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Hedgehog Pathway Inhibitors Promote Adaptive Immune Responses in Basal Cell Carcinoma


Otsuka, Atsushi; Dreier, Jil; Cheng, Phil F; Nägeli, Mirjam; Lehmann, Holger; Felderer, Lea; Frew, Ian J; Matsushita, Shigeto; Levesque, Mitchell P; Dummer, Reinhard (2015). Hedgehog Pathway Inhibitors Promote Adaptive Immune Responses in Basal Cell Carcinoma. Clinical Cancer Research:1289-1297.

Abstract

PURPOSE Basal cell carcinomas (BCCs) are tumors ignored by immune surveillance. Activated Hedgehog (Hh) signaling within primary cilia is a key driver in the pathogenesis of BCCs. We examined immune alterations during treatment with systemic Hh inhibitors. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN We investigated biopsies from patients with BCC before (23 patients) and after 4 weeks of treatment (5 patients) with Hh signaling inhibitor. Ber-Ep4, BCL-2, Ki-67, CD4, CD8, MHC class I, HLA-DR-class II, and SOX9 were analyzed by immunohistochemistry. Primary cilia were analyzed by double immunofluorescence of acetylated tubulin and SOX9. Differential gene expression for 84 cytokines and chemokines was analyzed in 3 patients. RESULTS After 4 weeks of treatment, we found reduction of Ki-67, SOX9, Ber-EP4, and BCL-2 expression in tumors associated with morphologic signs of squamous differentiation. In addition, the number of cilia-positive BCC cells was significantly decreased. An upregulation of MHC I expression on the cell membranes of residual tumor cells and an influx of CD4(+), HLA-DR-class II(+), and CD8(+) cells with invasion into the tumor cell nests were found. Finally, qPCR arrays showed the differential expression of genes involved in modulating immune responses. CONCLUSIONS We show that Hh pathway inhibitor-induced tumor regression is accompanied by a dynamic change of the microenvironment with a disruption of immune privilege involving an influx of cytotoxic T cells, activation of the adaptive immune functions, and a profound alteration of the local chemokine/cytokine network. Clin Cancer Res; 1-9. ©2015 AACR.

Abstract

PURPOSE Basal cell carcinomas (BCCs) are tumors ignored by immune surveillance. Activated Hedgehog (Hh) signaling within primary cilia is a key driver in the pathogenesis of BCCs. We examined immune alterations during treatment with systemic Hh inhibitors. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN We investigated biopsies from patients with BCC before (23 patients) and after 4 weeks of treatment (5 patients) with Hh signaling inhibitor. Ber-Ep4, BCL-2, Ki-67, CD4, CD8, MHC class I, HLA-DR-class II, and SOX9 were analyzed by immunohistochemistry. Primary cilia were analyzed by double immunofluorescence of acetylated tubulin and SOX9. Differential gene expression for 84 cytokines and chemokines was analyzed in 3 patients. RESULTS After 4 weeks of treatment, we found reduction of Ki-67, SOX9, Ber-EP4, and BCL-2 expression in tumors associated with morphologic signs of squamous differentiation. In addition, the number of cilia-positive BCC cells was significantly decreased. An upregulation of MHC I expression on the cell membranes of residual tumor cells and an influx of CD4(+), HLA-DR-class II(+), and CD8(+) cells with invasion into the tumor cell nests were found. Finally, qPCR arrays showed the differential expression of genes involved in modulating immune responses. CONCLUSIONS We show that Hh pathway inhibitor-induced tumor regression is accompanied by a dynamic change of the microenvironment with a disruption of immune privilege involving an influx of cytotoxic T cells, activation of the adaptive immune functions, and a profound alteration of the local chemokine/cytokine network. Clin Cancer Res; 1-9. ©2015 AACR.

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Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Physiology
07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Physiology

04 Faculty of Medicine > Center for Integrative Human Physiology
04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Dermatology Clinic
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:15 January 2015
Deposited On:19 Mar 2015 07:36
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 19:10
Publisher:American Association for Cancer Research
ISSN:1078-0432
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-14-2110
PubMed ID:25593302

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