Mlecnik, B. et al. Functional Network Pipeline Reveals Genetic Determinants Associated with in Situ Lymphocyte Proliferation and Survival of Cancer Patients. Science Translational Medicine 6, Nr. 228 (19. März 2014): 228ra37. doi:10.1126/scitranslmed.3007240.
The tumor microenvironment is host to a complex network of cytokines that contribute to shaping the intratumoral immune reaction. Chromosomal gains and losses, coupled with expression analysis, of 59 cytokines and receptors and their functional networks were investigated in colorectal cancers. Changes in local expression for 13 cytokines were shown. Metastatic patients exhibited an increased frequency of deletions of cytokines from chromosome 4. Interleukin 15 (IL15) deletion corresponded with decreased IL15 expression, a higher risk of tumor recurrence, and reduced patient survival. Decreased IL15 expression affected the local proliferation of B and T lymphocytes. Patients with proliferating B and T cells at the invasive margin and within the tumor center had significantly prolonged disease-free survival. These results delineate chromosomal instability as a mechanism of modulating local cytokine expression in human tumors and underline the major role of IL15. Our data provide further mechanisms resulting in changes of specific immune cell densities within the tumor, and the importance of local active lymphocyte proliferation for patient survival. Read more
Paolino, M. et al. The E3 Ligase Cbl-B and TAM Receptors Regulate Cancer Metastasis via Natural Killer Cells“. Nature, 19. Februar 2014. doi:10.1038/nature12998.
Tumour metastasis is the primary cause of mortality in cancer patients and remains the key challenge for cancer therapy1. New therapeutic approaches to block inhibitory pathways of the immune system have renewed hopes for the utility of such therapies2. Here we show that genetic deletion of the E3 ubiquitin ligase Cbl-b (casitas B-lineage lymphoma-b) or targeted inactivation of its E3 ligase activity licenses natural killer (NK) cells to spontaneously reject metastatic tumours. The TAM tyrosine kinase receptors Tyro3, Axl and Mer (also known as Mertk) were identified as ubiquitylation substrates for Cbl-b. Treatment of wild-type NK cells with a newly developed small molecule TAM kinase inhibitor conferred therapeutic potential, efficiently enhancing anti-metastatic NK cell activity in vivo. Oral or intraperitoneal administration using this TAM inhibitor markedly reduced murine mammary cancer and melanoma metastases dependent on NK cells. We further report that the anticoagulant warfarin exerts anti-metastatic activity in mice via Cbl-b/TAM receptors in NK cells, providing a molecular explanation for a 50-year-old puzzle in cancer biology3. This novel TAM/Cbl-b inhibitory pathway shows that it might be possible to develop a ‘pill’ that awakens the innate immune system to kill cancer metastases. Read more