Publications

2021
Griffin, G.K., et al. Epigenetic silencing by SETDB1 suppresses tumour intrinsic immunogenicity. Nature 595, 7866, 309-314 (2021).Abstract
Epigenetic dysregulation is a defining feature of tumorigenesis that is implicated in immune escape1,2. Here, to identify factors that modulate the immune sensitivity of cancer cells, we performed in vivo CRISPR-Cas9 screens targeting 936 chromatin regulators in mouse tumour models treated with immune checkpoint blockade. We identified the H3K9 methyltransferase SETDB1 and other members of the HUSH and KAP1 complexes as mediators of immune escape3-5. We also found that amplification of SETDB1 (1q21.3) in human tumours is associated with immune exclusion and resistance to immune checkpoint blockade. SETDB1 represses broad domains, primarily within the open genome compartment. These domains are enriched for transposable elements (TEs) and immune clusters associated with segmental duplication events, a central mechanism of genome evolution6. SETDB1 loss derepresses latent TE-derived regulatory elements, immunostimulatory genes, and TE-encoded retroviral antigens in these regions, and triggers TE-specific cytotoxic T cell responses in vivo. Our study establishes SETDB1 as an epigenetic checkpoint that suppresses tumour-intrinsic immunogenicity, and thus represents a candidate target for immunotherapy.
Gomes-Santos, I.L., et al. Exercise Training Improves Tumor Control by Increasing CD8 T-cell Infiltration via CXCR3 Signaling and Sensitizes Breast Cancer to Immune Checkpoint Blockade. Cancer Immunol Res 9, 7, 765-778 (2021).Abstract
The mechanisms behind the antitumor effects of exercise training (ExTr) are not fully understood. Using mouse models of established breast cancer, we examined here the causal role of CD8+ T cells in the benefit acquired from ExTr in tumor control, as well as the ability of ExTr to improve immunotherapy responses. We implanted E0771, EMT6, MMTV-PyMT, and MCa-M3C breast cancer cells orthotopically in wild-type or Cxcr3-/- female mice and initiated intensity-controlled ExTr sessions when tumors reached approximately 100 mm3 We characterized the tumor microenvironment (TME) using flow cytometry, transcriptome analysis, proteome array, ELISA, and immunohistochemistry. We used antibodies against CD8+ T cells for cell depletion. Treatment with immune checkpoint blockade (ICB) consisted of anti-PD-1 alone or in combination with anti-CTLA-4. ExTr delayed tumor growth and induced vessel normalization, demonstrated by increased pericyte coverage and perfusion and by decreased hypoxia. ExTr boosted CD8+ T-cell infiltration, with enhanced effector function. CD8+ T-cell depletion prevented the antitumor effect of ExTr. The recruitment of CD8+ T cells and the antitumor effects of ExTr were abrogated in Cxcr3-/- mice, supporting the causal role of the CXCL9/CXCL11-CXCR3 pathway. ExTr also sensitized ICB-refractory breast cancers to treatment. Our results indicate that ExTr can normalize the tumor vasculature, reprogram the immune TME, and enhance the antitumor activity mediated by CD8+ T cells via CXCR3, boosting ICB responses. Our findings and mechanistic insights provide a rationale for the clinical translation of ExTr to improve immunotherapy of breast cancer.
Li, Y., et al. FGFR-inhibitor-mediated dismissal of SWI/SNF complexes from YAP-dependent enhancers induces adaptive therapeutic resistance. Nat Cell Biol 23, 11, 1187-1198 (2021).Abstract
How cancer cells adapt to evade the therapeutic effects of drugs targeting oncogenic drivers is poorly understood. Here we report an epigenetic mechanism leading to the adaptive resistance of triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) to fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) inhibitors. Prolonged FGFR inhibition suppresses the function of BRG1-dependent chromatin remodelling, leading to an epigenetic state that derepresses YAP-associated enhancers. These chromatin changes induce the expression of several amino acid transporters, resulting in increased intracellular levels of specific amino acids that reactivate mTORC1. Consistent with this mechanism, addition of mTORC1 or YAP inhibitors to FGFR blockade synergistically attenuated the growth of TNBC patient-derived xenograft models. Collectively, these findings reveal a feedback loop involving an epigenetic state transition and metabolic reprogramming that leads to adaptive therapeutic resistance and provides potential therapeutic strategies to overcome this mechanism of resistance.
