Publications by authors named "Thomas J Sayers"

44 Publications

Small-Molecule Natural Product Physachenolide C Potentiates Immunotherapy Efficacy by Targeting BET Proteins.

Cancer Res 2021 Apr 9. Epub 2021 Apr 9.

Basic Science Program, Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research.

Screening for sensitizers of cancer cells to TRAIL-mediated apoptosis identified a natural product (NP) of the 17β-hydroxywithanolide (17-BHW) class, physachenolide C (PCC), as a promising hit. In this study, we show that PCC was also able to sensitize melanoma and renal carcinoma cells to apoptosis in response not only to TRAIL, but also to the synthetic polynucleotide poly I:C, a viral mimetic and immune activator, by reducing levels of anti-apoptotic proteins cFLIP and Livin. Both death receptor and TLR3 signaling elicited subsequent increased assembly of a pro-apoptotic ripoptosome signaling complex. Administration of a combination of PCC and poly I:C in human M14 melanoma xenograft and a syngeneic B16 melanoma model provided significant therapeutic benefit as compared to individual agents. Additionally, PCC enhanced melanoma cell death in response to activated human T cells in vitro and in vivo in a death ligand-dependent manner. Biochemical mechanism of action studies established bromo and extraterminal domain (BET) proteins as major cellular targets of PCC. Thus, by targeting of BET proteins to reduce anti-apoptotic proteins and enhance caspase 8-dependent apoptosis of cancer cells, PCC represents a unique agent that can potentially be used in combination with various immunotherapeutic approaches to promote tumor regression and improve outcome.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-20-2634DOI Listing
April 2021

Sensitization of renal carcinoma cells to TRAIL-induced apoptosis by rocaglamide and analogs.

Sci Rep 2018 11 30;8(1):17519. Epub 2018 Nov 30.

National Cancer Institute, Molecular Targets Program, Frederick, MD, 21702, USA.

Rocaglamide has been reported to sensitize several cell types to TRAIL-induced apoptosis. In recent years, advances in synthetic techniques have led to generation of novel rocaglamide analogs. However, these have not been extensively analyzed as TRAIL sensitizers, particularly in TRAIL-resistant renal cell carcinoma cells. Evaluation of rocaglamide and analogs identified 29 compounds that are able to sensitize TRAIL-resistant ACHN cells to TRAIL-induced, caspase-dependent apoptosis with sub-µM potency which correlated with their potency as protein synthesis inhibitors and with loss of cFLIP protein in the same cells. Rocaglamide alone induced cell cycle arrest, but not apoptosis. Rocaglates averaged 4-5-fold higher potency as TRAIL sensitizers than as protein synthesis inhibitors suggesting a potential window for maximizing TRAIL sensitization while minimizing effects of general protein synthesis inhibition. A wide range of other rocaglate effects (e.g. on JNK or RAF-MEK-ERK signaling, death receptor levels, ROS, ER stress, eIF4E phosphorylation) were assessed, but did not contribute to TRAIL sensitization. Other than a rapid loss of MCL-1, rocaglates had minimal effects on mitochondrial apoptotic pathway proteins. The identification of structurally diverse/mechanistically similar TRAIL sensitizing rocaglates provides insights into both rocaglate structure and function and potential further development for use in RCC-directed combination therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-35908-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6269514PMC
November 2018

Cytotoxic and other withanolides from aeroponically grown Physalis philadelphica.

Phytochemistry 2018 Aug 21;152:174-181. Epub 2018 May 21.

Natural Products Center, School of Natural Resources and the Environment, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, The University of Arizona, 250 E. Valencia Road, Tucson, AZ 85706, United States. Electronic address:

Eleven withanolides including six previously undescribed compounds, 16β-hydroxyixocarpanolide, 24,25-dihydroexodeconolide C, 16,17-dehydro-24-epi-dioscorolide A, 17-epi-philadelphicalactone A, 16-deoxyphiladelphicalactone C, and 4-deoxyixocarpalactone A were isolated from aeroponically grown Physalis philadelphica. Structures of these withanolides were elucidated by the analysis of their spectroscopic (HRMS, 1D and 2D NMR, ECD) data and comparison with published data for related withanolides. Cytotoxic activity of all isolated compounds was evaluated against a panel of five human tumor cell lines (LNCaP, ACHN, UO-31, M14 and SK-MEL-28), and normal (HFF) cells. Of these, 17-epi-philadelphicalactone A, withaphysacarpin, philadelphicalactone C, and ixocarpalactone A exhibited cytotoxicity against ACHN, UO-31, M14 and SK-MEL-28, but showed no toxicity to HFF cells.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.phytochem.2018.04.018DOI Listing
August 2018

Withanolides from Aeroponically Grown Physalis peruviana and Their Selective Cytotoxicity to Prostate Cancer and Renal Carcinoma Cells.

J Nat Prod 2017 07 15;80(7):1981-1991. Epub 2017 Jun 15.

Natural Products Center, School of Natural Resources and the Environment, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, University of Arizona , 250 E. Valencia Road, Tucson, Arizona 85706, United States.

Investigation of aeroponically grown Physalis peruviana resulted in the isolation of 11 new withanolides, including perulactones I-L (1-4), 17-deoxy-23β-hydroxywithanolide E (5), 23β-hydroxywithanolide E (6), 4-deoxyphyperunolide A (7), 7β-hydroxywithanolide F (8), 7β-hydroxy-17-epi-withanolide K (9), 24,25-dihydro-23β,28-dihydroxywithanolide G (10), and 24,25-dihydrowithanolide E (11), together with 14 known withanolides (12-25). The structures of 1-11 were elucidated by the analysis of their spectroscopic data, and 12-25 were identified by comparison of their spectroscopic data with those reported. All withanolides were evaluated for their cytotoxic activity against a panel of tumor cell lines including LNCaP (androgen-sensitive human prostate adenocarcinoma), 22Rv1 (androgen-resistant human prostate adenocarcinoma), ACHN (human renal adenocarcinoma), M14 (human melanoma), SK-MEL-28 (human melanoma), and normal human foreskin fibroblast cells. Of these, the 17β-hydroxywithanolides (17-BHWs) 6, 8, 9, 11-13, 15, and 19-22 showed selective cytotoxic activity against the two prostate cancer cell lines LNCaP and 22Rv1, whereas 13 and 20 exhibited selective toxicity for the ACHN renal carcinoma cell line. These cytotoxicity data provide additional structure-activity relationship information for the 17-BHWs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.jnatprod.6b01129DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6993142PMC
July 2017

17β-Hydroxywithanolides as Sensitizers of Renal Carcinoma Cells to Tumor Necrosis Factor-α Related Apoptosis Inducing Ligand (TRAIL) Mediated Apoptosis: Structure-Activity Relationships.

