Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the second cause of death for cancer worldwide, justifying the urgent need for novel therapeutic approaches. Immunotherapeutic strategies based on triggering and/or rescuing tumor antigen-specific T cells may be promising particularly if combined together. As preliminary step toward this goal, we have investigated the expression of antigen presenting molecules (HLA class I and class II) and immune checkpoints (PD-1 and PD-L1) in 43 HCC samples from distinct patients and in HCC cell lines. While normal hepatocytes did not express HLA class I and II, HCC cells strongly upregulated HLA class I while remaining negative for HLA class II. The absence of HLA class II expression in HCC cell lines correlated with lack of expression of the HLA class II transactivator, CIITA, which could not be rescued even after interferon-gamma treatment. This was due to high methylation levels of interferon-gamma-sensitive CIITA promoter IV strongly suggesting a biologically relevant developmental silencing of HLA-II expression in liver cell lineage. HCC tumor tissues showed a variable degree of leukocyte infiltration. Infiltrating lymphocytes expressed PD-1, while PD-L1 was expressed in cells with monocyte-macrophage morphology mostly localized at the tumor margin, but not in tumor cells. De novo expression of HLA class I, instrumental for presenting tumor antigens to cytotoxic T lymphocytes, and the correct characterization of the cells expressing checkpoint inhibitors in the tumor tissue should be the ground for setting novel strategies of combined approaches of immunotherapy in HCC based on tumor peptide vaccines and anti-checkpoint inhibitor antibodies.

CIITA-related block of HLA class II expression, upregulation of HLA class I, and heterogeneous expression of immune checkpoints in hepatocarcinomas: implications for new therapeutic approaches

Ramia, Elise
Primo
;
Bou Nasser Eddine, Farah;Tedeschi, Alessandra;Sessa, Fausto;Accolla, Roberto S.
Penultimo
;
Forlani, Greta
Ultimo
2019

Abstract

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the second cause of death for cancer worldwide, justifying the urgent need for novel therapeutic approaches. Immunotherapeutic strategies based on triggering and/or rescuing tumor antigen-specific T cells may be promising particularly if combined together. As preliminary step toward this goal, we have investigated the expression of antigen presenting molecules (HLA class I and class II) and immune checkpoints (PD-1 and PD-L1) in 43 HCC samples from distinct patients and in HCC cell lines. While normal hepatocytes did not express HLA class I and II, HCC cells strongly upregulated HLA class I while remaining negative for HLA class II. The absence of HLA class II expression in HCC cell lines correlated with lack of expression of the HLA class II transactivator, CIITA, which could not be rescued even after interferon-gamma treatment. This was due to high methylation levels of interferon-gamma-sensitive CIITA promoter IV strongly suggesting a biologically relevant developmental silencing of HLA-II expression in liver cell lineage. HCC tumor tissues showed a variable degree of leukocyte infiltration. Infiltrating lymphocytes expressed PD-1, while PD-L1 was expressed in cells with monocyte-macrophage morphology mostly localized at the tumor margin, but not in tumor cells. De novo expression of HLA class I, instrumental for presenting tumor antigens to cytotoxic T lymphocytes, and the correct characterization of the cells expressing checkpoint inhibitors in the tumor tissue should be the ground for setting novel strategies of combined approaches of immunotherapy in HCC based on tumor peptide vaccines and anti-checkpoint inhibitor antibodies.
http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/koni20
CIITA; HCC; HLA; PD-1; PD-L1;
Ramia, Elise; Chiaravalli, Anna Maria; Bou Nasser Eddine, Farah; Tedeschi, Alessandra; Sessa, Fausto; Accolla, Roberto S.; Forlani, Greta
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11383/2076729
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