[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Regulatory T cell (Treg)-mediated immunosuppression is considered a major obstacle for successful cancer immunotherapy. The association between clinical outcome and Tregs is being studied extensively in clinical trials, but unfortunately, no consensus has been reached about (a) the markers and (b) the gating strategy required to define human Tregs in this context, making it difficult to draw final conclusions. Therefore, we have organized an international workshop on the detection and functional testing of Tregs with leading experts in the field, and 40 participants discussing different analyses and the importance of different markers and context in which Tregs were analyzed. This resulted in a rationally composed ranking list of "Treg markers". Subsequently, the proposed Treg markers were tested to get insight into the overlap/differences between the most frequently used Treg definitions and their utility for Treg detection in various human tissues. Here, we conclude that the CD3, CD4, CD25, CD127, and FoxP3 markers are the minimally required markers to define human Treg cells. Staining for Ki67 and CD45RA showed to provide additional information on the activation status of Tregs. The use of markers was validated in a series of PBMC from healthy donors and cancer patients, as well as in tumor-draining lymph nodes and freshly isolated tumors. In conclusion, we propose an essential marker set comprising antibodies to CD3, CD4, CD25, CD127, Foxp3, Ki67, and CD45RA and a corresponding robust gating strategy for the context-dependent analysis of Tregs by flow cytometry.
Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy 06/2015; DOI:10.1007/s00262-015-1729-x · 3.94 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Introduction: Immune checkpoints are regulatory pathways induced in activated T lymphocytes that regulate antigen responsiveness. These immune checkpoints are hijacked by tumors to promote dysfunction of anti-tumor effector cells and consequently of tumor escape from the host immune system.Areas covered: Programmed death-1/programmed death ligand (PD-1/PDL-1), a checkpoint pathway, has been extensively investigated in leukemia mouse models. Expression of PD-1 on the surface of activated immune cells and of its ligands, PD-L1 and PD-L2, on leukemic blasts has been documented. Clinical trials with PD-1 inhibitors in patients with hematological malignancies are ongoing with promising clinical responses.Expert opinion: Therapy of hematological cancers with antibodies blocking inhibitory receptors is expected to be highly clinically effective. Checkpoint inhibitory receptors and their ligands are co-expressed on hematopoietic cells found in the leukemic milieu. Several distinct immunological mechanisms are likely to be engaged by antibody-based checkpoint blockade. Co-expression of multiple inhibitory receptors on hematopoietic cells offers an opportunity for combining blocking antibodies to achieve more effective therapy. Up-regulation of receptor/ligand expression in the leukemic milieu may provide a blood marker predictive of response. Finally, chemotherapy-induced up-regulation of PD-1 on T cells after conventional leukemia therapy creates a solid rationale for application of checkpoint blockade as a follow-up therapy.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Whereas preclinical investigations and clinical studies have established that CD8(+) T cells can profoundly affect cancer progression, the underlying mechanisms are still elusive. Challenging the prevalent view that the beneficial effect of CD8(+) T cells in cancer is solely attributable to their cytotoxic activity, several reports have indicated that the ability of CD8(+) T cells to promote tumor regression is dependent on their cytokine secretion profile and their ability to self-renew. Evidence has also shown that the tumor microenvironment can disarm CD8(+) T cell immunity, leading to the emergence of dysfunctional CD8(+) T cells. The existence of different types of CD8(+) T cells in cancer calls for a more precise definition of the CD8(+) T cell immune phenotypes in cancer and the abandonment of the generic terms "pro-tumor" and "antitumor." Based on recent studies investigating the functions of CD8(+) T cells in cancer, we here propose some guidelines to precisely define the functional states of CD8(+) T cells in cancer.