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  • 1
    Keywords: tumor ; THERAPY ; chemotherapy ; METASTATIC MELANOMA ; IMMUNOTHERAPY ; INTERLEUKIN-2 ; CARCINOMA PATIENTS ; INCREASED INTENSITY LYMPHODEPLETION ; MEDIATE REGRESSION ; LYSATE
    Abstract: Adoptive transfer of in vitro-expanded tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL) has shown great clinical benefit in patients with malignant melanoma. TIL therapy itself has little side effects, but conditioning chemo- or radiotherapy and postinfusion interleukin 2 (IL-2) injections are associated with severe adverse advents. We reasoned that combining TIL infusion with dendritic cell (DC) vaccination could circumvent the need for conditioning and IL-2 support and thus represent a milder treatment approach. Eight patients with stage IV melanoma were enrolled in the MAT01 study, consisting of vaccination with autologous tumor-lysate-loaded DC, followed by TIL infusion. Six of eight patients were treated according to protocol, while one patient received only TIL and one only DC. Treatments were well tolerated with a single grade 3 adverse event. The small study size precludes analysis of clinical responses, though interestingly one patient showed a complete remission and two had stable disease. Analysis of the infusion products revealed that mature DC were generated in all cases. TIL after expansion were CD3+ T cells, dominated by effector memory CD8+ cytotoxic T cells. Analysis of the T cell receptor repertoire revealed presence of highly dominant clones in most infusion products, and many of these could be detected in the circulation for weeks after T cell transfer. Here, we report the first combination of DC vaccination and TIL infusion in malignant melanoma. This combined treatment was safe and feasible, though after evaluating both clinical and immunological parameters, we expect that administration of lymphodepleting chemotherapy and IL-2 will likely increase treatment efficacy.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 24993563
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  • 2
    Keywords: NECROSIS-FACTOR-ALPHA ; NATURAL-KILLER-CELLS ; HUMAN DENDRITIC CELLS ; TOLL-LIKE RECEPTORS ; COLONY-STIMULATING FACTOR ; ISOLATED LIMB PERFUSION ; REGULATORY T-CELLS ; PHASE-I TRIAL ; DEPENDENT CELLULAR CYTOTOXICITY ; IMMUNOSTIMULATORY MONOCLONAL-ANTIBODIES
    Abstract: During the past decades, anticancer immunotherapy has evolved from a promising therapeutic option to a robust clinical reality. Many immunotherapeutic regimens are now approved by the US Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicines Agency for use in cancer patients, and many others are being investigated as standalone therapeutic interventions or combined with conventional treatments in clinical studies. Immunotherapies may be subdivided into "passive" and "active" based on their ability to engage the host immune system against cancer. Since the anticancer activity of most passive immunotherapeutics (including tumor-targeting monoclonal antibodies) also relies on the host immune system, this classification does not properly reflect the complexity of the drug-host-tumor interaction. Alternatively, anticancer immunotherapeutics can be classified according to their antigen specificity. While some immunotherapies specifically target one (or a few) defined tumor-associated antigen(s), others operate in a relatively non-specific manner and boost natural or therapy-elicited anticancer immune responses of unknown and often broad specificity. Here, we propose a critical, integrated classification of anticancer immunotherapies and discuss the clinical relevance of these approaches.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 25537519
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  • 3
    Abstract: In our previous studies, we have shown that patients with serous ovarian carcinoma in advanced surgical stage disease have a particularly poor prognosis if they carry the HLA-A*02 genotype. This represent a stronger prognostic factor than loss or downregulation of the MHC class I heavy chain (HC) on tumor cells. In this study, we investigated the expression of the non-classical, immune tolerogenic HLA -G and -E on the tumor cells along with the infiltration of immune cells in the tumor microenvironment. FFPE primary tumors from 72 patients with advanced stages of serous adenocarcinoma and metastatic cells present in ascites fluid from 8 additional patients were included in this study. Both expression of HLA-G and aberrant expression of HLA-E were correlated to a significant worse prognosis in patients with HLA-A*02, but not with different HLA genotypes. Focal cell expression of HLA-G correlated to a site-specific downregulation of classical MHC class I HC products and aberrant HLA-E expression, showing a poor survival. HLA-G was more frequently expressed in metastatic cells than in primary tumor lesions and the expression of HLA-G inversely correlated with the frequency of tumor infiltrating immune cells. All these parameters can contribute together to identify and discriminate subpopulations of patients with extremely poor prognosis and can give them the opportunity to receive, and benefit of individually tailored treatments.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 26942060
