In the classification and typing of breast cancer, triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is one type of refractory breast cancer, while chemotherapy stays in the traditional treatment methods. However, the impact of chemotherapy is short-lived and may lead to recurrence due to incomplete killing of tumor cells. The occurrence, development, and relapse of breast cancer are relevant to T cell dysfunction, multiplied expression of related immune checkpoint molecules (ICIs) such as programmed death receptor 1 (PD-1), programmed cell death 1 ligand 1 (PD-L1), and cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated antigen 4 (CTLA-4) produce immunosuppressive effect. Immunotherapy (namely, immune checkpoint inhibitors, adoptive cellular immunotherapy, CAR-T immunotherapy and some potential treatments) provides new hope in TNBC. This review focuses on the new immune strategies of TNBC patients.
Cathepsin X is a lysosomal peptidase that is involved in tumour progression and represents a potential target for therapeutic interventions. In addition, it regulates important functions of immune cells and is implicated in the modulation of tumour cell–immune cell crosstalk. Selective cathepsin X inhibitors have been proposed as prospective antitumour agents to prevent cancer progression; however, their impact on the antitumour immune response has been overlooked. Previous studies indicate that the migration and adhesion of T cells and dendritic cells are affected by diminished cathepsin X activity. Meanwhile, the influence of cathepsin X inhibition on natural killer (NK) cell function has not yet been explored. Here, we examined the localization patterns of cathepsin X and the role of its inhibitors on the cytotoxicity of cell line NK-92, which is used for adoptive cellular immunotherapy in cancer patients. NK-92 cells depend on lymphocyte function-associated antigen 1 (LFA-1) to form stable immunoconjugates with target cells, providing, in this way, optimal cytotoxicity. Since LFA-1 is a substrate for cathepsin X activity in other types of cells, we hypothesized that cathepsin X could disturb the formation of NK-92 immunoconjugates. Thus, we employed cathepsin X reversible and irreversible inhibitors and evaluated their effects on the NK-92 cell interactions with target cells and on the NK-92 cell cytotoxicity. We show that cathepsin X inhibition does not impair stable conjugate formation or the lytic activity of NK-92 cells. Similarly, the conjugate formation between Jurkat T cells and target cells was not affected by cathepsin X activity. Unlike in previous migration and adhesion studies on T cells, in NK-92 cells cathepsin X was not co-localized with LFA-1 at the plasma membrane but was, rather, redistributed to the cytotoxic granules and secreted during degranulation.
With advances in allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplant (allo-HCT), disease relapse has replaced transplant-related mortality as the primary cause of treatment failure for patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). The efficacy of allo-HCT in AML is a consequence of a graft-versus-leukemia (GVL) effect that is mediated by T lymphocytes, and unique mechanisms of immune evasion underlying post-allo-HCT AML relapses have recently been characterized. Relapsed AML following allo-HCT presents a particularly vexing clinical challenge because transplant-related toxicities, such as graft-versus-host (GVHD) and infections, increase the risk of treatment-related morbidity and mortality. In general, the prognosis of relapsed AML following allo-HCT is poor with most patients failing to achieve a subsequent remission and 2-year survival consistently <15%. The two factors that have been found to predict a better prognosis are a longer duration of post-transplant remission prior to relapse and a lower disease burden at the time of relapse. When considered in combination with a patient’s age; co-morbidities; and performance status, these factors can help to inform the appropriate therapy for the treatment of post-transplant relapse. This review discusses the options for the treatment of post-transplant AML relapse with a focus on the options to achieve a subsequent remission and consolidation with cellular immunotherapy, such as a second transplant or donor lymphocyte infusion (DLI). While intensive reinduction therapy and less intensive approaches with hypomethylating agents have long represented the two primary options for the initial treatment of post-transplant relapse, molecularly targeted therapies and immunotherapy are emerging as potential alternative options to achieve remission. Herein, we highlight response and survival outcomes achieved specifically in the post-transplant setting using each of these approaches and discuss how some therapies may overcome the immunologic mechanisms that have been implicated in post-transplant relapse. As long-term survival in post-transplant relapse necessarily involves consolidation with cellular immunotherapy, we present data on the efficacy and toxicity of both DLI and second allo-HCT including when such therapies are integrated with reinduction. Finally, we provide our general approach to the treatment of post-transplant relapse, integrating both novel therapies and our improved understanding of the mechanisms underlying post-transplant relapse.
Cellular immunotherapy represented by CD19-directed chimeric antigen receptor T (CAR-T) cells has achieved great success in recent years. An increasing number of CAR-T therapies are being developed for cancer treatment, but the frequent and varied adverse events, such as “on-target, off-tumor toxicity”, limit CAR-T application. Here, we identify the target antigen expression patterns of CAR therapies in 18 tissues and organs (peripheral blood mononuclear cells, bone marrow, lymph nodes, spleen, heart, ascending aortic tissue, trachea, lung, skin, kidney, bladder, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, rectum, liver, common bile duct, and pancreas) from healthy human samples. The atlas determines target antigens expressed on some normal cell types, which facilitates elucidating the cause of “on-target, off-tumor toxicity” in special tissues and organs by targeting some antigens, but not others. Moreover, we describe the target antigen expression patterns of B-lineage-derived malignant cells, acute myeloid leukemia (AML), and solid tumors. Overall, the present study indicates the pathogenesis of “on-target, off-tumor toxicity” during CAR therapies and provides guidance on taking preventive measures during CAR treatment.
AbstractNatural killer cells are an important part of the innate immune system mediating robust responses to virus-infected and malignant cells without needing prior antigen priming. NK cells have always been thought to be short-lived and with no antigen specificity; however, recent data support the presence of NK cell memory including in the hapten-specific contact hypersensitivity model and in certain viral infections. The memory-like features can also be generated by short-term activation of both murine and human NK cells with cytokine combination of IL-12, IL-15 and IL-18, imparting increased longevity and enhanced anticancer functionality. Preclinical studies and very early clinical trials demonstrate safety and very promising clinical activity of these cytokine-induced memory-like (CIML) NK cells, making them an attractive cell type for developing novel adoptive cellular immunotherapy strategies. Furthermore, efforts are on to arm them with novel gene constructs for enhanced tumor targeting and function.
Cervical cancer is one of the most prevalent gynaecological malignancies worldwide and is related to human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, viral persistence, progression, and invasion. Therefore, the immune response is linked to HPV status. Natural killer (NK) cells play a central role against virus-infected cells and tumours through a delicate balance between activating and inhibitory receptors and secretion of cytokines and chemokines. These cells also play a crucial role in tumour immunosurveillance. For these reasons, there is growing interest in harnessing NK cells as an immunotherapy for cervical cancer. These studies are diverse and include many strategies such as transferring activated autologous or allogeneic NK cells, improving the activation and cytolytic activity of NK cells using cytokines or analogues and modifying chimeric antigen receptors to increase specificity and targeting NK cells. However, research regarding the application of NK cells in immunotherapy is limited. This article focuses on recent discoveries about using NK cells to prevent and treat cervical cancer and the possibility of cellular immunotherapy becoming one of the best strategies to exploit the immune system to fight tumours.