Calvo, I.A., et al. The fission yeast FLCN/FNIP complex augments TORC1 repression or activation in response to amino acid (AA) availability. iScience 24, 11, 103338 (2021).Abstract
The target of Rapamycin complex1 (TORC1) senses and integrates several environmental signals, including amino acid (AA) availability, to regulate cell growth. Folliculin (FLCN) is a tumor suppressor (TS) protein in renal cell carcinoma, which paradoxically activates TORC1 in response to AA supplementation. Few tractable systems for modeling FLCN as a TS are available. Here, we characterize the FLCN-containing complex in Schizosaccharomyces pombe (called BFC) and show that BFC augments TORC1 repression and activation in response to AA starvation and supplementation, respectively. BFC co-immunoprecipitates V-ATPase, a TORC1 modulator, and regulates its activity in an AA-dependent manner. BFC genetic and proteomic networks identify the conserved peptide transmembrane transporter Ptr2 and the phosphoribosylformylglycinamidine synthase Ade3 as new AA-dependent regulators of TORC1. Overall, these data ascribe an additional repressive function to Folliculin in TORC1 regulation and reveal S. pombe as an excellent system for modeling the AA-dependent, FLCN-mediated repression of TORC1 in eukaryotes.
Shirasaki, R., et al. Functional Genomics Identify Distinct and Overlapping Genes Mediating Resistance to Different Classes of Heterobifunctional Degraders of Oncoproteins. Cell Rep 34, 1, 108532 (2021).Abstract
Heterobifunctional proteolysis-targeting chimeric compounds leverage the activity of E3 ligases to induce degradation of target oncoproteins and exhibit potent preclinical antitumor activity. To dissect the mechanisms regulating tumor cell sensitivity to different classes of pharmacological "degraders" of oncoproteins, we performed genome-scale CRISPR-Cas9-based gene editing studies. We observed that myeloma cell resistance to degraders of different targets (BET bromodomain proteins, CDK9) and operating through CRBN (degronimids) or VHL is primarily mediated by prevention of, rather than adaptation to, breakdown of the target oncoprotein; and this involves loss of function of the cognate E3 ligase or interactors/regulators of the respective cullin-RING ligase (CRL) complex. The substantial gene-level differences for resistance mechanisms to CRBN- versus VHL-based degraders explains mechanistically the lack of cross-resistance with sequential administration of these two degrader classes. Development of degraders leveraging more diverse E3 ligases/CRLs may facilitate sequential/alternating versus combined uses of these agents toward potentially delaying or preventing resistance.
Färkkilä, A., et al. Heterogeneity and Clonal Evolution of Acquired PARP Inhibitor Resistance in and -Deficient Cells. Cancer Res 81, 10, 2774-2787 (2021).Abstract
Homologous recombination (HR)-deficient cancers are sensitive to poly-ADP ribose polymerase inhibitors (PARPi), which have shown clinical efficacy in the treatment of high-grade serous cancers (HGSC). However, the majority of patients will relapse, and acquired PARPi resistance is emerging as a pressing clinical problem. Here we generated seven single-cell clones with acquired PARPi resistance derived from a PARPi-sensitive TP53 -/- and BRCA1 -/- epithelial cell line generated using CRISPR/Cas9. These clones showed diverse resistance mechanisms, and some clones presented with multiple mechanisms of resistance at the same time. Genomic analysis of the clones revealed unique transcriptional and mutational profiles and increased genomic instability in comparison with a PARPi-sensitive cell line. Clonal evolutionary analyses suggested that acquired PARPi resistance arose via clonal selection from an intrinsically unstable and heterogenous cell population in the sensitive cell line, which contained preexisting drug-tolerant cells. Similarly, clonal and spatial heterogeneity in tumor biopsies from a clinical patient with BRCA1-mutant HGSC with acquired PARPi resistance was observed. In an imaging-based drug screening, the clones showed heterogenous responses to targeted therapeutic agents, indicating that not all PARPi-resistant clones can be targeted with just one therapy. Furthermore, PARPi-resistant clones showed mechanism-dependent vulnerabilities to the selected agents, demonstrating that a deeper understanding on the mechanisms of resistance could lead to improved targeting and biomarkers for HGSC with acquired PARPi resistance. SIGNIFICANCE: This study shows that BRCA1-deficient cells can give rise to multiple genomically and functionally heterogenous PARPi-resistant clones, which are associated with various vulnerabilities that can be targeted in a mechanism-specific manner.