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  • 4
    Abstract: Ipilimumab has revolutionized malignant melanoma therapy, but a better understanding of the mechanisms behind treatment response and adverse effects is needed. In this work, the immune system of ipilimumab treated patients was monitored to investigate potential mechanisms of action that may correlate with treatment outcome. Blood samples from 43 advanced melanoma patients were taken before, during and at the end of treatment. Hematological parameters were measured and flow cytometry analysis was performed in fresh samples within two hours of sample collection. Strong differences in markers CD45RA, CCR7, HLA-DR and CD15 between fresh and cryopreserved samples were observed. Ipilimumab treatment increased absolute lymphocyte counts, eosinophils, effector T cells and their activation status, whilst diminishing the suppressive side of the immune response, acting on regulatory T cells and myeloid derived suppressor cells (MDSCs). These effects were visible after one ipilimumab infusion and, regarding eosinophil counts, correlated with onset of adverse events. Monocytic MDSCs were decreased in response to treatment only in patients with clinical benefit; additionally, patients with a lower frequency of these cells after the first ipilimumab infusion experienced increased overall survival. CD8 effector memory T cell frequencies at the end of treatment were higher in patients with clinical benefit and positively correlated with survival. These data show that a clinical response to ipilimumab not only requires reshaping T cell populations, but additionally involves a reduction in suppressive cells such as monocytic MDSCs. Our work could provide insight on predicting treatment outcome, assisting clinicians in offering the best personalized therapeutic approach.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 28423487
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  • 5
    Abstract: The fourth "Melanoma Bridge Meeting" took place in Naples, December 3-6th, 2014. The four topics discussed at this meeting were: Molecular and Immunological Advances, Combination Therapies, News in Immunotherapy, and Tumor Microenvironment and Biomarkers. Until recently systemic therapy for metastatic melanoma patients was ineffective, but recent advances in tumor biology and immunology have led to the development of new targeted and immunotherapeutic agents that prolong progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS). New therapies, such as mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway inhibitors as well as other signaling pathway inhibitors, are being tested in patients with metastatic melanoma either as monotherapy or in combination, and all have yielded promising results. These include inhibitors of receptor tyrosine kinases (BRAF, MEK, and VEGFR), the phosphatidylinositol 3 kinase (PI3K) pathway [PI3K, AKT, mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR)], activators of apoptotic pathway, and the cell cycle inhibitors (CDK4/6). Various locoregional interventions including radiotherapy and surgery are still valid approaches in treatment of advanced melanoma that can be integrated with novel therapies. Intrinsic, adaptive and acquired resistance occur with targeted therapy such as BRAF inhibitors, where most responses are short-lived. Given that the reactivation of the MAPK pathway through several distinct mechanisms is responsible for the majority of acquired resistance, it is logical to combine BRAF inhibitors with inhibitors of targets downstream in the MAPK pathway. For example, combination of BRAF/MEK inhibitors (e.g., dabrafenib/trametinib) have been demonstrated to improve survival compared to monotherapy. Application of novel technologies such sequencing have proven useful as a tool for identification of MAPK pathway-alternative resistance mechanism and designing other combinatorial therapies such as those between BRAF and AKT inhibitors. Improved survival rates have also been observed with immune-targeted therapy for patients with metastatic melanoma. Immune-modulating antibodies came to the forefront with anti-CTLA-4, programmed cell death-1 (PD-1) and PD-1 ligand 1 (PD-L1) pathway blocking antibodies that result in durable responses in a subset of melanoma patients. Agents targeting other immune inhibitory (e.g., Tim-3) or immune stimulating (e.g., CD137) receptors and other approaches such as adoptive cell transfer demonstrate clinical benefit in patients with melanoma as well. These agents are being studied in combination with targeted therapies in attempt to produce longer-term responses than those more typically seen with targeted therapy. Other combinations with cytotoxic chemotherapy and inhibitors of angiogenesis are changing the evolving landscape of therapeutic options and are being evaluated to prevent or delay resistance and to further improve survival rates for this patient population. This meeting's specific focus was on advances in combination of targeted therapy and immunotherapy. Both combination targeted therapy approaches and different immunotherapies were discussed. Similarly to the previous meetings, the importance of biomarkers for clinical application as markers for diagnosis, prognosis and prediction of treatment response was an integral part of the meeting. The overall emphasis on biomarkers supports novel concepts toward integrating biomarkers into contemporary clinical management of patients with melanoma across the entire spectrum of disease stage. Translation of the knowledge gained from the biology of tumor microenvironment across different tumors represents a bridge to impact on prognosis and response to therapy in melanoma.