Inhibition of transforming growth factor-beta-mediated immunosuppression in tumor-draining lymph nodes augments antitumor responses by various immunologic cell types

Takuya Fujita, Koji Teramoto, Yoshitomo Ozaki, Jun Hanaoka, Noriaki Tezuka, Yasushi Itoh, Tohru Asai, Shozo Fujino, Keiichi Kontani, Kazumasa Ogasawara
Cancer Research 2009 June 15, 69 (12): 5142-50
Tumor-draining lymph nodes (DLN) are the most important priming sites for generation of antitumor immune responses. They are also the location where an immunosuppressive cytokine, transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta), plays a critical role in suppressing these antitumor immune responses. We focused on TGF-beta-mediated immunosuppression in DLNs and examined whether local inhibition of TGF-beta augmented antitumor immune responses systemically in tumor-bearing mice models. For inhibition of TGF-beta-mediated immunosuppression in DLNs, C57BL/6 mice subcutaneously bearing E.G7 tumors were administered plasmid DNA encoding the extracellular domain of TGF-beta type II receptor fused to the human IgG heavy chain (TGFR DNA) i.m. near the established tumor. In DLNs, inhibition of TGF-beta suppressed the proliferation of regulatory T cells and increased the number of tumor antigen-specific CD4(+) or CD8(+) cells producing IFN-gamma. Enhancement of antitumor immune responses in DLNs were associated with augmented tumor antigen-specific cytotoxic and natural killer activity in spleen as well as elevated levels of tumor-specific antibody in sera. The growth of the established metastatic as well as primary tumors was effectively suppressed via augmented antitumor immune responses. Inhibition of TGF-beta-mediated immunosuppression in DLNs is significantly associated with augmented antitumor responses by various immunocompetent cell types. This animal model provides a novel rationale for molecular cancer therapeutics targeting TGF-beta.

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