Wu, L., et al. Losartan prevents tumor-induced hearing loss and augments radiation efficacy in NF2 schwannoma rodent models. Sci Transl Med 13, 602, (2021).Abstract
Hearing loss is one of the most common symptoms of neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2) caused by vestibular schwannomas (VSs). Fibrosis in the VS tumor microenvironment (TME) is associated with hearing loss in patients with NF2. We hypothesized that reducing the fibrosis using losartan, an FDA-approved antihypertensive drug that blocks fibrotic and inflammatory signaling, could improve hearing. Using NF2 mouse models, we found that losartan treatment normalized the TME by (i) reducing neuroinflammatory IL-6/STAT3 signaling and preventing hearing loss, (ii) normalizing tumor vasculature and alleviating neuro-edema, and (iii) increasing oxygen delivery and enhancing efficacy of radiation therapy. In preparation to translate these exciting findings into the clinic, we used patient samples and data and demonstrated that IL-6/STAT3 signaling inversely associated with hearing function, that elevated production of tumor-derived IL-6 was associated with reduced viability of cochlear sensory cells and neurons in ex vivo organotypic cochlear cultures, and that patients receiving angiotensin receptor blockers have no progression in VS-induced hearing loss compared with patients on other or no antihypertensives based on a retrospective analysis of patients with VS and hypertension. Our study provides the rationale and critical data for a prospective clinical trial of losartan in patients with VS.
Daniels, V.W., et al. Metabolic perturbations sensitize triple-negative breast cancers to apoptosis induced by BH3 mimetics. Sci Signal 14, 686, (2021).Abstract
Cancer cells have differential metabolic dependencies compared to their nonmalignant counterparts. However, few metabolism-targeting compounds have been successful in clinical trials. Here, we investigated the metabolic vulnerabilities of triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), particularly those metabolic perturbations that increased mitochondrial apoptotic priming and sensitivity to BH3 mimetics (drugs that antagonize antiapoptotic proteins). We used high-throughput dynamic BH3 profiling (HT-DBP) to screen a library of metabolism-perturbing small molecules, which revealed inhibitors of the enzyme nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase (NAMPT) as top candidates. In some TNBC cells but not in nonmalignant cells, NAMPT inhibitors increased overall apoptotic priming and induced dependencies on specific antiapoptotic BCL-2 family members. Treatment of TNBC cells with NAMPT inhibitors sensitized them to subsequent treatment with BH3 mimetics. The combination of a NAMPT inhibitor (FK866) and an MCL-1 antagonist (S63845) reduced tumor growth in a TNBC patient-derived xenograft model in vivo. We found that NAMPT inhibition reduced NAD+ concentrations below a critical threshold that resulted in depletion of adenine, which was the metabolic trigger that primed TNBC cells for apoptosis. These findings demonstrate a close interaction between metabolic and mitochondrial apoptotic signaling pathways and reveal that exploitation of a tumor-specific metabolic vulnerability can sensitize some TNBC to BH3 mimetics.