J Med Chem 2017 04 21;60(7):3039-3051. Epub 2017 Mar 21.

Natural Products Center, School of Natural Resources and the Environment, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, University of Arizona , 250 E. Valencia Road, Tucson, Arizona 85706, United States.

Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is a cancer with poor prognosis, and the 5-year survival rate of patients with metastatic RCC is 5-10%. Consequently, treatment of metastatic RCC represents an unmet clinical need. Screening of a 50 000-member library of natural and synthetic compounds for sensitizers of RCC cells to TRAIL-mediated apoptosis led to identification of the 17β-hydroxywithanolide (17-BHW), withanolide E (1), as a promising lead. To explore structure-activity relationships, we obtained natural and semisynthetic withanolides 1, 2a, 2c, and 3-36 and compared their ability to sensitize TRAIL-mediated apoptosis in a panel of renal carcinoma cells. Our findings revealed that 17-BHWs with a α-oriented side chain are superior to known TRAIL-sensitizing withanolides belonging to withaferin A class with a β-oriented side chain and demonstrated that the 17-BHW scaffold can be modified to enhance sensitization of RCCs to TRAIL-mediated apoptosis, thereby assisting development of natural-product-inspired drugs to treat metastatic RCC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.jmedchem.7b00069DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6986374PMC
April 2017

Using natural products to promote caspase-8-dependent cancer cell death.

Cancer Immunol Immunother 2017 Feb 10;66(2):223-231. Epub 2016 Jun 10.

Cancer and Inflammation Program, National Cancer Institute, Frederick, Frederick, MD, 21702, USA.

The selective killing of cancer cells without toxicity to normal nontransformed cells is an idealized goal of cancer therapy. Thus, there has been much interest in tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL), a protein that appears to selectively kill cancer cells. TRAIL has been reported to trigger apoptosis and under some circumstances, an alternate death signaling pathway termed necroptosis. The relative importance of necroptosis for cell death induction in vivo is under intensive investigation. Nonetheless, many cancer cells (particularly those freshly isolated from cancer patients) are highly resistant to TRAIL-mediated cell death. Therefore, there is an underlying interest in identifying agents that can be combined with TRAIL to improve its efficacy. There are numerous reports in which combination of TRAIL with standard antineoplastic drugs has resulted in enhanced cancer cell death in vitro. However, many of these chemotherapeutic drugs are nonspecific and associated with adverse effects, which raise serious concerns for cancer therapy in patients. By contrast, natural products have been shown to be safer and efficacious alternatives. Recently, a number of studies have suggested that certain natural products when combined with TRAIL can enhance cancer cell death. In this review, we highlight molecular pathways that might be targeted by various natural products to promote cell death, and focus on our recent work with withanolides as TRAIL sensitizers. Finally, we will suggest synergistic approaches for combining active withanolides with various forms of immunotherapy to promote cancer cell death and an effective antitumor immune response.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00262-016-1855-0DOI Listing
February 2017

Bortezomib Improves Adoptive T-cell Therapy by Sensitizing Cancer Cells to FasL Cytotoxicity.

Cancer Res 2015 Dec 22;75(24):5260-72. Epub 2015 Oct 22.

Cancer and Inflammation Program, National Cancer Institute, Frederick, Maryland. Basic Sciences Program, Leidos Biomedical Research, Inc., Frederick, Maryland.

Cancer immunotherapy shows great promise but many patients fail to show objective responses, including in cancers that can respond well, such as melanoma and renal adenocarcinoma. The proteasome inhibitor bortezomib sensitizes solid tumors to apoptosis in response to TNF-family death ligands. Because T cells provide multiple death ligands at the tumor site, we investigated the effects of bortezomib on T-cell responses in immunotherapy models involving low-avidity antigens. Bortezomib did not affect lymphocyte or tissue-resident CD11c(+)CD8(+) dendritic cell counts in tumor-bearing mice, did not inhibit dendritic cell expression of costimulatory molecules, and did not decrease MHC class I/II-associated antigen presentation to cognate T cells. Rather, bortezomib activated NF-κB p65 in CD8(+) T cells, stabilizing expression of T-cell receptor CD3ζ and IL2 receptor-α, while maintaining IFNγ secretion to improve FasL-mediated tumor lysis. Notably, bortezomib increased tumor cell surface expression of Fas in mice as well as human melanoma tissue from a responsive patient. In renal tumor-bearing immunodeficient Rag2(-/-) mice, bortezomib treatment after adoptive T-cell immunotherapy reduced lung metastases and enhanced host survival. Our findings highlight the potential of proteasome inhibitors to enhance antitumor T-cell function in the context of cancer immunotherapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-15-0794DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4681610PMC
December 2015

NK Cells Preferentially Target Tumor Cells with a Cancer Stem Cell Phenotype.

J Immunol 2015 Oct 11;195(8):4010-9. Epub 2015 Sep 11.

