ABSTRACT: The chemokine receptor CCR4 is preferentially expressed on certain immune cells and some hematological tumor cells, which play pivotal roles in suppression of host immune response. However, the reasons for the upmodulation of CCR4 and its immune functions in solid tumors remain unclear. Herein, we aimed to determine the expression profiles of CCR4 in gastric cancer cells and its role in regulating antitumor immunity. CCR4 expression was assessed in 63 cases of gastric carcinomas by immunohistochemistry. We found cancer cells in lymphocyte-rich carcinomas more frequently showed moderate to strong positive staining for CCR4 than those in conventional carcinomas (P = 0.041), and also found a positive relationship between expression of CCR4 and tumor necrosis factor-α (P = 0.012). Stimulation of gastric cell lines with various cytokines showed that tumor necrosis factor-α uniquely upmodulated CCR4 expression through activation of nuclear factor-κB. Additional coculture experiments showed the forced expression of CCR4 in SGC-7901 cells caused a significant reduction of γ-interferon and elevation of interleukin-10 secretion in the supernatants from cocultured SGC-7901 cells and PBMCs. In addition, granzyme A production in cancer cell-cocultured CD56(+) natural killer cells was significantly downregulated. Inhibition of the overexpressed CCR4 in cancer cells by an inhibitor of CCR4, compound 39, proved to partly restore the antitumor immunity in respect of the inverse changes in those factors. Our studies suggest that the aberrant expression of CCR4 in human gastric cancer could contribute to tumor-induced immunosuppression. Conceivably, downmodulation of CCR4 expression could be a promising immunotherapy for human gastric cancer.
Cancer Science 03/2011; 102(7):1264-71. · 3.33 Impact Factor