Franz, A., et al. Molecular response to PARP1 inhibition in ovarian cancer cells as determined by mass spectrometry based proteomics. J Ovarian Res 14, 1, 140 (2021).Abstract
BACKGROUND: Poly (ADP)-ribose polymerase (PARP) inhibitors have entered routine clinical practice for the treatment of high-grade serous ovarian cancer (HGSOC), yet the molecular mechanisms underlying treatment response to PARP1 inhibition (PARP1i) are not fully understood. METHODS: Here, we used unbiased mass spectrometry based proteomics with data-driven protein network analysis to systematically characterize how HGSOC cells respond to PARP1i treatment. RESULTS: We found that PARP1i leads to pronounced proteomic changes in a diverse set of cellular processes in HGSOC cancer cells, consistent with transcript changes in an independent perturbation dataset. We interpret decreases in the levels of the pro-proliferative transcription factors SP1 and β-catenin and in growth factor signaling as reflecting the anti-proliferative effect of PARP1i; and the strong activation of pro-survival processes NF-κB signaling and lipid metabolism as PARPi-induced adaptive resistance mechanisms. Based on these observations, we nominate several protein targets for therapeutic inhibition in combination with PARP1i. When tested experimentally, the combination of PARPi with an inhibitor of fatty acid synthase (TVB-2640) has a 3-fold synergistic effect and is therefore of particular pre-clinical interest. CONCLUSION: Our study improves the current understanding of PARP1 function, highlights the potential that the anti-tumor efficacy of PARP1i may not only rely on DNA damage repair mechanisms and informs on the rational design of PARP1i combination therapies in ovarian cancer.
Rashid, R., et al. Narrative online guides for the interpretation of digital-pathology images and tissue-atlas data. Nat Biomed Eng (2021).Abstract
Multiplexed tissue imaging facilitates the diagnosis and understanding of complex disease traits. However, the analysis of such digital images heavily relies on the experience of anatomical pathologists for the review, annotation and description of tissue features. In addition, the wider use of data from tissue atlases in basic and translational research and in classrooms would benefit from software that facilitates the easy visualization and sharing of the images and the results of their analyses. In this Perspective, we describe the ecosystem of software available for the analysis of tissue images and discuss the need for interactive online guides that help histopathologists make complex images comprehensible to non-specialists. We illustrate this idea via a software interface (Minerva), accessible via web browsers, that integrates multi-omic and tissue-atlas features. We argue that such interactive narrative guides can effectively disseminate digital histology data and aid their interpretation.
Stewart-Ornstein, J., et al. p53 dynamics vary between tissues and are linked with radiation sensitivity. Nat Commun 12, 1, 898 (2021).Abstract
Radiation sensitivity varies greatly between tissues. The transcription factor p53 mediates the response to radiation; however, the abundance of p53 protein does not correlate well with the extent of radiosensitivity across tissues. Given recent studies showing that the temporal dynamics of p53 influence the fate of cultured cells in response to irradiation, we set out to determine the dynamic behavior of p53 and its impact on radiation sensitivity in vivo. We find that radiosensitive tissues show prolonged p53 signaling after radiation, while more resistant tissues show transient p53 activation. Sustaining p53 using a small molecule (NMI801) that inhibits Mdm2, a negative regulator of p53, reduced viability in cell culture and suppressed tumor growth. Our work proposes a mechanism for the control of radiation sensitivity and suggests tools to alter the dynamics of p53 to enhance tumor clearance. Similar approaches can be used to enhance killing of cancer cells or reduce toxicity in normal tissues following genotoxic therapies.