Department of Dermatology, University of California Davis School of Medicine, Sacramento, CA 95817; Division of Hematology and Oncology, Department of Internal Medicine, University of California Davis Medical Center, Sacramento, CA 95817

Increasing evidence supports the hypothesis that cancer stem cells (CSCs) are resistant to antiproliferative therapies, able to repopulate tumor bulk, and seed metastasis. NK cells are able to target stem cells as shown by their ability to reject allogeneic hematopoietic stem cells but not solid tissue grafts. Using multiple preclinical models, including NK coculture (autologous and allogeneic) with multiple human cancer cell lines and dissociated primary cancer specimens and NK transfer in NSG mice harboring orthotopic pancreatic cancer xenografts, we assessed CSC viability, CSC frequency, expression of death receptor ligands, and tumor burden. We demonstrate that activated NK cells are capable of preferentially killing CSCs identified by multiple CSC markers (CD24(+)/CD44(+), CD133(+), and aldehyde dehydrogenase(bright)) from a wide variety of human cancer cell lines in vitro and dissociated primary cancer specimens ex vivo. We observed comparable effector function of allogeneic and autologous NK cells. We also observed preferential upregulation of NK activation ligands MICA/B, Fas, and DR5 on CSCs. Blocking studies further implicated an NKG2D-dependent mechanism for NK killing of CSCs. Treatment of orthotopic human pancreatic cancer tumor-bearing NSG mice with activated NK cells led to significant reductions in both intratumoral CSCs and tumor burden. Taken together, these data from multiple preclinical models, including a strong reliance on primary human cancer specimens, provide compelling preclinical evidence that activated NK cells preferentially target cancer cells with a CSC phenotype, highlighting the translational potential of NK immunotherapy as part of a combined modality approach for refractory solid malignancies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4049/jimmunol.1500447DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4781667PMC
October 2015

Impact of dietary components on NK and Treg cell function for cancer prevention.

Mol Carcinog 2015 Sep 1;54(9):669-78. Epub 2015 Apr 1.

Frederick National Laboratory, Center for Cancer Research, NCI, Frederick, Maryland.

An important characteristic of cancer is that the disease can overcome the surveillance of the immune system. A possible explanation for this resistance arises from the ability of tumor cells to block the tumoricidal activity of host immune cells such as natural killer (NK) cells by inducing the localized accumulation of regulatory T (Treg) cells. Evidence exists that components in commonly consumed foods including vitamins A, D, and E, water-soluble constituents of mushrooms, polyphenolics in fruits and vegetables, and n-3 fatty acids in fish oil can modulate NK cell activities, Treg cell properties, and the interactions between those two cell types. Thus, it is extremely important for cancer prevention to understand the involvement of dietary components with the early stage dynamics of interactions among these immune cells. This review addresses the potential significance of diet in supporting the function of NK cells, Treg cells, and the balance between those two cell types, which ultimately results in decreased cancer risk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/mc.22301DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4536099PMC
September 2015

Anti-proliferative but not anti-angiogenic tyrosine kinase inhibitors enrich for cancer stem cells in soft tissue sarcoma.

BMC Cancer 2014 Oct 10;14:756. Epub 2014 Oct 10.

Department of Surgery, Division of Surgical Oncology, University of California Davis Medical Center, 4501 X Street, Sacramento, CA 95817, USA.

Background: Increasing studies implicate cancer stem cells (CSCs) as the source of resistance and relapse following conventional cytotoxic therapies. Few studies have examined the response of CSCs to targeted therapies, such as tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs). We hypothesized that TKIs would have differential effects on CSC populations depending on their mechanism of action (anti-proliferative vs. anti-angiogenic).

Methods: We exposed human sarcoma cell lines to sorafenib, regorafenib, and pazopanib and assessed cell viability and expression of CSC markers (ALDH, CD24, CD44, and CD133). We evaluated survival and CSC phenotype in mice harboring sarcoma metastases after TKI therapy. We exposed dissociated primary sarcoma tumors to sorafenib, regorafenib, and pazopanib, and we used tissue microarray (TMA) and primary sarcoma samples to evaluate the frequency and intensity of CSC markers after neoadjuvant therapy with sorafenib and pazopanib. Parametric and non-parametric statistical analyses were performed as appropriate.

Results: After functionally validating the CSC phenotype of ALDHbright sarcoma cells, we observed that sorafenib and regorafenib were cytotoxic to sarcoma cell lines (P < 0.05), with a corresponding 1.4 - 2.8 fold increase in ALDHbright cells from baseline (P < 0.05). In contrast, we observed negligible effects on viability and CSC sub-populations with pazopanib. At low doses, there was progressive CSC enrichment in vitro after longer term exposure to sorafenib although the anti-proliferative effects were attenuated. In vivo, sorafenib improved median survival by 11 days (P < 0.05), but enriched ALDHbright cells 2.5 - 2.8 fold (P < 0.05). Analysis of primary human sarcoma samples revealed direct cytotoxicity following exposure to sorafenib and regorafenib with a corresponding increase in ALDHbright cells (P < 0.05). Again, negligible effects from pazopanib were observed. TMA analysis of archived specimens from sarcoma patients treated with sorafenib demonstrated significant enrichment for ALDHbright cells in the post-treatment resection specimen (P < 0.05), whereas clinical specimens obtained longitudinally from a patient treated with pazopanib showed no enrichment for ALDHbright cells (P > 0.05).

Conclusions: Anti-proliferative TKIs appear to enrich for sarcoma CSCs while anti-angiogenic TKIs do not. The rational selection of targeted therapies for sarcoma patients may benefit from an awareness of the differential impact of TKIs on CSC populations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2407-14-756DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4200119PMC
October 2014

Increased secretory leukocyte protease inhibitor (SLPI) production by highly metastatic mouse breast cancer cells.

PLoS One 2014 11;9(8):e104223. Epub 2014 Aug 11.

Cancer Research Technology Program, Leidos Biomedical Research, Inc., Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research, Frederick, Maryland, United States of America.

The precise molecular mechanisms enabling cancer cells to metastasize from the primary tumor to different tissue locations are still largely unknown. Secretion of some proteins by metastatic cells could facilitate metastasis formation. The comparison of secreted proteins from cancer cells with different metastatic capabilities in vivo might provide insight into proteins involved in the metastatic process. Comparison of the secreted proteins from the mouse breast cancer cell line 4T1 and its highly metastatic 4T1.2 clone revealed a prominent differentially secreted protein which was identified as SLPI (secretory leukocyte protease inhibitor). Western blotting indicated higher levels of the protein in both conditioned media and whole cell lysates of 4T1.2 cells. Additionally higher levels of SLPI were also observed in 4T1.2 breast tumors in vivo following immunohistochemical staining. A comparison of SLPI mRNA levels by gene profiling using microarrays and RT-PCR did not detect major differences in SLPI gene expression between the 4T1 and 4T1.2 cells indicating that SLPI secretion is regulated at the protein level. Our results demonstrate that secretion of SLPI is drastically increased in highly metastatic cells, suggesting a possible role for SLPI in enhancing the metastatic behavior of breast cancer cell line 4T1.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0104223PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4128660PMC
April 2015

Regulatory T cells and myeloid-derived suppressor cells in the tumor microenvironment undergo Fas-dependent cell death during IL-2/αCD40 therapy.

