Hedgehog (Hh) signaling is activated in various types of cancer and contributes to the progression, proliferation, and invasiveness of cancer cells. Many Hh inhibitors are undergoing clinical trial and show promise as anticancer drugs. Hh signaling is also induced in the activated T and NK (TNK) lymphocytes that are used in immunotherapy. Activated TNK lymphocyte therapy is anticipated to work well within a tumor's hypoxic environment. However, most studies on the immunobiological functions of activated TNK lymphocytes have been conducted on healthy donor samples, under normoxic conditions. In the present study, we evaluated the effects of Hh inhibition and oxygen concentrations on the function of activated TNK lymphocytes derived from patients with advanced cancer. Proliferation, migration, surface NKG2D expression, and cytotoxicity were all significantly inhibited, and IFN-γ secretion was significantly increased upon Hh inhibitor treatment of activated TNK lymphocytes under hypoxic conditions in vitro. Tumors from mice injected with cyclopamine-treated activated TNK lymphocytes showed a significant increase in tumor size and had fewer apoptotic cells compared with the tumors in mice injected with control activated TNK lymphocytes. These results suggest that Hh signaling plays a pivotal role in activated TNK lymphocyte cell function. Combination therapy using Hh inhibitors and activated TNK lymphocytes derived from patients with advanced cancer may not be advantageous.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Immunology and Allergy
- Cancer Research