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      Phosphodiesterase-5 inhibition augments endogenous antitumor immunity by reducing myeloid-derived suppressor cell function

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          Phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE5) inhibitors (sildenafil, tadalafil, and vardenafil) are agents currently in clinical use for nonmalignant conditions. We report the use of PDE5 inhibitors as modulators of the antitumor immune response. In several mouse tumor models, PDE5 inhibition reverses tumor-induced immunosuppressive mechanisms and enables a measurable antitumor immune response to be generated that substantially delays tumor progression. In particular, sildenafil, down-regulates arginase 1 and nitric oxide synthase–2 expression, thereby reducing the suppressive machinery of CD11b +/Gr-1 + myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) recruited by growing tumors. By removing these tumor escape mechanisms, sildenafil enhances intratumoral T cell infiltration and activation, reduces tumor outgrowth, and improves the antitumor efficacy of adoptive T cell therapy. Sildenafil also restores in vitro T cell proliferation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells from multiple myeloma and head and neck cancer patients. In light of the recent data that enzymes mediating MDSC-dependent immunosuppression in mice are active also in humans, these findings demonstrate a potentially novel use of PDE5 inhibitors as adjuncts to tumor-specific immune therapy.

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          Most cited references 43

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          IFNgamma and lymphocytes prevent primary tumour development and shape tumour immunogenicity.

          Lymphocytes were originally thought to form the basis of a 'cancer immunosurveillance' process that protects immunocompetent hosts against primary tumour development, but this idea was largely abandoned when no differences in primary tumour development were found between athymic nude mice and syngeneic wild-type mice. However, subsequent observations that nude mice do not completely lack functional T cells and that two components of the immune system-IFNgamma and perforin-help to prevent tumour formation in mice have led to renewed interest in a tumour-suppressor role for the immune response. Here we show that lymphocytes and IFNgamma collaborate to protect against development of carcinogen-induced sarcomas and spontaneous epithelial carcinomas and also to select for tumour cells with reduced immunogenicity. The immune response thus functions as an effective extrinsic tumour-suppressor system. However, this process also leads to the immunoselection of tumour cells that are more capable of surviving in an immunocompetent host, which explains the apparent paradox of tumour formation in immunologically intact individuals.
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            CD8+ T cells infiltrated within cancer cell nests as a prognostic factor in human colorectal cancer.

            The pathophysiological significance of tumor infiltrating lymphocytes remains controversial. To clarify their role, we performed clinicopathological analysis of CD8+ T cells in 131 cases of human colorectal cancer. CD8+ T cells were classified into three groups by their localization: (a) those infiltrated within cancer cell nests; (b) those distributed in the cancer stroma; and (c) those present along the invasive margin (tumor-host interface). Of these, CD8+ T cells within cancer cell nests were most significantly associated with a better survival of patients by both mono- and multivariate analyses. The impact on survival was similar to that of Dukes' staging. Granzyme B+ cytoplasmic granules were detected in lymphocytes within cancer cell nests, confirming their activated, cytotoxic phenotype. CD8 and Ki-67 double immunohistochemistry confirmed higher proliferative activity of CD8+ T cells within cancer cell nests. Our data suggested that human colorectal cancer tissue was infiltrated by various numbers of T cells that had cytotoxic phenotype, contributing to a better survival of patients. This infiltration of colorectal cancer cell nests by CD8+ T cells could be a novel prognostic factor.
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              Demonstration of an interferon gamma-dependent tumor surveillance system in immunocompetent mice.

              This study demonstrates that endogenously produced interferon gamma (IFN-gamma) forms the basis of a tumor surveillance system that controls development of both chemically induced and spontaneously arising tumors in mice. Compared with wild-type mice, mice lacking sensitivity to either IFN-gamma (i.e., IFN-gamma receptor-deficient mice) or all IFN family members (i.e., Stat1-deficient mice) developed tumors more rapidly and with greater frequency when challenged with different doses of the chemical carcinogen methylcholanthrene. In addition, IFN-gamma-insensitive mice developed tumors more rapidly than wild-type mice when bred onto a background deficient in the p53 tumor-suppressor gene. IFN-gamma-insensitive p53(-/-) mice also developed a broader spectrum of tumors compared with mice lacking p53 alone. Using tumor cells derived from methylcholanthrene-treated IFN-gamma-insensitive mice, we found IFN-gamma's actions to be mediated at least partly through its direct effects on the tumor cell leading to enhanced tumor cell immunogenicity. The importance and generality of this system is evidenced by the finding that certain types of human tumors become selectively unresponsive to IFN-gamma. Thus, IFN-gamma forms the basis of an extrinsic tumor-suppressor mechanism in immunocompetent hosts.

                Author and article information

                J Exp Med
                The Journal of Experimental Medicine
                The Rockefeller University Press
                27 November 2006
                : 203
                : 12
                : 2691-2702
                [1 ]Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, Baltimore, MD 21231
                [2 ]Department of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21287
                [3 ]Istituto Oncologico Veneto, 35128 Padua, Italy
                Author notes

                CORRESPONDENCE Ivan Borrello: borreiv@ 123456jhmi.edu

                Copyright © 2006, The Rockefeller University Press



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