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Exosomes in plasma of glioma patients hold promise as biomarkers of prognosis. We aimed to determine whether changes in total exosomal protein and mRNA expression levels could serve as surrogate markers of immunological and clinical responses in glioma patients receiving antitumor vaccines. Exosomes were isolated from pre/post-vaccine plasma specimens in 20/22 patients enrolled in a phase I/II trial with the antitumor vaccine. Exosomal protein content was analyzed and mRNA expression levels for 24 genes were simultaneously assessed by qRT-PCR. Pre- to post-vaccination changes in exosomal protein and ΔCt values were correlated with immunological and clinical responses and survival using Spearman rank statistics and hazard ratios (HR). Exosomal protein levels positively correlated (p < 0.0043) with the WHO tumor grade at diagnosis. Protein levels were lower in post- vs. pre-vaccination exosome fractions. Post-therapy increases in tumor size were associated with elevations in exosome proteins in glioblastoma but not always in anaplastic astrocytoma (AA). Only exosomal ΔCt values for IL-8, TIMP-1, TGF-β and ZAP70 were significant (p < 0.04 to p < 0.001). The ΔCt for IL-8 and TGF-β mRNA positively correlated with post-vaccine immunologic responses to glioma antigens, while ΔCt for TIMP-1 mRNA was negatively correlated to ΔCt for IL-8 and TGF-β. Only ΔCt for IL-8 weakly correlated with OS and time to progression (TTP). In post-vaccine exosomes of the longest surviving patient with AA, mRNA for PD-1 was persistently elevated. Protein and mRNA expression levels for immune-related genes in plasma exosomes were useful in evaluating glioma patients' response to vaccination therapy.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan-4 (CSPG4), a membrane-bound proteoglycan known to be expressed on the surface of malignant cells, has a restricted distribution in normal tissues. CSPG4 is a potential candidate tumor marker. We investigate CSPG4 expression on blasts in newly diagnosed
acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients and its relation with cytogenetic abnormalities and molecular markers known to have prognostic significance in this disease. Using hybridoma technology, we generated a specific monoclonal antibody (mAb), mAb 225.28, reactive with CSPG4. Blast samples obtained
from the peripheral blood of newly diagnosed AML patients were analyzed for CSPG4 expression using the CSPG4-specific mAb and multiparameter flow cytometry. The results were correlated with cytogenetic and molecular characteristics of AML. CSPG4 was found to be expressed on a variable fraction
of leukemic blasts in all AML patients with different leukemia morphology, including monoblastic cases. Reactivity of CSPG4-specific mAb with leukemic blasts was not limited to those with the rearranged MLL gene. CSPG4 was also expressed on AML blasts with a complex karyotype, FLT3 mutation,
or NPM1 mutation. The results indicate that CSPG4 is expressed and detectable by flow cytometry using the mAb 225.28 on a proportion of blasts of all subtypes of AML irrespective of cytogenetic and molecular abnormalities. mAb 225.28 could be useful in detecting AML blasts by flow cytometry.
Oncology Research Featuring Preclinical and Clinical Cancer Therapeutics 02/2015; 22(2):117-21. DOI:10.3727/096504014X14174484758503 · 0.92 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: During the past decades, anticancer immunotherapy has evolved from a promising therapeutic option to a robust clinical reality. Many immunotherapeutic regimens are now approved by the US Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicines Agency for use in cancer patients, and many others are being investigated as standalone therapeutic interventions or combined with conventional treatments in clinical studies. Immunotherapies may be subdivided into "passive" and "active" based on their ability to engage the host immune system against cancer. Since the anticancer activity of most passive immunotherapeutics (including tumor-targeting monoclonal antibodies) also relies on the host immune system, this classification does not properly reflect the complexity of the drug-host-tumor interaction. Alternatively, anticancer immunotherapeutics can be classified according to their antigen specificity. While some immunotherapies specifically target one (or a few) defined tumor-associated antigen(s), others operate in a relatively non-specific manner and boost natural or therapy-elicited anticancer immune responses of unknown and often broad specificity. Here, we propose a critical, integrated classification of anticancer immunotherapies and discuss the clinical relevance of these approaches.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The role of regulatory T cells, (Treg) in human cancer and HIV-1 infections has been under intense scrutiny. While the lack of a marker specific for human Treg has made it challenging to phenotype these cells, combinations of several markers and functional attributes of Treg have made it possible to assess their contributions to immune homeostasis in health and disease. Treg diversity and their plasticity create a challenge in deciding whether they are beneficial to the host by down-regulating excessive immune activation or are responsible for adverse effects such as suppression of anti-tumor immune responses resulting in promotion of tumor growth. Treg are emerging as active participants in several biochemical pathways involved in immune regulation. This review attempts to integrate current information about human Treg in respect to their activities in cancer and HIV-1. The goal is to evaluate the potential of Treg as targets for future immune or pharmacologic therapies for cancer or HIV-1 infections.
