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      Fibroblast heterogeneity in tumor micro-environment: Role in immunosuppression and new therapies

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      Seminars in Immunology
      Elsevier BV

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          Microenvironmental regulation of tumor progression and metastasis.

          Cancers develop in complex tissue environments, which they depend on for sustained growth, invasion and metastasis. Unlike tumor cells, stromal cell types within the tumor microenvironment (TME) are genetically stable and thus represent an attractive therapeutic target with reduced risk of resistance and tumor recurrence. However, specifically disrupting the pro-tumorigenic TME is a challenging undertaking, as the TME has diverse capacities to induce both beneficial and adverse consequences for tumorigenesis. Furthermore, many studies have shown that the microenvironment is capable of normalizing tumor cells, suggesting that re-education of stromal cells, rather than targeted ablation per se, may be an effective strategy for treating cancer. Here we discuss the paradoxical roles of the TME during specific stages of cancer progression and metastasis, as well as recent therapeutic attempts to re-educate stromal cells within the TME to have anti-tumorigenic effects.
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            TGF-β attenuates tumour response to PD-L1 blockade by contributing to exclusion of T cells

            Therapeutic antibodies that block the programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1)/programmed death-1 (PD-1) pathway can induce robust and durable responses in patients with various cancers, including metastatic urothelial cancer (mUC) 1–5 . However, these responses only occur in a subset of patients. Elucidating the determinants of response and resistance is key to improving outcomes and developing new treatment strategies. Here, we examined tumours from a large cohort of mUC patients treated with an anti–PD-L1 agent (atezolizumab) and identified major determinants of clinical outcome. Response was associated with CD8+ T-effector cell phenotype and, to an even greater extent, high neoantigen or tumour mutation burden (TMB). Lack of response was associated with a signature of transforming growth factor β (TGF-β) signalling in fibroblasts, particularly in patients with CD8+ T cells that were excluded from the tumour parenchyma and instead found in the fibroblast- and collagen-rich peritumoural stroma—a common phenotype among patients with mUC. Using a mouse model that recapitulates this immune excluded phenotype, we found that therapeutic administration of a TGF-β blocking antibody together with anti–PD-L1 reduced TGF-β signalling in stromal cells, facilitated T cell penetration into the centre of the tumour, and provoked vigorous anti-tumour immunity and tumour regression. Integration of these three independent biological features provides the best basis for understanding outcome in this setting and suggests that TGF-β shapes the tumour microenvironment to restrain anti-tumour immunity by restricting T cell infiltration.
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              A framework for advancing our understanding of cancer-associated fibroblasts

              Cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) are a key component of the tumour microenvironment with diverse functions, including matrix deposition and remodelling, extensive reciprocal signalling interactions with cancer cells and crosstalk with infiltrating leukocytes. As such, they are a potential target for optimizing therapeutic strategies against cancer. However, many challenges are present in ongoing attempts to modulate CAFs for therapeutic benefit. These include limitations in our understanding of the origin of CAFs and heterogeneity in CAF function, with it being desirable to retain some antitumorigenic functions. On the basis of a meeting of experts in the field of CAF biology, we summarize in this Consensus Statement our current knowledge and present a framework for advancing our understanding of this critical cell type within the tumour microenvironment.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                (View ORCID Profile)
                Journal
                Seminars in Immunology
                Seminars in Immunology
                Elsevier BV
                10445323
                April 2020
                April 2020
                : 48
                : 101417
                Article
                10.1016/j.smim.2020.101417
                33077325
                f9792893-d74c-411c-8fb0-6e289078dec7
                © 2020

                https://www.elsevier.com/tdm/userlicense/1.0/

                http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

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