid tumors can be achieved through various methods which can be both enzymatic and mechanical; however, these methods may alter cell biology. The aim of this study was to compare the effects of three tissue disaggregation techniques on TIIC biology in breast, kidney and lung tumor specimens. We therefore compared two enzymatic treatments using either collagenase type IA alone or in combination with collagenase type IV and DNase I type II, and one mechanical system (Medimachine™). We evaluated the impact of treatments on cell viability, surface marker integrity and proliferative capacity. We show that cell viability was not significantly altered by treatments. However, enzymatic treatments decreased cell proliferation; specifically collagenases and DNase provoked a significant decrease in detection of surface markers such as CD4, CD8, CD45RA and CD14, indicating that results of phenotypic studies employing these techniques could be affected. In conclusion, mechanical tissue disaggregation by Medimachine™ appears to be optimal to maintain phenotypic and functional TIIC features.
    Journal of immunological methods 07/2011; 372(1-2):119-26. · 2.35 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Prostate cancer (PCa) is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in North American men. Androgen-deprivation therapy (ADT) accentuates the infiltration of immune cells within the prostate. However, the immunosuppressive pathways regulated by androgens in PCa are not well characterized. Arginase 2 (ARG2) expression by PCa cells leads to a reduced activation of tumor-specific T cells. Our hypothesis was that androgens could regulate the expression of ARG2 by PCa cells. In this report, we demonstrate that both ARG1 and ARG2 are expressed by hormone-sensitive (HS) and hormone-refractory (HR) PCa cell lines, with the LNCaP cells having the highest arginase activity. In prostate tissue samples, ARG2 was more expressed in normal and non-malignant prostatic tissues compared to tumor tissues. Following androgen stimulation of LNCaP cells with 10 nM R1881, both ARG1 and ARG2 were overexpressed. The regulation of arginase expression following androgen stimulation was dependent on the androgen receptor (AR), as a siRNA treatment targeting the AR inhibited both ARG1 and ARG2 overexpression. This observation was correlated in vivo in patients by immunohistochemistry. Patients treated by ADT prior to surgery had lower ARG2 expression in both non-malignant and malignant tissues. Furthermore, ARG1 and ARG2 were enzymatically active and their decreased expression by siRNA resulted in reduced overall arginase activity and l-arginine metabolism. The decreased ARG1 and ARG2 expression also translated with diminished LNCaP cells cell growth and increased PBMC activation following exposure to LNCaP cells conditioned media. Finally, we found that interleukin-8 (IL-8) was also upregulated following androgen stimulation and that it directly increased the expression of ARG1 and ARG2 in the absence of androgens. Our data provides the first detailed in vitro and in vivo account of an androgen-regulated immunosuppressive pathway in human PCa through the expression of ARG1, ARG2 and IL-8.
    PLoS ONE 01/2010; 5(8):e12107. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Previous cancer vaccination approaches have shown some efficiency in generating measurable immune responses, but they have rarely led to tumor regression. It is therefore possible that tumors emerge with the capacity to down-regulate immune counterparts, through the local production of immunosuppressive molecules, such as IDO. Although it is known that IDO exerts suppressive effects on T cell functions, the mechanisms of IDO regulation in tumor cells remain to be characterized. Here, we demonstrate that activated T cells can induce functional IDO expression in breast and kidney tumor cell lines, and that this is partly attributable to IFN-gamma. Moreover, we found that IL-13, a Th2 cytokine, has a negative modulatory effect on IDO expression. Furthermore, we report IDO expression in the majority of breast and kidney carcinoma samples, with infiltration of activated Th1-polarized T cells in human tumors. These findings demonstrate complex control of immune activity within tumors. Future immune therapeutic interventions should thus include strategies to counteract these negative mechanisms.
    The Journal of Immunology 11/2009; 183(12):7752-60. · 5.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In addition to new tumour antigens, new prognostic and diagnostic markers are needed for common cancers. In this study, we report the expression of Dickkopf-1 (DKK1) in multiple common cancers. This constitutes a comprehensive analysis of the DKK1 expression profile. Dickkopf-1 expression was evaluated by classical and quantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and enzyme-linked immunosorbant assay for protein determination, in cancer lines and clinical specimens of several cancer origins. For breast cancer, expression was correlated with clinicopathological parameters. Dickkopf-1 expression was confirmed in several cancer cell lines derived from breast and other common cancers. Dickkopf-1 protein secretion was documented in breast, prostate and lung cancer lines, but was negligible in melanoma. Analysis of DKK1 expression in human cancer specimens revealed DKK1 expression in breast (21 out of 73), lung (11 out of 23) and kidney cancers (six out of 20). Interestingly, DKK1 was preferentially expressed in oestrogen and progesterone receptor-negative tumours (ER(-)/PR(-); P=0.005) and in tumours from women with a family history of breast cancer (P=0.024). Importantly, DKK1 protein production was confirmed in multiple breast cancer specimens that were positive by RT-PCR. This work establishes DKK1 as a potential prognostic and diagnostic marker for cohorts of breast cancer patients with poor prognosis. Dickkopf-1 may also become a relevant candidate target for immunotherapy of different cancers.
    British Journal of Cancer 03/2007; 96(4):646-53. · 5.08 Impact Factor
  • Journal of Immunotherapy - J IMMUNOTHER. 01/2005; 28(6):648-649.
