Tumour-mediated TRAIL-Receptor expression indicates effective apoptotic depletion of infiltrating CD8+ immune cells in clinical colorectal cancer

Martin Grimm, Mia Kim, Andreas Rosenwald, Burkhard Von Rahden, Igor Tsaur, Eva Meier, Uwe Heemann, Christoph Thomas Germer, Martin Gasser, Ana Maria Waaga-Gasser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations

Abstract

Expression of apoptosis-related proteins on tumour cells has been shown in several experimental models to be an efficient mechanism for a counterattack against host anti-tumour immune responses in solid tumours. Here we provide a clinical evidence for such a tumour immune escape mechanism by demonstrating tumour to T cell-directed death receptor signalling (TRAIL/TRAIL-Receptor (TRAIL-R)) in colorectal cancer (CRC). In a series of patients with CRC and completed 5-year follow up, we investigated apoptosis and expression levels of apoptosis-related proteins. Gene and protein profiles in the tumours demonstrated intratumoural upregulated gene expression for Fas, Fas-L, TRAIL, TRAIL-R and TNF-α (RT-qPCR). Levels of terminaldeoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated deoxyuridinetriphosphate nick-end labelling (TUNEL)-positive events were positively correlated with TRAIL-R1-expression on tumour infiltrating immune cells. Among the immune cells, preferentially CD8+ T cells were found to express TRAIL-R1 while serial immunostaining in the same patient tumours showed abundant apoptotic (TUNEL-positive) immune cells. In conclusion, our results in tumour samples from CRC patients suggest TRAIL-R1-mediated apoptotic depletion of infiltrating immune cells (CD8+) in response to TRAIL expression by the tumour itself. This supports the notion of an efficient escape from tumour immune response and thus evasion from the attack of activated CD8+ T cells. These findings may enhance our understanding of tumour progression in CRC and might be helpful for the development of TRAIL and its death receptor-based therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2314-2323
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Cancer
Volume46
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - 2010

Keywords

  • Apoptosis
  • Colorectal carcinoma
  • Death receptor expression
  • Tumour escape mechanisms

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