Rakesh Sharma

University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, United States

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Publications (3)25.83 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The microenvironment of human follicular lymphoma (FL), an incurable B cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, is thought to play a major role in its pathogenesis and course. Microenvironmental cells of likely importance include follicular Th cells (TFH) and regulatory T cells (Tregs), and understanding their interactions with FL tumor cells is necessary to develop novel therapeutic strategies. We found that IL-4 and CD40L are expressed by intratumoral TFH and induce production of CCL17 and CCL22 by FL tumor cells. IL-4 alone induces only CCL17 but enhances stimulation by CD40L of both CCL17 and CCL22. Consistent with our in vitro results, mRNA transcripts of IL-4 correlated with CCL17, but not CCL22, in gene expression profiling studies of FL biopsies, whereas CD40L correlated with both CCL17 and CCL22. Tumor supernatants induced preferential migration of Tregs and IL-4-producing T cells rather than IFN-γ-producing T cells, and Abs to CCR4 significantly abrogated the migration of Tregs. Our results suggest that through two distinct mechanisms, intratumoral TFH induce production of CCL17 and CCL22 by FL tumor cells and facilitate active recruitment of Tregs and IL-4-producing T cells, which, in turn, may stimulate more chemokine production in a feed-forward cycle. Thus, TFH appear to play a major role in generating an immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment that promotes immune escape and tumor survival and growth. Our results provide novel insights into the cross talk among TFH, tumor cells, and Tregs in FL, and offer potential targets for development of therapeutic strategies to overcome immune evasion.
    No preview · Article · May 2013 · The Journal of Immunology
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    ABSTRACT: Immunotherapy with therapeutic idiotype vaccines offers promise for treatment of B-cell malignancies. However, identification of novel immunogenic lymphoma-associated antigens that are universally expressed is necessary to overcome the barriers of patient-specific idiotype vaccines. Here, we determined whether T-cell leukemia/lymphoma 1 (TCL1) oncoprotein encoded by the TCL1 gene could be a target for immunotherapy of B-cell malignancies. We show that TCL1 mRNA and protein are selectively expressed in normal B cells but markedly hyperexpressed in multiple human B-cell lymphomas, including follicular lymphoma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, mantle cell lymphoma, diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, and splenic marginal zone B-cell lymphoma. We demonstrated that TCL1-specific CD8(+) T cells can be generated from HLA-A*0201 (HLA-A2)(+) normal donors and identified TCL1(71-78) (LLPIMWQL) as the minimal epitope recognized by these T cells. More importantly, TCL1(71-78) peptide-specific T cells were present in the peripheral blood and tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes of lymphoma patients, could be expanded in vitro, and lysed autologous tumor cells but not normal B cells in an HLA-A2-restricted manner. Our results suggest that TCL1 is naturally processed and presented on the surface of lymphoma cells for recognition by cytotoxic T cells and can serve as a novel target for development of immunotherapeutic strategies against common B-cell lymphomas.
    Preview · Article · May 2012 · Blood
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    ABSTRACT: Mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) usually responds well to initial therapy but is prone to relapses with chemoresistant disease, indicating the need for novel therapeutic approaches. Inhibition of the p53 E3 ligase human homolog of the murine double minute protein-2 (HDM-2) with MI-63 has been validated as one such strategy in wild-type (wt) p53 models, and our genomic and proteomic analyses demonstrated that MI-63 suppressed the expression of the ribonucleotide reductase (RNR) subunit M2 (RRM2). This effect occurred in association with induction of p21 and cell-cycle arrest at G(1)/S and prompted us to examine combinations with the RNR inhibitor 2',2'-difluoro-2'-deoxycytidine (gemcitabine). The regimen of MI-63-gemcitabine induced enhanced, synergistic antiproliferative, and proapoptotic effects in wtp53 MCL cell lines. Addition of exogenous dNTPs reversed this effect, whereas shRNA-mediated inhibition of RRM2 was sufficient to induce synergy with gemcitabine. Combination therapy of MCL murine xenografts with gemcitabine and MI-219, the in vivo analog of MI-63, resulted in enhanced antitumor activity. Finally, synergy was seen with MI-63-gemcitabine in primary patient samples that were found to express high levels of RRM2 compared with MCL cell lines. These findings provide a framework for translation of the rational combination of an HDM-2 and RNR inhibitor to the clinic for patients with relapsed wtp53 MCL.
    Preview · Article · Aug 2011 · Blood