  • Jessica Godin-Ethier
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    ABSTRACT: Le système immunitaire se doit d’être étroitement régulé afin d’éviter que des réponses immunologiques inappropriées ou de trop forte intensité ne surviennent. Ainsi, différents mécanismes permettent de maintenir une tolérance périphérique, mais aussi d’atténuer la réponse lorsque celle-ci n’est plus nécessaire. De tels mécanismes sont cependant aussi exploités par les tumeurs, qui peuvent ainsi échapper à une attaque par le système immunitaire et donc poursuivre leur progression. Ces mécanismes immunosuppresseurs nuisent non seulement à la réponse naturelle contre les cellules tumorales, mais font aussi obstacle aux tentatives de manipulation clinique de l’immunité visant à générer une réponse anti-tumorale par l’immunothérapie. L’un des mécanismes par lesquels les tumeurs s’évadent du système immunitaire est l’expression d’enzymes responsables du métabolisme des acides aminés dont l’une des principales est l’indoleamine 2,3-dioxygénase (IDO). Cette dernière dégrade le tryptophane et diminue ainsi sa disponibilité dans le microenvironnement tumoral, ce qui engendre des effets négatifs sur la prolifération, les fonctions et la survie des lymphocytes T qui y sont présents. Bien que la régulation de l’expression de cette enzyme ait été largement étudiée chez certaines cellules présentatrices d’antigènes, dont les macrophages et les cellules dendritiques, peu est encore connu sur sa régulation dans les cellules tumorales humaines. Nous avons posé l’hypothèse que différents facteurs produits par les cellules immunitaires infiltrant les tumeurs (TIIC) régulent l’expression de l’IDO dans les cellules tumorales. Nous avons effectivement démontré qu’une expression de l’IDO est induite chez les cellules tumorales humaines, suite à une interaction avec des TIIC. Cette induction indépendante du contact cellulaire résulte principalement de l’interféron-gamma (IFN-g) produit par les lymphocytes T activés, mais est régulée à la baisse par l’interleukine (IL)-13. De plus, la fludarabine utilisée comme agent chimiothérapeutique inhibe l’induction de l’IDO chez les cellules tumorales en réponse aux lymphocytes T activés. Cette observation pourrait avoir des conséquences importantes en clinique sachant qu’une forte proportion d’échantillons cliniques provenant de tumeurs humaines exprime l’IDO. Enfin, les lymphocytes B, qui sont retrouvés également dans certaines tumeurs et qui interagissent étroitement avec les lymphocytes T, sont aussi susceptibles à une induction transcriptionnelle et traductionnelle de l’IDO. Cette enzyme est cependant produite sous une forme inactive dans les lymphocytes B, ce qui rend peu probable l’utilisation de l’IDO par les lymphocytes B comme mécanisme pour freiner la réponse immunitaire. Nos travaux apportent des informations importantes quant à la régulation de l’expression de la molécule immunosuppressive IDO dans les cellules cancéreuses. Ils démontrent que l’expression de l’IDO est influencée par la nature des cytokines présentes dans le microenvironnement tumoral. De plus son expression est inhibée par la fludarabine, un agent utilisé pour le traitement de certains cancers. Ces données devraient être prises en considération dans la planification de futurs essais immunothérapeutiques, et pourraient avoir un impact sur les réponses cliniques anti-tumorales. The immune system is under tight control to avoid inappropriate and excessive immunological responses. Many mechanisms allow the maintenance of peripheral tolerance and mediate attenuation of the immune response after pathogen clearance. Such mechanisms are also exploited by tumors, thereby favoring their escape from assault by the immune system. These immunosuppressive mechanisms hamper host natural immune responses against tumor cells, but also represent an obstacle to the successful clinical manipulation of the immune system in attempts to generate an anti-tumor response through immunotherapy. One immune escape mechanism used by tumors is the production of enzymes responsible for amino acid metabolism, amongst which indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) is of major importance. IDO degrades tryptophan, thus leading to its depletion from intracellular pools and local microenvironments. This culminates in multi-pronged negative effects on T lymphocytes neighboring IDO-expressing cells, notably on proliferation, function and survival. The regulation of IDO expression has been largely studied in antigen-presenting cells such as macrophages and dendritic cells, but its regulation in human tumor cells must still be characterized. We hypothesized that different factors produced by tumor-infiltrating immune cells (TIIC) regulate IDO expression in tumor cells. Accordingly, we have demonstrated that IDO expression is induced in human tumor cells upon interaction with TIIC. This induction is cell contact-independent, and results mainly from interferon-gamma (IFN-g) produced by activated T lymphocytes, while being antagonised by interleukin (IL)-13. Moreover, the chemotherapeutic agent fludarabine inhibits activated T lymphocyte-dependent IDO induction in tumor cells. This observation could have major clinical consequences, considering the large proportion of human cancer clinical samples expressing IDO. Finally, B lymphocytes, which interact closely with T lymphocytes and are found infiltrating human tumors, are also susceptible to transcriptional and translational IDO induction. This enzyme is however produced in an inactive form, suggesting that B lymphocytes do not exploit this mechanism to impede the immune response. In conclusion, our work brings crucial information on the regulation of the immunosuppressive molecule IDO in human tumor cells. We demonstrate that IDO expression is dependent on the nature of cytokines present in the tumor microenvironment. Furthermore, its expression is inhibited by fludarabine, a compound used to treat some types of cancer. These data should be taken into consideration in planning future immunotherapy trials and could impact anti-tumor clinical responses.