J Immunol 2014 Jun 7;192(12):5821-9. Epub 2014 May 7.

Cancer and Inflammation Program, National Cancer Institute, Frederick, MD 21702;

Fas ligand expression in certain tumors has been proposed to contribute to immunosuppression and poor prognosis. However, immunotherapeutic approaches may elicit the Fas-mediated elimination of immunosuppressive regulatory T cells (Tregs) and myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) within tumors that represent major obstacles for cancer immunotherapy. Previously, we showed that IL-2 and agonistic CD40 Ab (αCD40) elicited synergistic antitumor responses coincident with the efficient removal of Tregs and MDSCs. We demonstrate in this study in two murine tumor models that Treg and MDSC loss within the tumor microenvironment after IL-2/αCD40 occurs through a Fas-dependent cell death pathway. Among tumor-infiltrating leukocytes, CD8(+) T cells, neutrophils, and immature myeloid cells expressed Fas ligand after treatment. Fas was expressed by tumor-associated Tregs and immature myeloid cells, including MDSCs. Tregs and MDSCs in the tumor microenvironment expressed active caspases after IL-2/αCD40 therapy and, in contrast with effector T cells, Tregs significantly downregulated Bcl-2 expression. In contrast, Tregs and MDSCs proliferated and expanded in the spleen after treatment. Adoptive transfer of Fas-deficient Tregs or MDSCs into wild-type, Treg-, or MDSC-depleted hosts resulted in the persistence of Tregs or MDSCs and the loss of antitumor efficacy in response to IL-2/αCD40. These results demonstrate the importance of Fas-mediated Treg/MDSC removal for successful antitumor immunotherapy. Our results suggest that immunotherapeutic strategies that include exploiting Treg and MDSC susceptibility to Fas-mediated apoptosis hold promise for treatment of cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4049/jimmunol.1400404DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4048774PMC
June 2014

A 1536-well quantitative high-throughput screen to identify compounds targeting cancer stem cells.

J Biomol Screen 2012 Oct 27;17(9):1231-42. Epub 2012 Aug 27.

Division of Preclinical Innovation, National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), National Institutes of Health, Rockville, MD 20850, USA.

Tumor cell subpopulations called cancer stem cells (CSCs) or tumor-initiating cells (TICs) have self-renewal potential and are thought to drive metastasis and tumor formation. Data suggest that these cells are resistant to current chemotherapy and radiation therapy treatments, leading to cancer recurrence. Therefore, finding new drugs and/or drug combinations that cause death of both the differentiated tumor cells as well as CSC populations is a critical unmet medical need. Here, we describe how cancer-derived CSCs are generated from cancer cell lines using stem cell growth media and nonadherent conditions in quantities that enable high-throughput screening (HTS). A cell growth assay in a 1536-well microplate format was developed with these CSCs and used to screen a focused collection of oncology drugs and clinical candidates to find compounds that are cytotoxic against these highly aggressive cells. A hit selection process that included potency and efficacy measurements during the primary screen allowed us to efficiently identify compounds with potent cytotoxic effects against spheroid-derived CSCs. Overall, this research demonstrates one of the first miniaturized HTS assays using CSCs. The procedures described here should enable further testing of the effect of compounds on CSCs and help determine which pathways need to be targeted to kill them.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1087057112458152DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6993186PMC
October 2012

Synergistic TRAIL sensitizers from Barleria alluaudii and Diospyros maritima.

J Nat Prod 2012 Mar 7;75(3):394-9. Epub 2012 Feb 7.

Molecular Targets Laboratory, Molecular Discovery Program, Center for Cancer Research, NCI-Frederick, Frederick, Maryland 21702, United States.

Barleria alluaudii and Diospyros maritima were both investigated as part of an ongoing search for synergistic TRAIL (tumor necrosis factor-α-related apoptosis-inducing ligand) sensitizers. As a result of this study, two naphthoquinone epoxides, 2,3-epoxy-2,3-dihydrolapachol (1) and 2,3-epoxy-2,3-dihydro-8-hydroxylapachol (2), both not previously isolated from natural sources, and the known 2-methylanthraquinone (3) were identified from B. alluaudii. Time-dependent density functional theory (TD-DFT) calculations of electronic circular dichroism (ECD) spectra were utilized to establish the absolute configuration of 1 and 2. Additionally, five known naphthoquinone derivatives, maritinone (4), elliptinone (5), plumbagin (6), (+)-cis-isoshinanolone (7), and ethylidene-6,6'-biplumbagin (8), were isolated from D. maritima. Compounds 1, 2, and 4-6 showed varying levels of synergy with TRAIL. Maritinone (4) and elliptinone (5) showed the highest synergistic effect, with more than a 3-fold increase in activity observed with TRAIL than with compound alone.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/np200805zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3311710PMC
March 2012

ELISPOT Assay for Monitoring Cytotoxic T Lymphocytes (CTL) Activity in Cancer Vaccine Clinical Trials.

Cells 2012 May 10;1(2):111-26. Epub 2012 May 10.

Cancer and Inflammation Program, SAIC-Frederick, Inc., Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research, Frederick, MD 21702, USA.

