Matilde D'Asaro

Università degli studi di Palermo, Palermo, Sicily, Italy

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Publications (6)36.25 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The potent anti-tumour activities of gammadelta T cells have prompted the development of protocols in which gammadelta-agonists are administered to cancer patients. Encouraging results from small Phase I trials have fuelled efforts to characterize more clearly the application of this approach to unmet clinical needs such as metastatic carcinoma. To examine this approach in breast cancer, a Phase I trial was conducted in which zoledronate, a Vgamma9Vdelta2 T cell agonist, plus low-dose interleukin (IL)-2 were administered to 10 therapeutically terminal, advanced metastatic breast cancer patients. Treatment was well tolerated and promoted the effector maturation of Vgamma9Vdelta2 T cells in all patients. However, a statistically significant correlation of clinical outcome with peripheral Vgamma9Vdelta2 T cell numbers emerged, as seven patients who failed to sustain Vgamma9Vdelta2 T cells showed progressive clinical deterioration, while three patients who sustained robust peripheral Vgamma9Vdelta2 cell populations showed declining CA15-3 levels and displayed one instance of partial remission and two of stable disease, respectively. In the context of an earlier trial in prostate cancer, these data emphasize the strong linkage of Vgamma9Vdelta2 T cell status to reduced carcinoma progression, and suggest that zoledronate plus low-dose IL-2 offers a novel, safe and feasible approach to enhance this in a subset of treatment-refractory patients with advanced breast cancer.
    Clinical & Experimental Immunology 08/2010; 161(2):290-7. · 3.41 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Imatinib mesylate (imatinib), a competitive inhibitor of the BCR-ABL tyrosine kinase, is highly effective against chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) cells. However, because 20-30% of patients affected by CML display either primary or secondary resistance to imatinib, intentional activation of Vgamma9Vdelta2 T cells by phosphoantigens or by agents that cause their accumulation within cells, such as zoledronate, may represent a promising strategy for the design of a novel and highly innovative immunotherapy capable to overcome imatinib resistance. In this study, we show that Vgamma9Vdelta2 T lymphocytes recognize, trogocytose, and efficiently kill imatinib-sensitive and -resistant CML cell lines pretreated with zoledronate. Vgamma9Vdelta2 T cell cytotoxicity was largely dependent on the granule exocytosis- and partly on TRAIL-mediated pathways, was TCR-mediated, and required isoprenoid biosynthesis by zoledronate-treated CML cells. Importantly, Vgamma9Vdelta2 T cells from patients with CML can be induced by zoledronate to develop antitumor activity against autologous and allogeneic zoledronate-treated leukemia cells, both in vitro and when transferred into immunodeficient mice in vivo. We conclude that intentional activation of Vgamma9Vdelta2 T cells by zoledronate may substantially increase their antileukemia activities and represent a novel strategy for CML immunotherapy.
    The Journal of Immunology 02/2010; 184(6):3260-8. · 5.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Colon cancer comprises a small population of cancer stem cells (CSC) that is responsible for tumor maintenance and resistant to cancer therapies, possibly allowing for tumor recapitulation once treatment stops. We previously demonstrated that such chemoresistance is mediated by autocrine production of IL-4 through the up-regulation of antiapoptotic proteins. Several innate and adaptive immune effector cells allow for the recognition and destruction of cancer precursors before they constitute the tumor mass. However, cellular immune-based therapies have not been experimented yet in the population of CSCs. Here, we show that the bisphosphonate zoledronate sensitizes colon CSCs to Vgamma9Vdelta2 T cell cytotoxicity. Proliferation and production of cytokines (TNF-alpha and IFN-gamma) and cytotoxic and apoptotic molecules (TRAIL and granzymes) were also induced after exposure of Vgamma9Vdelta2 T cells to sensitized targets. Vgamma9Vdelta2 T cell cytotoxicity was mediated by the granule exocytosis pathway and was highly dependent on isoprenoid production by of tumor cells. Moreover, CSCs recognition and killing was mainly TCR mediated, whereas NKG2D played a role only when tumor targets expressed several NKG2D ligands. We conclude that intentional activation of Vgamma9Vdelta2 T cells by zoledronate may substantially increase antitumor activities and represent a novel strategy for colon cancer immunotherapy.
    The Journal of Immunology 07/2009; 182(11):7287-96. · 5.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The increasing evidence that gammadelta T cells have potent antitumor activity suggests their value in immunotherapy, particularly in areas of unmet need such as metastatic carcinoma. To this end, we initiated a phase I clinical trial in metastatic hormone-refractory prostate cancer to examine the feasibility and consequences of using the gammadelta T-cell agonist zoledronate, either alone or in combination with low-dose interleukin 2 (IL-2), to activate peripheral blood gammadelta cells. Nine patients were enlisted to each arm. Neither treatment showed appreciable toxicity. Most patients were treated with zoledronate + IL-2, but conversely only two treated with zoledronate displayed a significant long-term shift of peripheral gammadelta cells toward an activated effector-memory-like state (T(EM)), producing IFN-gamma and perforin. These patients also maintained serum levels of tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis inducing ligand (TRAIL), consistent with a parallel microarray analysis showing that TRAIL is produced by gammadelta cells activated via the T-cell receptor and IL-2. Moreover, the numbers of T(EM) gammadelta cells showed a statistically significant correlation with declining prostate-specific antigen levels and objective clinical outcomes that comprised three instances of partial remission and five of stable disease. By contrast, most patients treated only with zoledronate failed to sustain either gammadelta cell numbers or serum TRAIL, and showed progressive clinical deterioration. Thus, zoledronate + IL-2 represents a novel, safe, and feasible approach to induce immunologic and clinical responses in patients with metastatic carcinomas, potentially providing a substantially increased window for specific approaches to be administered. Moreover, gammadelta cell phenotypes and possibly serum TRAIL may constitute novel biomarkers of prognosis upon therapy with zoledronate + IL-2 in metastatic carcinoma.
    Cancer Research 09/2007; 67(15):7450-7. · 8.65 Impact Factor
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    Leukemia 04/2006; 20(3):545-7. · 10.16 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In this study we have evaluated the in vitro effects of four different aminobisphosphonates, alendronate, risedronate, neridronate and zoledronate, on Vgamma9Vdelta2 T cell activation and differentiation. All tested aminobisphosphonates induce an IL-2-dependent activation and expansion of Vgamma9Vdelta2 T lymphocytes in primary PBMC cultures of healthy donors. Most notably, they also determine a different distribution of Vgamma9Vdelta2 T cell subsets, with decrease of T(naive) and T(CM) cells and increase of T(EM) and T(EMRA) Vgamma9Vdelta2cells, indicating that in vitro treatment with aminobisphosphonates induces Vgamma9Vdelta2 T lymphocytes to differentiate towards an effector/cytotoxic phenotype. Accordingly, Vgamma9Vdelta2 T lymphocytes cultured with aminobisphosphonates and IL-2 showed a major content of IFN-gamma and acquired the ability to kill tumor target cells.
    International journal of immunopathology and pharmacology 01/2006; 19(2):309-17. · 2.99 Impact Factor