Dhimolea, E., et al. Pleiotropic Mechanisms Drive Endocrine Resistance in the Three-Dimensional Bone Microenvironment. Cancer Res 81, 2, 371-383 (2021).Abstract
Although hormonal therapy (HT) inhibits the growth of hormone receptor-positive (HR+) breast and prostate cancers, HT resistance frequently develops within the complex metastatic microenvironment of the host organ (often the bone), a setting poorly recapitulated in 2D culture systems. To address this limitation, we cultured HR+ breast cancer and prostate cancer spheroids and patient-derived organoids in 3D extracellular matrices (ECM) alone or together with bone marrow stromal cells (BMSC). In 3D monocultures, antiestrogens and antiandrogens induced anoikis by abrogating anchorage-independent growth of HR+ cancer cells but exhibited only modest effects against tumor cells residing in the ECM niche. In contrast, BMSC induced hormone-independent growth of breast cancer and prostate cancer spheroids and restored lumen filling in the presence of HR-targeting agents. Molecular and functional characterization of BMSC-induced hormone independence and HT resistance in anchorage-independent cells revealed distinct context-dependent mechanisms. Cocultures of ZR75-1 and LNCaP with BMSCs exhibited paracrine IL6-induced HT resistance via attenuation of HR protein expression, which was reversed by inhibition of IL6 or JAK signaling. Paracrine IL6/JAK/STAT3-mediated HT resistance was confirmed in patient-derived organoids cocultured with BMSCs. Distinctly, MCF7 and T47D spheroids retained ER protein expression in cocultures but acquired redundant compensatory signals enabling anchorage independence via ERK and PI3K bypass cascades activated in a non-IL6-dependent manner. Collectively, these data characterize the pleiotropic hormone-independent mechanisms underlying acquisition and restoration of anchorage-independent growth in HR+ tumors. Combined analysis of tumor and microenvironmental biomarkers in metastatic biopsies of HT-resistant patients can help refine treatment approaches. SIGNIFICANCE: This study uncovers a previously underappreciated dependency of tumor cells on HR signaling for anchorage-independent growth and highlights how the metastatic microenvironment restores this malignant property of cancer cells during hormone therapy.
Stump, C.T., Roehle, K., Manjarrez Orduno, N. & Dougan, S.K. Radiation combines with immune checkpoint blockade to enhance T cell priming in a murine model of poorly immunogenic pancreatic cancer. Open Biol 11, 11, 210245 (2021).Abstract
Radiation has been a pillar of cancer therapy for decades. The effects of radiation on the anti-tumour immune response are variable across studies and have not been explicitly defined in poorly immunogenic tumour types. Here, we employed combination checkpoint blockade immunotherapy with stereotactic body radiation therapy and examined the effect on tumour growth and immune infiltrates in subcutaneous and orthotopic mouse models of pancreatic cancer. Although immune checkpoint blockade and radiation were ineffective alone, their combination produced a modest growth delay in both irradiated and non-irradiated tumours that corresponded with significant increases in CD8+ T cells, CD4+ T cells and tumour-specific T cells as identified by IFNγ ELISpot. We conclude that radiation enhances priming of tumour-specific T cells in poorly immunogenic tumours and that the frequency of these T cells can be further increased by combination with immune checkpoint blockade.
Togami, K., et al. Sex-Biased Mutations in Myeloid Malignancies Impair Plasmacytoid Dendritic Cell Activation and Apoptosis. Cancer Discov (2021).Abstract
Blastic plasmacytoid dendritic cell neoplasm (BPDCN) is an aggressive leukemia of plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDC). BPDCN occurs at least three times more frequently in men than in women, but the reasons for this sex bias are unknown. Here, studying genomics of primary BPDCN and modeling disease-associated mutations, we link acquired alterations in RNA splicing to abnormal pDC development and inflammatory response through Toll-like receptors. Loss-of-function mutations in ZRSR2, an X chromosome gene encoding a splicing factor, are enriched in BPDCN, and nearly all mutations occur in males. ZRSR2 mutation impairs pDC activation and apoptosis after inflammatory stimuli, associated with intron retention and inability to upregulate the transcription factor IRF7. In vivo, BPDCN-associated mutations promote pDC expansion and signatures of decreased activation. These data support a model in which male-biased mutations in hematopoietic progenitors alter pDC function and confer protection from apoptosis, which may impair immunity and predispose to leukemic transformation. SIGNIFICANCE: Sex bias in cancer is well recognized, but the underlying mechanisms are incompletely defined. We connect X chromosome mutations in ZRSR2 to an extremely male-predominant leukemia. Aberrant RNA splicing induced by ZRSR2 mutation impairs dendritic cell inflammatory signaling, interferon production, and apoptosis, revealing a sex- and lineage-related tumor suppressor pathway.
