Immune evasion and the suppression of anti-tumor responses during cancer progression are considered hallmarks of cancer and are typically attributed to tumor-derived factors. Although the molecular basis for the crosstalk between tumor and immune cells is an area of active investigation, whether host-specific germline variants can dictate immunosuppressive mechanisms has remained a challenge to address. A commonly occurring germline mutation (c.1162G>A/rs351855 G/A) in the FGFR4 (CD334) gene enhances STAT3 signaling and is associated with poor prognosis and accelerated progression of multiple cancer types. Here, using rs351855 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) knock-in transgenic mice and Fgfr4 knockout mice, we reveal the genotype-specific gain of immunological function of suppressing the CD8/CD4+FOXP3+CD25+ve regulatory T cell ratio in vivo. Furthermore, using knock-in transgenic mouse models for lung and breast cancers, we establish the host-specific tumor-extrinsic functions of STAT3-enhancing germline variants in impeding the tumor infiltration of CD8 T cells. Thus, STAT3-enhancing germline receptor variants contribute to immune evasion through their pleiotropic functions in immune cells.
Daniel Kogan, Alexander Grabner, Christopher Yanucil, Christian Faul, Vijay Kumar Ulaganathan
T cells specific for neoantigens encoded by mutated genes in cancers are increasingly recognized as mediators of tumor destruction after immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy or adoptive cell transfer. Unfortunately, most neoantigens result from random mutations and are patient specific, and some cancers contain few mutations to serve as potential antigens. We describe a patient with stage IV acral melanoma who obtained a complete response following adoptive transfer of tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL). Tumor exome sequencing surprisingly revealed less than 30 somatic mutations, including oncogenic BRAF V600E. Analysis of the specificity of TIL identified rare CD4 T cells specific for BRAFV600E and diverse CD8 T cells reactive to non-mutated self-antigens. These specificities increased in blood after TIL transfer and persisted long term suggesting they contributed to the effective antitumor immune response. Gene transfer of the BRAFV600E-specific T cell receptor (TCR) conferred recognition of class II MHC positive cells expressing the BRAF mutation. Therapy with TCR engineered BRAFV600E-specific CD4+ T cells may have direct antitumor effects and augment CD8+ T cell responses to self and/or mutated tumor antigens in patients with BRAF mutated cancers.
Joshua R. Veatch, Sylvia M. Lee, Matthew Fitzgibbon, I-Ting Chow, Brenda Jesernig, Thomas Schmitt, Ying Ying Kong, Julia Kargl, A. McGarry Houghton, John A. Thompson, Martin McIntosh, William W. Kwok, Stanley R. Riddell
Combination checkpoint blockade (CCB) targeting inhibitory CTLA4 and PD1 receptors holds promise for cancer therapy. Immune-related adverse events (IRAEs) remain a major obstacle for the optimal application of CCB in cancer. Here, we analyzed B cell changes in patients with melanoma following treatment with either anti-CTLA4 or anti-PD1, or in combination. CCB therapy led to changes in circulating B cells that were detectable after the first cycle of therapy and characterized by a decline in circulating B cells and an increase in CD21lo B cells and plasmablasts. PD1 expression was higher in the CD21lo B cells, and B cell receptor sequencing of these cells demonstrated greater clonality and a higher frequency of clones compared with CD21hi cells. CCB induced proliferation in the CD21lo compartment, and single-cell RNA sequencing identified B cell activation in cells with genomic profiles of CD21lo B cells in vivo. Increased clonality of circulating B cells following CCB occurred in some patients. Treatment-induced changes in B cells preceded and correlated with both the frequency and timing of IRAEs. Patients with early B cell changes experienced higher rates of grade 3 or higher IRAEs 6 months after CCB. Thus, early changes in B cells following CCB may identify patients who are at increased risk of IRAEs, and preemptive strategies targeting B cells may reduce toxicities in these patients.