The profiling and monitoring of immune responses are key elements in the evaluation of the efficacy and development of new biotherapies, and a number of assays have been introduced for analyzing various immune parameters before, during, and after immunotherapy. The choice of immune assays for a given clinical trial depends on the known or suggested immunomodulating mechanisms associated with the tested therapeutic modality. Cell-mediated cytotoxicity represents a key mechanism in the immune response to various pathogens and tumors. Therefore, the selection of monitoring methods for the appropriate assessment of cell-mediated cytotoxicity is thought to be crucial. Assays that can detect both cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) frequency and function, such as the IFN-γ enzyme-linked immunospot assay (ELISPOT) have gained increasing popularity for monitoring clinical trials and in basic research. Results from various clinical trials, including peptide and whole tumor cell vaccination and cytokine treatment, have shown the suitability of the IFN-γ ELISPOT assay for monitoring T cell responses. However, the Granzyme B ELISPOT assay and Perforin ELISPOT assay may represent a more direct analysis of cell-mediated cytotoxicity as compared to the IFN-γ ELISPOT, since Granzyme B and perforin are the key mediators of target cell death via the granule-mediated pathway. In this review we analyze our own data and the data reported by others with regard to the application of various modifications of ELISPOT assays for monitoring CTL activity in clinical vaccine trials.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cells1020111DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3901085PMC
May 2012

Effects of cucurbitacins on cell morphology are associated with sensitization of renal carcinoma cells to TRAIL-induced apoptosis.

Apoptosis 2012 Jan;17(1):79-89

Molecular Targets Laboratory, NCI-Frederick, Frederick, MD, USA.

Cucurbitacins B and D were among the compounds identified as sensitizers of cancer cells to TRAIL-mediated apoptosis in a high-throughput screen. Therefore a series of cucurbitacins was further investigated for TRAIL sensitization and possible mechanisms of action. A total of six cucurbitacins promoted TRAIL-induced apoptosis (B, I, E, C, D, and K) and one (P) was inactive. Sensitization of renal adenocarcinoma cells to TRAIL was apparent after as little as 1-4 h pretreatment and did not require continued presence of cucurbitacin. Active cucurbitacins induced caspase-8 activation only after subsequent TRAIL addition and caspase activation was required for apoptosis suggesting amplified proximal signaling from TRAIL death receptors. Cucurbitacin-sensitized TRAIL-induced cytotoxicity was inhibited by N-acetyl cysteine. Structure-activity relationship analysis in comparison to published studies suggests that TRAIL-sensitizing and general cytotoxic activities of cucurbitacins may be decoupled. Cucurbitacins are reported to be inhibitors of STAT3 activation. However, their TRAIL-sensitizing activity is STAT3-independent. Treatment of renal carcinoma cells with active cucurbitacins produced rapid and dramatic changes in cell morphology and cytoskeletal organization (also prevented by NAC). Therefore, cucurbitacins may be useful as tools for investigating the molecular mechanism(s) of action of TRAIL sensitizers, particularly with regard to temporal aspects of sensitization and modulation of TRAIL signaling by cell morphology, and could form the basis for future therapeutic development in combination with TRAIL death receptor agonists.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10495-011-0652-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3345813PMC
January 2012

Targeting the extrinsic apoptosis signaling pathway for cancer therapy.

Authors:
Thomas J Sayers

Cancer Immunol Immunother 2011 Aug 6;60(8):1173-80. Epub 2011 Apr 6.

SAIC-Frederick, Inc., Laboratory of Experimental Immunology, Center for Cancer Research, Cancer and Inflammation Program, National Cancer Institute, Frederick, MD 21702-1201, USA.

The extrinsic apoptosis pathway is triggered by the binding of death ligands of the tumor necrosis factor (TNF) family to their appropriate death receptors (DRs) on the cell surface. One TNF family member, TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL or Apo2L), seems to preferentially cause apoptosis of transformed cells and can be systemically administered in the absence of severe toxicity. Therefore, there has been enthusiasm for the use of TRAIL or agonist antibodies to the TRAIL DR4 and DR5 in cancer therapy. Nonetheless, many cancer cells are very resistant to TRAIL apoptosis in vitro. Therefore, there is much interest in identifying compounds that can be combined with TRAIL to amplify its apoptotic effects. In this review, I will provide a brief overview of apoptosis signaling by TRAIL and discuss apoptosis-sensitizing agents, focusing mainly on the proteasome inhibitor bortezomib (VELCADE) and some novel sensitizers that we have recently identified. Alternative ways to administer TRAIL or DR agonist antibodies as therapeutic agents will also be described. Finally, I will discuss some of the gaps in our understanding of TRAIL apoptosis signaling and suggest some research directions that may provide additional information for optimizing the targeting of the extrinsic apoptosis pathway for future cancer therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00262-011-1008-4DOI Listing
August 2011

Clerodane diterpenes from Casearia arguta that act as synergistic TRAIL sensitizers.

J Nat Prod 2010 Dec 10;73(12):2013-8. Epub 2010 Nov 10.

Molecular Targets Laboratory, Molecular Discovery Program, Center for Cancer Research, NCI-Frederick, Frederick, MD 21702, USA.

Casearia arguta was investigated as part of the ongoing search for synergistic TRAIL (tumor necrosis factor-α-related apoptosis-inducing ligand) sensitizers. As a result of this study, argutins A-H, eight new highly oxygenated clerodane diterpenes, were isolated from the plant Casearia arguta collected in Guatemala. The modified Mosher ester method was utilized to establish the absolute configuration of argutins A and F. Each of the argutins showed varying levels of synergy with TRAIL. Argutin B showed the highest TRAIL sensitization; the synergistic effect of argutin B and TRAIL together was 3-fold greater than argutin B alone.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/np1004455DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3058848PMC
December 2010

New flow cytometric assays for monitoring cell-mediated cytotoxicity.

Expert Rev Vaccines 2010 Jun;9(6):601-16

Applied and Developmental Research Support Program, SAIC-Frederick, Inc., National Cancer Institute at Frederick, Frederick, MD, USA.