Cancer Microenvironment 11/2014; DOI:10.1007/s12307-014-0159-1
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cholesteatoma represents progressive expansion of the keratinizing squamous epithelium in the middle ear with subsequent chronic inflammation in subepithelial connective tissues. The hypothesis was tested that receptor for advanced glycation endproduct (RAGE) and its ligand, high-mobility box 1 (HMGB1), are overexpressed in cholesteatoma, and the RAGE/HMGB1 axis might contribute to its pathogenesis. Cholesteatoma samples (n = 36) and 27 normal skin specimens were studied by immunohistochemistry (IHC) for HMGB1 and RAGE expression. Effects of HMGB1 signaling on proliferation, migration, cytokine production, and apoptosis of human immortalized keratinocytes (HaCaTs) and normal keratinocytes were studied by quantitative reverse transcription (qRT)-PCR, IHC, Western blots, and flow cytometry after cell co-incubation with HMGB1. While all studied tissues expressed HMGB1, its expression was higher in cholesteatoma than in normal skin (p < 0.0001). All cases of cholesteatoma also showed elevated RAGE expression levels, and only 7/27 (26 %) of normal skin specimens were weakly positive for RAGE. Proliferation and migration of HaCaT cells incubated with HMGB1 were up-regulated (p < 0.05). HMGB1 also prevented HaCaT cell apoptosis and induced activation of several molecular signaling pathways in keratinocytes. The data suggest that in cholesteatoma, HMGB1 released from stressed or necrotic epithelial cells and binding to RAGE overexpressed in keratinocytes initiates molecular signaling that culminates in pro-inflammatory cytokine release and chronic inflammation.
HMGB1 signaling engages multiple activation pathways in RAGE-positive keratinocytes.
HMGB1 protects RAGE-positive keratinocytes from drug-induced apoptosis.
Keratinocyte proliferation is controlled via RAGE and HMGB1 molecular signaling.
Molecular signaling of the HMGB1/RAGE axis contributes to cholesteatoma pathogenesis.
Journal of Molecular Medicine 11/2014; 93(3). DOI:10.1007/s00109-014-1217-3 · 4.74 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Exosomes are membrane-bound vesicles found in all biological fluids. AML patients' plasma collected at diagnosis contains elevated exosome levels relative to normal donor (ND) plasma. The molecular profile of AML exosomes changes in the course of therapy and may serve as a measure of disease progression or response to therapy. However, plasma contains a mix of exosomes derived from various cell types. To be able to utilize blast-derived exosomes as biomarkers for AML, we have developed an immunoaffinity-based capture method utilizing magnetic microbeads coated with anti-CD34 antibody (Ab). This Ab is specific for CD34, a unique marker of AML blasts. The capture procedure was developed using CD34+ exosomes derived from Kasumi-1 AML cell culture supernatants. The capture capacity of CD34microbeads was shown to linearly correlate with the input exosomes. A 10 uL aliquot of CD34 microbeads was able to capture all of CD34+ exosomes present in 100-1,000 uL of AML plasma. The levels of immunocaptured CD34+ exosomes correlated with the percentages of CD34+ blasts in the AML patients' peripheral blood. The immunocaptured exosomes had a typical cup-shaped morphology by transmission electron microscopy, and their molecular cargo was similar to that of parental blasts. These exosomes were biologically-active. Upon co-incubation with natural killer (NK) cells, captured blast-derived exosomes down-regulated surface NKG2D expression, while non-captured exosomes reduced expression levels of NKp46. Our data provide a proof-of-principle that blast-derived exosomes can be quantitatively recovered from AML patients' plasma, their molecular profile recapitulates that of autologous blasts and they retain the ability to mediate immune suppression. These data suggest that immunocaptured blast-derived exosomes might be useful in diagnosis and/or prognosis of AML in the future.