Rituparna Das, Noffar Bar, Michelle Ferreira, Aaron M. Newman, Lin Zhang, Jithendra Kini Bailur, Antonella Bacchiocchi, Harriet Kluger, Wei Wei, Ruth Halaban, Mario Sznol, Madhav V. Dhodapkar, Kavita M. Dhodapkar
Nearly 50% of prostate cancers harbor gene fusions that lead to overexpression of the transcription factor ERG, while a mutually exclusive 10% of prostate cancers harbor recurrent mutations in the gene encoding the E3 ubiquitin ligase SPOP. Recent reports suggest that SPOP acts as a ubiquitin ligase for ERG and propose that ERG stabilization is the oncogenic effector of SPOP mutation. Here, we used human prostate cancer samples and showed that the vast majority of human SPOP-mutant cancers do not express ERG. Comparison of SPOP-mutant and ERG-fusion organoid models showed evidence of divergent, rather than common, transcriptional programs. Furthermore, expression of prostate cancer–associated SPOP mutations in genetically engineered mouse models of SPOP-mutant prostate cancer did not result in the expression of ERG protein in histologically normal prostate glands, high-grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia, invasive adenocarcinoma, or prostate organoids. In summary, we found no evidence that ERG is an effector of SPOP mutation in human prostate cancer or mouse models.
Jonathan Shoag, Deli Liu, Mirjam Blattner, Andrea Sboner, Kyung Park, Lesa Deonarine, Brian D. Robinson, Juan Miguel Mosquera, Yu Chen, Mark A. Rubin, Christopher E. Barbieri
Medulloblastoma, an aggressive cancer of the cerebellum, is among the most common pediatric brain tumors. Approximately one-third of medulloblastomas are associated with misactivation of the Hedgehog (Hh) pathway. GLI family zinc finger 2 (GLI2) coordinates the Hh transcriptional program; however, the GLI2 targets that promote cancer cell proliferation are unknown. Here, we incorporated a Gli2-EGFP allele into 2 different genetic mouse models of Hh-associated medulloblastoma. Hh signaling induced GLI2 binding to the Cdk6 promoter and activated Cdk6 expression, thereby promoting uncontrolled cell proliferation. Genetic or pharmacological inhibition of CDK6 in mice repressed the growth of Hh-associated medulloblastoma and prolonged survival through inhibition of cell proliferation. In human medulloblastoma, misactivation of Hh signaling was associated with high levels of CDK6, pointing to CDK6 as a direct transcriptional target of the Hh pathway. These results suggest that CDK6 antagonists may be a promising therapeutic approach for Hh-associated medulloblastoma in humans.
David R. Raleigh, Pervinder K. Choksi, Alexis Leigh Krup, Wasima Mayer, Nicole Santos, Jeremy F. Reiter
Primary immunodeficiencies are often monogenic disorders characterized by vulnerability to specific infectious pathogens. Here, we performed whole-exome sequencing of a patient with disseminated Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Streptococcus viridians bacteremia, and cytomegalovirus (CMV) viremia and identified mutations in 2 genes that regulate distinct IFN pathways. The patient had a homozygous frameshift deletion in IFNGR2, which encodes the signal transducing chain of the IFN-γ receptor, that resulted in minimal protein expression and abolished downstream signaling. The patient also harbored a homozygous deletion in IFNAR1 (IFNAR1*557Gluext*46), which encodes the IFN-α receptor signaling subunit. The IFNAR1*557Gluext*46 resulted in replacement of the stop codon with 46 additional codons at the C-terminus. The level of IFNAR1*557Gluext*46 mutant protein expressed in patient fibroblasts was comparable to levels of WT IFNAR1 in control fibroblasts. IFN-α–induced signaling was impaired in the patient fibroblasts, as evidenced by decreased STAT1/STAT2 phosphorylation, nuclear translocation of STAT1, and expression of IFN-α–stimulated genes critical for CMV immunity. Pretreatment with IFN-α failed to suppress CMV protein expression in patient fibroblasts, whereas expression of WT IFNAR1 restored IFN-α–mediated suppression of CMV. This study identifies a human IFNAR1 mutation and describes a digenic immunodeficiency specific to type I and type II IFNs.
Rodrigo Hoyos-Bachiloglu, Janet Chou, Catherine N. Sodroski, Abdallah Beano, Wayne Bainter, Magdalena Angelova, Eman Al Idrissi, Murad K. Habazi, Hamza Ali Alghamdi, Fahd Almanjomi, Mohamed Al Shehri, Nagi Elsidig, Morsi Alaa Eldin, David M. Knipe, Mofareh AlZahrani, Raif S. Geha
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