Calreticulin promotes tumor lymphocyte infiltration and enhances the antitumor effects of immunotherapy by up-regulating the endothelial expression of adhesion molecules

Hao Tien Wang, Hsin I. Lee, Jih Huong Guo, Shih Hui Chen, Zhe Kang Liao, Kai Wen Huang, Pao Ling Torng, Lih Hwa Hwang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations

Abstract

Tumor-induced angiogenesis has been shown to suppress immune responses. One mechanism is to suppress leukocyte-endothelial cell interaction by down-regulating the expression of adhesion molecules, such as intercellular adhesion molecule (ICAM)-1, vascular cell adhesion molecule (VCAM)-1 and E-selectin on the tumor endothelium, which enables tumor cells to escape immune surveillance. Calreticulin (CRT), a chaperone protein mainly located in the endoplasmic reticulum, has been shown to exert anti-angiogenic activity and inhibit tumor growth. Here, we demonstrate that in addition to inhibiting angiogenesis, CRT also enhances the expression of both ICAM-1 and VCAM-1 on tumor endothelial cells. This expression results in enhanced leukocyte-endothelial cell interactions and increased lymphocyte infiltration into tumors. Therefore, combining intramuscular CRT gene transfer with intratumoral cytokine gene therapies significantly improves the antitumor effects of immunotherapy by markedly increasing the levels of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes. This combined treatment increased the levels of infiltrating lymphocytes to those achieved using four times the cytokine dosage. The combined therapy also resulted in lower levels of immunosuppressive molecules and higher levels of activated T-cells in the tumor microenvironment than immunotherapy alone. In conclusion, this study describes a new antitumor mechanism of CRT that involves the up-regulation of tumor endothelial adhesion molecules and the enhanced infiltration of tumor-specific lymphocytes. Thus, CRT treatment can make tumor cells more vulnerable to immunotherapy and improve the therapeutic efficacy of immunotherapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2892-2902
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Volume130
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - 15 Jun 2012

Keywords

  • adhesion molecules
  • calreticulin
  • endothelium
  • immunotherapy
  • tumor infiltrating lymphocytes

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