The exact immunologic responses after vaccination that result in effective antitumor immunity have not yet been fully elucidated and the data from ex vivo T-cell assays have not yet defined adequate surrogate markers for clinical efficacy. A more detailed knowledge of the specific immune responses that correlate with positive clinical outcomes should help to develop better or novel strategies to effectively activate the immune system against tumors. Furthermore, clinically relevant material is often limited and, thus, precludes the ability to perform multiple assays. The two main assays currently used to monitor lymphocyte-mediated cytoxicity in cancer patients are the (51)Cr-release assay and IFN-gamma ELISpot assay. The former has a number of disadvantages, including low sensitivity, poor labeling and high spontaneous release of isotope from some tumor target cells. Additional problems with the (51)Cr-release assay include difficulty in obtaining autologous tumor targets, and biohazard and disposal problems for the isotope. The ELISpot assays do not directly measure cytotoxic activity and are, therefore, a surrogate marker of cyotoxic capacity of effector T cells. Furthermore, they do not assess cytotoxicity mediated by the production of the TNF family of death ligands by the cytotoxic cells. Therefore, assays that allow for the simultaneous measurement of several parameters may be more advantageous for clinical monitoring. In this respect, multifactor flow cytometry-based assays are a valid addition to the currently available immunologic monitoring assays. Use of these assays will enable detection and enumeration of tumor-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes and their specific effector functions and any correlations with clinical responses. Comprehensive, multifactor analysis of effector cell responses after vaccination may help to detect factors that determine the success or failure of a vaccine and its immunological potency.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1586/erv.10.49DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2911950PMC
June 2010

Bortezomib sensitizes human esophageal squamous cell carcinoma cells to TRAIL-mediated apoptosis via activation of both extrinsic and intrinsic apoptosis pathways.

Mol Cancer Ther 2010 Jun 1;9(6):1842-51. Epub 2010 Jun 1.

Research Center for Innovative Cancer Therapy, Kurume University, Asahi-machi, Kurume, Japan.

Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) is one of the most aggressive human cancers, and novel treatment modalities are required. We investigated the therapeutic potential of the tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL/Apo2L) in combination with the proteasome inhibitor bortezomib (Velcade) on human ESCC cell lines. Bortezomib enhanced the susceptibility to TRAIL in 12 of the 15 ESCC cell lines tested, although most showed low sensitivity to TRAIL as a single agent. The enhancement of TRAIL-induced apoptosis by bortezomib was caspase dependent. Increased processing of caspase-8 often accompanied enhancement of TRAIL-induced apoptosis by bortezomib. However, the increased cell surface expression of death receptors observed on bortezomib treatment did not seem to be crucial for this effect. For some ESCC, bortezomib treatment resulted in a more efficient recruitment of caspase-8 and the Fas-associated death domain to the death-inducing signaling complex. Additional downregulation of the cellular FLICE-inhibitory protein long isoform [c-FLIP(L)] could cooperate in the activation of the extrinsic pathway in some cases. For other ESCC, the crucial effect of bortezomib treatment seemed to be increased signaling via the intrinsic apoptotic pathway on subsequent exposure to TRAIL. Thus, bortezomib could sensitize ESCC to TRAIL apoptosis by multiple molecular mechanisms of action. Therefore, the combination of bortezomib and TRAIL might be a novel therapeutic strategy for ESCC patients who fail to respond to standard chemoradiotherapy that predominantly targets the mitochondrial apoptotic pathway.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-09-0918DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2884061PMC
June 2010

Bortezomib sensitizes human renal cell carcinomas to TRAIL apoptosis through increased activation of caspase-8 in the death-inducing signaling complex.

Mol Cancer Res 2010 May 4;8(5):729-38. Epub 2010 May 4.

Science Applications International Corporation-Frederick, Inc., MD, USA.

Bortezomib (VELCADE) could sensitize certain human renal cell carcinoma (RCC) lines to the apoptotic effects of tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL). Analysis of seven human RCC showed a clear increase in the sensitivity of four of the RCC to TRAIL cytotoxicity following bortezomib (5-20 nmol/L) treatment, whereas the remaining three remained resistant. Tumor cell death following sensitization had all the features of apoptosis. The enhanced antitumor activity of the bortezomib and TRAIL combination was confirmed in long-term (6 days) cancer cell outgrowth assays. The extent of proteasome inhibition by bortezomib in the various RCC was equivalent. Following bortezomib treatment, neither changes in the intracellular protein levels of various Bcl-2 and IAP family members, nor minor changes in expression of TRAIL receptors (DR4, DR5), correlated well with the sensitization or resistance of RCC to TRAIL-mediated apoptosis. However, enhanced procaspase-8 activation following bortezomib pretreatment and subsequent TRAIL exposure was only observed in the sensitized RCC in both cell extracts and death-inducing signaling complex immunoprecipitates. These data suggest that the molecular basis for bortezomib sensitization of RCC to TRAIL primarily involves early amplification of caspase-8 activity. In the absence of this increased caspase-8 activation, other bortezomib-induced changes are not sufficient to sensitize RCC to TRAIL-mediated apoptosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1541-7786.MCR-10-0022DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2873082PMC
May 2010

Breast cancer bone metastases: combination therapy targeting cancer cells and the tumor microenvironment.

Cancer Biol Ther 2010 Apr 1;9(7):551-3. Epub 2010 Apr 1.

Laboratory of Experimental Immunology, Cancer and Inflammation Program, National Cancer Institute-Frederick, Frederick, MD, USA

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http://dx.doi.org/10.4161/cbt.9.7.11580DOI Listing
April 2010

Optimized combination therapy using bortezomib, TRAIL and TLR agonists in established breast tumors.

Cancer Immunol Immunother 2010 Jul 6;59(7):1073-81. Epub 2010 Mar 6.

Department of Immunology, Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, FL 33612, USA.

TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) is a member of the TNF family of cytokines, which can induce apoptosis in various tumor cells by engaging the receptors, DR4 and DR5. Bortezomib (Velcade) is a proteasome inhibitor that has been approved for patients with multiple myeloma. There is some experimental evidence in preclinical models that bortezomib can enhance the susceptibility of tumors to TRAIL-induced apoptosis. In this study, we investigated the effects of TRAIL-induced death using an agonistic antibody to the TRAIL receptor DR5 (alpha-DR5) in combination with bortezomib administered to mice previously injected with breast cancer cells (TUBO). This combination had some beneficial therapeutic effect, which was significantly enhanced by the co-administration of a Toll-like receptor 9 agonist (CpG). In contrast, single agent treatments had little effect on tumor growth. In addition, we evaluated the effect of combination with alpha-DR5, bortezomib, and CpG in the prevention/treatment of spontaneous mammary tumors in Balb-neuT mice. In this model, which is more difficult to treat, we observed dramatic antitumor effects of alpha-DR5, bortezomib and CpG combination therapy. Since such a mouse model more accurately reflects the immunological tolerance that exists in human cancer, our results strongly suggest that these combination strategies could be directly applied to the therapy for cancer patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00262-010-0834-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6993141PMC
July 2010

Antigen presented by tumors in vivo determines the nature of CD8+ T-cell cytotoxicity.