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 26619946
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  • 6
    Abstract: BACKGROUND: Molecular subtypes of breast cancer and presence of tumor-infiltrating immune cells have both been implicated as important predictive and prognostic factors for improved risk stratification and treatment individualization of breast cancer patients. Their association, however, has not been studied in detail. The aim of this study was to evaluate the expression of the T cell markers CD8, FoxP3, CD3 and zeta-chain in molecular subtypes of the invasive margin and tumor center of breast cancer and corresponding sentinel nodes and to deduct prognostic information from these findings. METHODS: Tumor and sentinel node sections from 177 patients with primary, invasive, unilateral early-stage breast cancer were stained by immunohistochemistry and T-cell phenotypes quantified manually. Clinical data were collected from medical records. RESULTS: The degree of T-cell infiltration and expression of all markers differed significantly among the molecular subtypes, being highest in non-luminal, more aggressive tumors: more T-cell infiltration and higher expression of all markers were associated with hormone receptor negativity, higher proliferation and higher histological grades, but also with larger tumor size. Basal-like tumors, and most remarkably their tumor centers, hosted the highest number of FoxP3+ T-cells with an unfavorable ratio to cytotoxic CD8+ T-cells. T-cell infiltration was generally higher in the invasive margin than the tumor center. A scoring system based on densities of CD3 and CD8 could significantly separate molecular subtypes (p 〈 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Thus, immunological patterns with functional implications within each subtype are associated with prognostic factors. These findings should be further validated in studies using larger patient populations and longer follow-up.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 27473163
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  • 7
    Abstract: Tumor-induced immune suppression has mainly been studied in patients with advanced cancer. Despite the fact that they are most likely to benefit from immunotherapy, patients with early stage cancers were under-represented in these studies. We analyzed blood and tumor-derived T cells from patients with stage 1 (n = 20), stage 2 (n = 23) or stage 3 (n = 1) breast cancer and found that, even early stage tumors induced T cell differentiation. Breast cancer patients had significantly more circulating CD8+ memory and fewer CD8+ naive T cells than healthy controls (n = 10). Up-regulation of CD69 and PD1 on cancer patient T cells suggests previous activation, and increased expression of the chemokine receptors CCR5 and CXCR3 on CD8+ T cells indicates that their homing capacity differs from that of healthy individuals. Comparison of blood-derived and tumor-associated T cells from patients with different metastatic status and tumor grades revealed that tumor progression and aggressiveness seem to favor the expansion of memory T cells over naive T cells. We have previously shown that immunosuppression in this patient population is stronger in the tumor than in the blood. Here, we report signs of exhaustion, such as loss of CD28, on tumor-associated as compared to blood-derived CD8+ T cells, despite the fact that tumor-associated T cells are predominantly effector memory cells and express high levels of CD69. The finding that the presence of a tumor potentially induces immunosenescence early during tumorigenesis indicates that efficient immunotherapy might be difficult even in patients with early stage cancer due to T cell exhaustion and tolerance.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 22190148
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  • 8
    Keywords: CANCER ; CELLS ; GROWTH ; PROTECTION ; tumor ; carcinoma ; CELL ; MODEL ; TUMORS ; MICE ; PATIENT ; DNA ; IFN-GAMMA ; T cell ; T cells ; T-CELL ; T-CELLS ; BREAST ; breast cancer ; BREAST-CANCER ; cytokines ; antibodies ; antibody ; SWEDEN ; SURFACE ; VACCINE ; CANCER-PATIENTS ; CARCINOMAS ; CD8(+) ; immune response ; IMMUNE-RESPONSE ; IMMUNITY ; T-LYMPHOCYTES ; vaccination ; REJECTION ; CANCER PATIENTS ; CTL ; INTERFERON-GAMMA ; EFFECTOR ; GM-CSF ; HER-2/neu ; IMMUNIZATION ; ABSENCE ; CYTOKINE ; tumor immunity ; ANTI-ERBB-2 ANTIBODY ; anti-tumor immunity ; DNA vaccine ; ERBB-2 DNA ; PROTOONCOGENE