PLoS ONE 08/2014; 9(8):e103310. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0103310 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Effects of exosomes present in human plasma on immune cells have not been examined in detail. Immunological studies with plasma-derived exosomes require their isolation by procedures involving ultracentrifugation. These procedures were largely developed using supernatants of cultured cells. To test biologic activities of plasma-derived exosomes, methods are necessary that ensure adequate recovery of exosome fractions free of contaminating larger vesicles, cell fragments and protein/nucleic acid aggregates. Here, an optimized method for exosome isolation from human plasma/serum specimens of normal controls (NC) or cancer patients and its advantages and pitfalls are described. To remove undesirable plasma-contaminating components, ultrafiltration of differentially-centrifuged plasma/serum followed by size-exclusion chromatography prior to ultracentrifugation facilitated the removal of contaminants. Plasma or serum was equally acceptable as a source of exosomes based on the recovered protein levels (in μg protein/mL plasma) and TEM image quality. Centrifugation on sucrose density gradients led to large exosome losses. Fresh plasma was the best source of morphologically-intact exosomes, while the use of frozen/thawed plasma decreased exosome purity but not their biologic activity. Treatments of frozen plasma with DNAse, RNAse or hyaluronidase did not improve exosome purity and are not recommended. Cancer patients' plasma consistently yielded more isolated exosomes than did NCs' plasma. Cancer patients' exosomes also mediated higher immune suppression as evidenced by decreased CD69 expression on responder CD4+ T effector cells. Thus, the described procedure yields biologically-active, morphologically-intact exosomes that have reasonably good purity without large protein losses and can be used for immunological, biomarker and other studies.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Introduction: Regulatory T cells (Tregs) accumulating in the peripheral circulation and tumor sites of patients contribute to tumor escape from the host immune system. Tregs encompass subsets of immune cells with distinct phenotypic and functional properties. Whereas natural (n) or thymic-derived (t) Tregs regulate responses to self-antigens, inducible (i) or peripheral (p) Tregs generated and expanded in regulatory microenvironments control immune responses to a broad variety of antigens. Areas covered: Tregs accumulating in the tumor microenvironment (TME) are contextually regulated. They acquire phenotypic and functional attributes imposed by the inhibitory molecular pathways operating in situ. Several molecular pathways active in human cancer are reviewed. The pathways may differ from one tumor to another, and environmentally induced Tregs may be functionally distinct. Potential therapeutic strategies for selective silencing of iTregs are considered in the light of the newly acquired understanding of their phenotypic and functional diversity. Expert opinion: Human Tregs accumulating in cancer comprise 'bad' subsets, which inhibit antitumor immunity, and 'good' anti-inflammatory subsets, which maintain tolerance to self and benefit the host. Future therapeutic strategies targeting Tregs will need to discriminate between these Treg subsets and will need to consider reprogramming strategies instead of Treg elimination. Re-establishment of effective antitumor immune responses in cancer patients without disturbing a normal homeostatic T-cell balance will greatly benefit from insights into inhibitory pathways engaged by human tumors.