Screening of novel immunogenic cell death inducers within the NCI Mechanistic Diversity Set
Abdul Qader Sukkurwala, Sandy Adjemian, Laura Senovilla, Michael Michaud, Sabrina Spaggiari, Erika Vacchelli, Elisa Elena Baracco, Lorenzo Galluzzi, Laurence Zitvogel, Oliver Kepp and Guido Kroemer
Immunogenic cell death (ICD) inducers can be defined as agents that exert cytotoxic effects while stimulating an immune response against dead cell-associated antigens. When initiated by anthracyclines, ICD is accompanied by stereotyped molecular changes, including the pre-apoptotic exposure of calreticulin (CRT) on the cell surface, the lysosomal secretion of ATP during the blebbing phase of apoptosis, and the release of high mobility group box 1 (HMGB1) from dead cells. By means of genetically engineered human osteosarcoma U2OS cells, we screened the 879 anticancer compounds of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Mechanistic Diversity Set for their ability to promote all these hallmarks of ICD in vitro. In line with previous findings from our group, several cardiac glycosides exhibit a robust propensity to elicit the major manifestations of ICD in cultured neoplastic cells. Moreover, this screen pointed to septacidin, an antibiotic produced by Streptomyces fibriatus, as a novel putative inducer of ICD. In low-throughput validation experiments, septacidin promoted CRT exposure, ATP secretion and HGMB1 release from both U2OS cells and murine fibrosarcoma MCA205 cells. Moreover, septacidin-killed MCA205 cells protected immunocompetent mice against a re-challenge with living cancer cells of the same type. Finally, the antineoplastic effects of septacidin on established murine tumors were entirely dependent on T lymphocytes. Altogether, these results underscore the suitability of the high-throughput screening system described here for the identification of novel ICD inducers.
Synthetic induction of immunogenic cell death by genetic stimulation of endoplasmic reticulum stress
Mickaël Michaud, Abdul Qader Sukkurwala, Federica Di Sano, Laurence Zitvogel, Oliver Kepp and Guido Kroemer
Cis-diamminedichloridoplatinum(II) (CDDP), commonly referred to as cisplatin, is a chemotherapeutic drug used for the treatment of a wide range of solid cancers. CDDP is a relatively poor inducer of immunogenic cell death (ICD), a cell death modality that converts dying cells into a tumor vaccine, stimulating an immune response against residual cancer cells that permits long-lasting immunity and a corresponding reduction in tumor growth. The incapacity of CDDP to trigger ICD is at least partially due to its failure to stimulate the premortem endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-stress response required for the externalization of the “eat-me” signal calreticulin (CRT) on the surface of dying cancer cells. Here, we develop a murine cancer cell line genetically modified to express the ER resident protein reticulon-1c (Rtn-1c) by virtue of tetracycline induction and show that enforced Rtn-1c expression combined with CDDP treatment promoted Crt externalization to the surface of cancer cells. In contrast to single agent treatments, the tetracycline-mediated Rtn-1c induction combined with CDDP chemotherapy stimulated ICD as measured by the capacity of dying tumor cells inoculated into syngenic immunocompetent mice to mount an immune response to tumor re-challenge 1 week later. More importantly, established tumors forced to constitutively express Rtn-1c in vivo by continuous treatment with tetracycline became responsive to CDDP exhibiting a corresponding reduction in the rate of tumor growth. The combined therapeutic effects of Rtn-1c induction with CDDP treatment was only detected in the context of an intact immune system and not in nu/nu mice lacking thymus-dependent T lymphocytes. Altogether, these results indicate that the artificial or “synthetic” induction of immunogenic cell death by genetic manipulation of the ER-stress response can improve the efficacy of chemotherapy with CDDP by stimulating anticancer immunity.
Electrochemotherapy with bleomycin induces hallmarks of immunogenic cell death in murine colon cancer cells
Christophe Y Calvet, Delphine Famin, Franck M André and Lluis M Mir
Electrochemotherapy (ECT) is a local cancer treatment that has been used over the course of more than 2 decades for the removal of cutaneous and subcutaneous tumors. Several lines of evidence support the premise that the immune system is an important factor underlying anticancer treatment efficacy, potentially including patient responses to ECT. The concept of immunogenic cell death (ICD) arose a few years ago, stating that some cancer treatments generate danger-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs) that trigger an adaptive immune response against tumors. Hence, dying cancer cells behave as a therapeutic vaccine, eliciting a cytotoxic immune response against surviving malignant cells. In our study, we sought to evaluate the ability of ECT to generate cancer cell death encompassing the immunostimulatory characteristics of ICD. To this end, we assayed CT26 murine colon cancer cells in vitro in response to either electric pulses (EPs) application only or in combination with the anticancer drug bleomycin (that is ECT) by quantification of calreticulin (CRT) membrane externalization, as well as the liberation of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and high mobility group box 1 (HMGB1) protein. We show here that cell permeabilizing yet non-lethal electric pulses induce CRT exposure on the cell surface of EP-only treated cancer cells, as well as ATP release. However, the association of electric pulses along with the chemotherapeutic agent bleomycin was mandatory for HMGB1 release coincident with regimen-induced cell death. These data obtained in vitro were then substantiated by vaccination protocols performed in immunocompetent mice, showing that the injection of dying ECT-treated cells elicits an antitumor immune response that prevents the growth of a subsequent administration of viable cancer cells. We also confirmed previous results showing ECT treatment is much more efficient in immunocompetent animals than in immunodeficient ones, causing complete regressions in the former but not in the latter. This supports a central role for immunity in this beneficial outcome. In conclusion, we show that ECT not only possesses an intrinsic cytotoxic property toward cancer cells but also generates a systemic anticancer immune response via the activation of ICD. Hence, ECT may represent an interesting approach to treat solid tumors while preventing recurrence and metastasis, possibly in combination with immunostimulating agents.