    Abstract: HER-2/neu (HER-2) is a cell surface proto-oncogene that is often overexpressed in carcinomas. Passive administration of anti-HER-2 antibodies in breast cancer patients has achieved promising results, but less is known about the role of antibodies in active immunization. We asked whether B cells/ antibodies are needed for tumor immunity induced by plasmid (HER-2 and GM-CSF) immunization. HER-2 specific tumor immunity relied completely on both CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells. IFN-gamma, and to a lesser extent IL-4, seemed to be crucial cytokines during tumor rejection. Protection was associated with production of anti-HER-2 IgG antibodies in B cell competent mice. After immunization, however, B cell-deficient mice rejected HER-2-expressing tumors as efficiently as control littermates. We conclude that T cells are the main effector cells in DNA vaccine induced immunity against HER-2 and that anti HER-2 antibodies are not necessary to elicit a protective anti tumor immune response in this model. (C) 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 14750178
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  • 9
    Keywords: CANCER ; EXPRESSION ; tumor ; ACTIVATION ; DENDRITIC CELLS ; PERIPHERAL-BLOOD ; inflammation ; BLOOD MONONUCLEAR-CELLS ; IMMUNE SUPPRESSION ; B7 FAMILY
    Abstract: Tumors can suppress the host immune system by employing a variety of cellular immune modulators, such as regulatory T cells, tumor-associated macrophages, and myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC). In the peripheral blood of patients with advanced stage melanoma, there is an accumulation of CD14(+)HLA-DR(lo/-) MDSC that suppress autologous T cells ex vivo in a STAT-3-dependent manner. However, a precise mechanistic basis underlying this effect is unclear, particularly with regard to whether the MDSC induction mechanism relies on cell-cell contact of melanoma cells with CD14(+) cells. Here, we show that early-passage human melanoma cells induce phenotypic changes in CD14(+) monocytes, leading them to resemble MDSCs characterized in patients with advanced stage melanoma. These MDSC-like cells potently suppress autologous T-cell proliferation and IFN-gamma production. Notably, induction of myeloid-suppressive functions requires contact or close proximity between monocytes and tumor cells. Further, this induction is largely dependent on production of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) because its inhibition in these MDSC-like cells limits their ability to suppress T-cell function. We confirmed our findings with CD14(+) cells isolated from patients with advanced stage melanoma, which inhibited autologous T cells in a manner relying up prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), STAT-3, and superoxide. Indeed, PGE2 was sufficient to confer to monocytes the ability to suppress proliferation and IFN-gamma production by autologous T cells ex vivo. In summary, our results reveal how immune suppression by MDSC can be initiated in the tumor microenvironment of human melanoma. Cancer Res; 73(13); 3877-87. (c)2013 AACR.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 23633486
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  • 10
    Keywords: EXPRESSION ; GROWTH ; LUNG-CANCER ; METABOLISM ; T-CELLS ; COLORECTAL-CANCER ; PROFILES ; metabolomics ; ZETA-CHAIN
    Abstract: Background: Malignancies induce changes in the levels of serum amino acids (AA), which may offer diagnostic potential. Furthermore, changes in AA levels are associated with immune cell function. In this study, serum AA levels were studied in breast cancer patients versus patients with benign breast lesions. Methods: In a prospective study, serum levels of 15 AA were measured by high performance liquid chromatography before and after surgery in 41 breast cancer patients (BrCA) and nine patients with benign breast lesions (healthy donors, HD). Results were analyzed in relation to clinical tumor data and tested against immunological flow cytometry data. Principal component analysis was performed and the accuracy of AA levels as a potential diagnostic tool was tested. Results: Pre-but not postoperative serum AA levels were increased in BrCA in eight out of 15 AA compared with HD. Serum AA levels were highest in the most aggressive (basal-like) as compared with the least aggressive tumor subtype (luminal A). A principal component (PC1) of all measured AA correlated with a mainly pro-inflammatory immune profile, while a second one (PC2, selectively considering AA preoperatively differing between HD and BrCA) could predict health state with an area under the curve of 0.870. Conclusions: Breast cancer shows a tumor-dependent impact on serum AA levels, which varies with intrinsic tumor subtypes and is associated with a pro-inflammatory state. Serum AA levels need further evaluation as a potential diagnostic tool.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 24237611
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