Koh, S.-B., et al. Systematic tissue collection during clinical breast biopsy is feasible, safe and enables high-content translational analyses. NPJ Precis Oncol 5, 1, 85 (2021).Abstract
Systematic collection of fresh tissues for research at the time of diagnostic image-guided breast biopsy has the potential to fuel a wide variety of innovative studies. Here we report the initial experience, including safety, feasibility, and laboratory proof-of-principle, with the collection and analysis of research specimens obtained via breast core needle biopsy immediately following routine clinical biopsy at a single institution over a 14-month period. Patients underwent one or two additional core biopsies following collection of all necessary clinical specimens. In total, 395 patients were approached and 270 consented to the research study, yielding a 68.4% consent rate. Among consenting patients, 238 lesions were biopsied for research, resulting in 446 research specimens collected. No immediate complications were observed. Representative research core specimens showed high diagnostic concordance with clinical core biopsies. Flow cytometry demonstrated consistent recovery of hundreds to thousands of viable cells per research core. Among a group of HER2 + tumor research specimens, HER2 assessment by flow cytometry correlated highly with immunohistochemistry (IHC) staining, and in addition revealed extensive inter- and intra-tumoral variation in HER2 levels of potential clinical relevance. Suitability for single-cell transcriptomic analysis was demonstrated for a triple-negative tumor core biopsy, revealing substantial cellular diversity in the tumor immune microenvironment, including a prognostically relevant T cell subpopulation. Thus, collection of fresh tissues for research purposes at the time of diagnostic breast biopsy is safe, feasible and efficient, and may provide a high-yield mechanism to generate a rich tissue repository for a wide variety of cross-disciplinary research.
Hu, H., et al. Three subtypes of lung cancer fibroblasts define distinct therapeutic paradigms. Cancer Cell 39, 11, 1531-1547.e10 (2021).Abstract
Cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) are highly heterogeneous. With the lack of a comprehensive understanding of CAFs' functional distinctions, it remains unclear how cancer treatments could be personalized based on CAFs in a patient's tumor. We have established a living biobank of CAFs derived from biopsies of patients' non-small lung cancer (NSCLC) that encompasses a broad molecular spectrum of CAFs in clinical NSCLC. By functionally interrogating CAF heterogeneity using the same therapeutics received by patients, we identify three functional subtypes: (1) robustly protective of cancers and highly expressing HGF and FGF7; (2) moderately protective of cancers and highly expressing FGF7; and (3) those providing minimal protection. These functional differences among CAFs are governed by their intrinsic TGF-β signaling, which suppresses HGF and FGF7 expression. This CAF functional classification correlates with patients' clinical response to targeted therapies and also associates with the tumor immune microenvironment, therefore providing an avenue to guide personalized treatment.
Bergholtz, H., et al. Best Practices for Spatial Profiling for Breast Cancer Research with the GeoMx Digital Spatial Profiler. Cancers (Basel) 13, 17, (2021).Abstract
Breast cancer is a heterogenous disease with variability in tumor cells and in the surrounding tumor microenvironment (TME). Understanding the molecular diversity in breast cancer is critical for improving prediction of therapeutic response and prognostication. High-plex spatial profiling of tumors enables characterization of heterogeneity in the breast TME, which can holistically illuminate the biology of tumor growth, dissemination and, ultimately, response to therapy. The GeoMx Digital Spatial Profiler (DSP) enables researchers to spatially resolve and quantify proteins and RNA transcripts from tissue sections. The platform is compatible with both formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded and frozen tissues. RNA profiling was developed at the whole transcriptome level for human and mouse samples and protein profiling of 100-plex for human samples. Tissue can be optically segmented for analysis of regions of interest or cell populations to study biology-directed tissue characterization. The GeoMx Breast Cancer Consortium (GBCC) is composed of breast cancer researchers who are developing innovative approaches for spatial profiling to accelerate biomarker discovery. Here, the GBCC presents best practices for GeoMx profiling to promote the collection of high-quality data, optimization of data analysis and integration of datasets to advance collaboration and meta-analyses. Although the capabilities of the platform are presented in the context of breast cancer research, they can be generalized to a variety of other tumor types that are characterized by high heterogeneity.