Cancer Res 2009 Aug 4;69(16):6615-23. Epub 2009 Aug 4.

Laboratory of Experimental Immunology, Cancer and Inflammation Program, National Cancer Institute-Frederick, Maryland 21702, USA.

The biological relevance of the perforin and Fas ligand (FasL) cytolytic pathways of CD8(+) T lymphocytes (CTL) for cancer immunotherapy is controversial. We investigated the importance of these pathways in a murine renal cell carcinoma expressing influenza viral hemagglutinin as a defined surrogate antigen (Renca-HA). Following Renca-HA injection, all FasL-dysfunctional FasL(gld/gld) mice (n = 54) died from Renca-HA tumors by day 62. By contrast, perforin(-/-) (51%; n = 45) and Fas(lpr/lpr) (55%; n = 51) mice remained tumor-free at day 360. Blocking FasL in vivo inhibited tumor rejection in these mice. Moreover, established Renca-HA tumors were cleared more efficiently by adoptively transferred HA(518-526)-specific T-cell receptor-transgenic CTL using FasL rather than perforin. Strikingly, a range of mouse tumor cells presenting low concentrations of immunogenic peptide were all preferentially lysed by the FasL but not the Pfp-mediated effector pathway of CTL, whereas at higher peptide concentrations, the preference in effector pathway usage by CTL was lost. Interestingly, a number of human renal cancer lines were also susceptible to FasL-mediated cytotoxicity. Therefore, the FasL cytolytic pathway may be particularly important for eradicating Fas-sensitive tumors presenting low levels of MHC class I-associated antigens following adoptive T-cell therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-09-0685DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2727577PMC
August 2009

Immunologic and therapeutic synergy of IL-27 and IL-2: enhancement of T cell sensitization, tumor-specific CTL reactivity and complete regression of disseminated neuroblastoma metastases in the liver and bone marrow.

J Immunol 2009 Apr;182(7):4328-38

Science Applications International Corporation, National Cancer Institute-Frederick, MD 21702, USA.

IL-27 exerts antitumor activity in murine orthotopic neuroblastoma, but only partial antitumor effect in disseminated disease. This study demonstrates that combined treatment with IL-2 and IL-27 induces potent antitumor activity in disseminated neuroblastoma metastasis. Complete durable tumor regression was achieved in 90% of mice bearing metastatic TBJ-IL-27 tumors treated with IL-2 compared with only 40% of mice bearing TBJ-IL-27 tumors alone and 0% of mice bearing TBJ-FLAG tumors with or without IL-2 treatment. Comparable antitumor effects were achieved by IL-27 protein produced upon hydrodynamic IL-27 plasmid DNA delivery when combined with IL-2. Although delivery of IL-27 alone, or in combination with IL-2, mediated pronounced regression of neuroblastoma metastases in the liver, combined delivery of IL-27 and IL-2 was far more effective than IL-27 alone against bone marrow metastases. Combined exposure to IL-27 produced by tumor and IL-2 synergistically enhances the generation of tumor-specific CTL reactivity. Potentiation of CTL reactivity by IL-27 occurs via mechanisms that appear to be engaged during both the initial sensitization and effector phase. Potent immunologic memory responses are generated in mice cured of their disseminated disease by combined delivery of IL-27 and IL-2, and depletion of CD8(+) ablates the antitumor efficacy of this combination. Moreover, IL-27 delivery can inhibit the expansion of CD4(+)CD25(+)Foxp3(+) regulatory and IL-17-expressing CD4(+) cells that are otherwise observed among tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes from mice treated with IL-2. These studies demonstrate that IL-27 and IL-2 synergistically induce complete tumor regression and long-term survival in mice bearing widely metastatic neuroblastoma tumors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4049/jimmunol.0800471DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2730673PMC
April 2009

A cell-based high-throughput screen to identify synergistic TRAIL sensitizers.

Cancer Immunol Immunother 2009 Aug 17;58(8):1229-44. Epub 2008 Dec 17.

Molecular Targets Development Program, Center for Cancer Research, NCI-Frederick, Frederick, MD 21702, USA.

We have developed a high-throughput screen (HTS) to search for novel molecules that can synergize with TRAIL, thus promoting apoptosis of ACHN renal tumor cells in a combinatorial fashion. The HTS detects synthetic compounds and pure natural products that can pre-sensitize the cancer cells to TRAIL-mediated apoptosis, yet have limited toxicity on their own. We have taken into account the individual effects of the single agents, versus the combination, and have identified hits that are synergistic, synergistic-toxic, or additive when combined with TRAIL in promoting tumor cell death. Preliminary mechanistic studies indicate that a subset of the synergistic TRAIL sensitizers act very rapidly to promote cleavage and activation of caspase-8 following TRAIL binding. Caspase-8 is an apical enzyme that initiates programmed cell death via the extrinsic apoptotic pathway. Thus, these TRAIL sensitizers may potentially reduce resistance of tumor cells to TRAIL-mediated apoptosis. Two representative sensitizers were found to increase levels of p53 but did not inhibit the proteasome, suggesting that early DNA damage-sensing pathways may be involved in their mechanisms of action.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00262-008-0637-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3168559PMC
August 2009

Differential effects of donor T-cell cytokines on outcome with continuous bortezomib administration after allogeneic bone marrow transplantation.

Blood 2008 Aug 6;112(4):1522-9. Epub 2008 Jun 6.

Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Nevada, School of Medicine, Reno, NV 89557, USA.