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Purpose Diffuse brainstem gliomas (BSGs) and other high-grade gliomas (HGGs) of childhood carry a dismal prognosis despite current treatments, and new therapies are needed. Having identified a series of glioma-associated antigens (GAAs) commonly overexpressed in pediatric gliomas, we initiated a pilot study of subcutaneous vaccinations with GAA epitope peptides in HLA-A2-positive children with newly diagnosed BSG and HGG. Patients and Methods GAAs were EphA2, interleukin-13 receptor alpha 2 (IL-13R alpha 2), and survivin, and their peptide epitopes were emulsified in Montanide-ISA-51 and given every 3 weeks with intramuscular polyinosinic-polycytidylic acid stabilized by lysine and carboxymethylcellulose for eight courses, followed by booster vaccinations every 6 weeks. Primary end points were safety and T-cell responses against vaccine-targeted GAA epitopes. Treatment response was evaluated clinically and by magnetic resonance imaging. Results Twenty-six children were enrolled, 14 with newly diagnosed BSG treated with irradiation and 12 with newly diagnosed BSG or HGG treated with irradiation and concurrent chemotherapy. No dose-limiting non-CNS toxicity was encountered. Five children had symptomatic pseudoprogression, which responded to dexamethasone and was associated with prolonged survival. Only two patients had progressive disease during the first two vaccine courses; 19 had stable disease, two had partial responses, one had a minor response, and two had prolonged disease-free status after surgery. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent spot analysis in 21 children showed positive anti-GAA immune responses in 13: to IL-13R alpha 2 in 10, EphA2 in 11, and survivin in three. Conclusion GAA peptide vaccination in children with gliomas is generally well tolerated and has preliminary evidence of immunologic and clinical responses. Careful monitoring and management of pseudoprogression is essential. (C) 2014 by American Society of Clinical Oncology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The adenosinergic pathway plays an important role in cancer progression. Aside from regulating functions of tumor cells and tissue cells present in the tumor microenvironment, extracellular adenosine is an autocrine or paracrine factor with powerful immunoregulatory activity. Adenosine signaling downregulates functions of most immune effector cells but enhances expansion and activity of immune cells responsible for suppression of anti-tumor immune responses. Adenosine is critical for limiting potential tissue-destructive effects of activated immune cells. It also facilitates tumor escape from the immune control. This review illustrates the involvement of adenosine and its four receptors, A1R, A2AR, A2BR and A3R, in the complex regulation of cellular and molecular cross talk that contributes to cancer progression. It also considers the potential of therapeutics targeting the adenosinergic pathway for benefiting cancer patients.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: While murine CD4(+) CD39(+) Treg co-express CD73 and hydrolyze exogenous (e) ATP to immunosuppressive adenosine (ADO), surface co-expression of CD73 on human circulating CD4(+) CD39(+) Treg is rare. Therefore, the ability of human Treg to produce and utilize ADO for suppression remains unclear. Using mass spectrometry, we measured nucleoside production by subsets of human CD4(+) CD39(+) and CD4(+) CD39(-)CD73(+) T cells or CD19(+) B cells isolated from blood of 30 volunteers and 14 cancer patients. CD39 and CD73 expression was evaluated by flow cytometry, western-blots, confocal microscopy or RT-PCR. Circulating CD4+CD39+ Treg which hydrolyzed eATP to 5'-AMP contained few intracytoplasmic granules and had low CD73 mRNA levels. Only ∼1% of these Treg were CD39+CD73+. In contrast, CD4(+) CD39(neg) CD73(+) T cells contained numerous CD73(+) granules in the cytoplasm and strongly expressed surface CD73. In vitro-generated Treg (Tr1) and most B cells were CD39(+) CD73(+) . All these CD73(+) T cell subsets and B cells hydrolyzed 5'-AMP to ADO. Exosomes isolated from plasma of NC or cancer patients carried enzymatically-active CD39 and CD73(+) and, when supplied with eATP hydrolyzed it to ADO. Only CD4+CD39+ Treg co-incubated with CD4(+) CD73(+) T cells, B cells or CD39(+) CD73(+) exosomes produced ADO. Thus, contact with membrane-tethered CD73 was sufficient for ADO production by CD4+CD39+ Treg. In microenvironments containing CD4(+) CD73(+) T cells, B cells or CD39(+) CD73(+) exosomes, CD73 is readily available to CD4(+) CD39(+) CD73(neg) Treg for the production of immunosuppressive ADO.