Lal, J.C., et al. Comparing syngeneic and autochthonous models of breast cancer to identify tumor immune components that correlate with response to immunotherapy in breast cancer. Breast Cancer Res 23, 1, 83 (2021).Abstract
BACKGROUND: The heterogeneity of the breast tumor microenvironment (TME) may contribute to the lack of durable responses to immune checkpoint blockade (ICB); however, mouse models to test this are currently lacking. Proper selection and use of preclinical models are necessary for rigorous, preclinical studies to rapidly move laboratory findings into the clinic. METHODS: Three versions of a common syngeneic model derived from the MMTV-PyMT autochthonous model were generated by inoculating 1E6, 1E5, or 1E4 cells derived from the MMTV-PyMT mouse into wildtype recipient mice. To elucidate how tumor latency and TME heterogeneity contribute to ICB resistance, comprehensive characterization of the TME using quantitative flow-cytometry and RNA expression analysis (NanoString) was performed. Subsequently, response to ICB was tested. These procedures were repeated using the EMT6 breast cancer model. RESULTS: The 3 syngeneic versions of the MMTV-PyMT model had vastly different TMEs that correlated to ICB response. The number of cells used to generate syngeneic tumors significantly influenced tumor latency, infiltrating leukocyte populations, and response to ICB. These results were confirmed using the EMT6 breast cancer model. Compared to the MMTV-PyMT autochthonous model, all 3 MMTV-PyMT syngeneic models had significantly more tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs; CD3+, CD4+, and CD8+) and higher proportions of PD-L1-positive myeloid cells, whereas the MMTV-PyMT autochthonous model had the highest frequency of myeloid cells out of total leukocytes. Increased TILs correlated with response to anti-PD-L1 and anti-CTLA-4 therapy, but PD-L1expression on tumor cells or PD-1 expression of T cells did not. CONCLUSIONS: These studies reveal that tumor cell number correlates with tumor latency, TME, and response to ICB. ICB-sensitive and resistant syngeneic breast cancer models were identified, in which the 1E4 syngeneic model was most resistant to ICB. Given the lack of benefit from ICB in breast cancer, identifying robust murine models presented here provides the opportunity to further interrogate the TME for breast cancer treatment and provide novel insights into therapeutic combinations to overcome ICB resistance.
Mysore, V., et al. FcγR engagement reprograms neutrophils into antigen cross-presenting cells that elicit acquired anti-tumor immunity. Nat Commun 12, 1, 4791 (2021).Abstract
Classical dendritic cells (cDC) are professional antigen-presenting cells (APC) that regulate immunity and tolerance. Neutrophil-derived cells with properties of DCs (nAPC) are observed in human diseases and after culture of neutrophils with cytokines. Here we show that FcγR-mediated endocytosis of antibody-antigen complexes or an anti-FcγRIIIB-antigen conjugate converts neutrophils into nAPCs that, in contrast to those generated with cytokines alone, activate T cells to levels observed with cDCs and elicit CD8+ T cell-dependent anti-tumor immunity in mice. Single cell transcript analyses and validation studies implicate the transcription factor PU.1 in neutrophil to nAPC conversion. In humans, blood nAPC frequency in lupus patients correlates with disease. Moreover, anti-FcγRIIIB-antigen conjugate treatment induces nAPCs that can activate autologous T cells when using neutrophils from individuals with myeloid neoplasms that harbor neoantigens or those vaccinated against bacterial toxins. Thus, anti-FcγRIIIB-antigen conjugate-induced conversion of neutrophils to immunogenic nAPCs may represent a possible immunotherapy for cancer and infectious diseases.
Puleo, J. & Polyak, K. The MCF10 Model of Breast Tumor Progression. Cancer Res 81, 16, 4183-4185 (2021).Abstract
The MCF10 cell lines first described by Soule and colleagues in 1990 have been a great resource for the breast cancer research community, facilitating research on the regulation of normal breast epithelial phenotypes and progressive changes in this regulation during malignancy. Here we review the development of the MCF10 parental and subsequent sublines and highlight a few of the major contributions of MCF10 model systems to breast cancer research.See related article by Soule and colleagues, Cancer Res 1990;50:6075-86.

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