Dissociating graft-versus-tumor (GVT) effect from acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) still remains a great challenge in allogeneic bone marrow transplantation (allo-BMT). Bortezomib, a proteasome inhibitor, has shown impressive efficacy as a single agent in patients with hematologic malignancies but can result in toxicity when administered late after allogeneic transplantation in murine models of GVHD. In the current study, the effects of T-cell subsets and their associated cytokines on the efficacy of bortezomib in murine allogeneic BMT were investigated. Increased levels of serum tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNFalpha) and interferon-gamma (IFNgamma) were observed after allo-BMT and continuous bortezomib administration. Bortezomib-induced GVHD-dependent mortality was preventable by depletion of CD4(+) but not CD8(+) T cells from the donor graft. The improved survival correlated with markedly reduced serum TNFalpha but not IFNgamma levels. Transfer of Tnf(-/-) T cells also protected recipients from bortezomib-induced GVHD-dependent toxicity. Importantly, prolonged administration of bortezomib after transplantation of purified CD8(+) T cells resulted in enhanced GVT response, which was dependent on donor CD8(+) T cell-derived IFNgamma. These results indicate that decreased toxicity and increased efficacy of bortezomib in murine allo-BMT can be achieved by removal of CD4(+) T cells from the graft or by inhibiting TNFalpha.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood-2008-03-143461DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2515132PMC
August 2008

Sensitization of tumor cells to NK cell-mediated killing by proteasome inhibition.

J Immunol 2008 Jan;180(1):163-70

Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Nevada School of Medicine, University of Nevada, Reno, NV 89557, USA.

Bortezomib is a proteasome inhibitor that has direct antitumor effects. We and others have previously demonstrated that bortezomib could also sensitize tumor cells to killing via the death ligand, TRAIL. NK cells represent a potent antitumor effector cell. Therefore, we investigated whether bortezomib could sensitize tumor cells to NK cell-mediated killing. Preincubation of tumor cells with bortezomib had no effect on short-term NK cell killing or purified granule killing assays. Using a 24-h lysis assay, increases in tumor killing was only observed using perforin-deficient NK cells, and this increased killing was found to be dependent on both TRAIL and FasL, correlating with an increase in tumor Fas and DR5 expression. Long-term tumor outgrowth assays allowed for the detection of this increased tumor killing by activated NK cells following bortezomib treatment of the tumor. In a tumor purging assay, in which tumor:bone marrow cell mixtures were placed into lethally irradiated mice, only treatment of these mixtures with a combination of NK cells with bortezomib resulted in significant tumor-free survival of the recipients. These results demonstrate that bortezomib treatment can sensitize tumor cells to cellular effector pathways. These results suggest that the combination of proteasome inhibition with immune therapy may result in increased antitumor efficacy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4049/jimmunol.180.1.163DOI Listing
January 2008

NK cells use NKG2D to recognize a mouse renal cancer (Renca), yet require intercellular adhesion molecule-1 expression on the tumor cells for optimal perforin-dependent effector function.

J Immunol 2006 Aug;177(4):2575-83

Laboratory of Experimental Immunology, National Cancer Institute-Frederick, Building 560, Frederick, MD 21702, USA.

The NKG2D receptor on NK cells can recognize a variety of ligands on the tumor cell surface. Using a mouse renal cancer (Renca), we show that NKG2D recognition by NK cells was crucial for their ability to limit tumor metastases in vivo in both liver and lungs using perforin-dependent effector mechanisms. However, for the R331 cell line established from Renca, NKG2D recognition and perforin-dependent lysis played no role in controlling liver metastases. R331 cells were also more resistant to perforin-dependent lysis by NK cells in vitro. We therefore used these phenotypic differences between Renca and R331 to further investigate the crucial receptor:ligand interactions required for triggering lytic effector functions of NK cells. Reconstitution of R331 cells with ICAM-1, but not Rae-1gamma, restored NKG2D-mediated, perforin-dependent lysis. Interestingly, R331 cells were efficiently lysed by NK cells using death ligand-mediated apoptosis. This death ligand-mediated killing did not depend on NKG2D recognition of its ligands on tumor cells. This result suggests that the intracellular signaling in NK cells required for perforin and death ligand-mediated lysis of tumor target cell are quite distinct, and activation of both of these antitumor lytic effector functions of NK cells could improve therapeutic benefits for certain tumors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4049/jimmunol.177.4.2575DOI Listing
August 2006

Proteasome inhibition to maximize the apoptotic potential of cytokine therapy for murine neuroblastoma tumors.

J Immunol 2006 May;176(10):6302-12

Pediatric Oncology Branch, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute at Frederick, Frederick, MD 21702, USA.

Human neuroblastomas possess several mechanisms of self-defense that may confer an ability to resist apoptosis and contribute to the observed difficulty in treating these tumors in the clinical setting. These molecular alterations may include defects in proapoptotic genes as well as the overexpression of prosurvival factors, such as Akt among others. As a key regulator of the turnover of proteins that modulate the cell cycle and mechanisms of apoptosis, the proteasome could serve as an important target for the treatment of neuroblastoma. The present studies provide the first evidence that bortezomib, a newly approved inhibitor of proteasome function, inhibits phosphorylation of Akt, induces the translocation of proapoptotic Bid, and potently enhances the apoptosis of murine neuroblastoma tumor cells in vitro. Furthermore, in that inhibitors of the Akt pathway can sensitize otherwise resistant TBJ/Neuro-2a cells to apoptosis induced by IFN-gamma plus TNF-alpha, we hypothesized that bortezomib also could sensitize these cells to IFN-gamma plus TNF-alpha. We demonstrate for the first time that bortezomib not only up-regulates the expression of receptors for IFN-gamma and TNF-alpha on both TBJ neuroblastoma and EOMA endothelial cell lines, but also markedly enhances the sensitivity of these cells to apoptosis induced by IFN-gamma plus TNF-alpha in vitro. Furthermore, bortezomib enhances the in vivo antitumor efficacy of IFN-gamma/TNF-alpha-inducing cytokines, including both IL-2 and IL-12 in mice bearing well-established primary and/or metastatic TBJ neuroblastoma tumors. Collectively, these studies suggest that bortezomib could be used therapeutically to enhance the proapoptotic and overall antitumor activity of systemic cytokine therapy in children with advanced neuroblastoma.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4049/jimmunol.176.10.6302DOI Listing
May 2006