Tumor Cell-Autonomous Pro-Metastatic Activities of PD-L1 in Human Breast Cancer Are Mediated by PD-L1-S283 and Chemokine Axes

Nofar Erlichman, Tamir Baram, Tsipi Meshel, Dina Morein, Benny Da’adoosh, Adit Ben-Baruch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Therapies targeting the PD-L1/PD-1 axis have recently been introduced to triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) with limited efficacy, suggesting that this axis promotes tumor progression through mechanisms other than immune suppression. Here, we over-expressed WT-PD-L1 in human TNBC cells (express endogenous PD-L1) and in luminal-A breast cancer cells (no endogenous PD-L1 expression) and demonstrated that cell-autonomous PD-L1 activities lead to increased tumor cell growth, invasion and release of pro-metastatic factors (CXCL8, sICAM-1, GM-CSF). These activities were promoted by PD-1 and were inhibited by mutating S283 in PD-L1. Invasion of WT-PD-L1-cells required signaling by chemokine receptors CXCR1/2, CCR2 and CCR5 through autocrine circuits involving CXCL8, CCL2 and CCL5. Studies with T cell-deficient mice demonstrated that cell-autonomous WT-PD-L1 activities in TNBC cells increased tumor growth and metastasis compared to knock-out (KO)-PD-L1-cells, whereas S283A-PD-L1-expressing cells had minimal ability to form tumors and did not metastasize. Overall, our findings reveal autonomous and PD-1-induced tumor-promoting activities of PD-L1 that depend on S283 and on chemokine circuits. These results suggest that TNBC patients whose tumors express PD-L1 could benefit from therapies that prevent immune suppression by targeting PD-1/CTLA-4, alongside with antibodies to PD-L1, which would allow maximal impact by mainly targeting the cancer cells.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1042
JournalCancers
Volume14
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2022

Keywords

  • CCR2
  • CCR5
  • CXCR1/2
  • Chemokines
  • Luminal-A breast cancer
  • PD-1
  • PD-L1
  • Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC)

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