We have previously shown that the suppressive function of regulatory T cells (Tregs) from peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) is enhanced in patients with prostate cancer when compared with healthy individuals. Two phase II studies using the PSA-TRICOM vaccine in patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) showed evidence of patient benefit in terms of enhanced survival. The Halabi nomogram has been used to predict survival (HPS) of patients with mCRPC treated with conventional chemotherapy or second-line hormonal therapy. Tregs from PBMCs of patients (n = 23) with mCRPC were obtained pre- and post-three monthly vaccinations, and analyzed for number, phenotype, and suppressive function. Changes post- versus pre-vaccination in these parameters were compared with 3-year survival and HPS. No differences in Treg numbers were observed post- versus prevaccination. Trends (P = 0.029) were observed between overall survival (OS) and a decrease in Treg suppressive function post- versus pre-vaccination. Trends were also observed in analyzing effector:Treg (CD4+CD25+CD127-FoxP3+CTLA4+) ratio post- versus pre-vaccination with OS versus HPS. These data provide preliminary evidence for a possible association between improved OS and a decrease in Treg function when PBMCs are analyzed after three monthly vaccinations. Patients with an OS greater than HPS were more likely to have decreased Treg function following vaccine. Larger studies to confirm and extend these findings are warranted. We have compared the effects of recombinant Saccharomyces cerevisiae (yeast)-treated human dendritic cells (DCs) with CD40L-matured human DCs for the induction of effector cells and the number and functionality of CD4+CD25+CD127-FoxP3+ regulatory T cells (Tregs). DCs were treated with yeast or CD40L and cocultured with isolated autologous CD4+ T cells. CD4+CD25+CD127- T cells isolated from the coculture of CD4+ T cells plus yeast-treated DCs (yeast coculture) had a lower expression of FoxP3 and decreased suppressive function compared to CD4+CD25+CD127- T cells isolated from the coculture of CD4+ T cells plus CD40L-treated DCs (CD40L coculture). Also, compared to the CD40L coculture, the yeast coculture showed increases in the ratio of CD4+CD25+ activated T cells to Tregs and in the production of Th1-related cytokines (IL-2, TNF-alpha, IFN-gamma) and IL-6. In addition, yeast-treated DCs used as APCs incubated with the tumor antigen CEA enhanced the proliferation of CEA-specific CD4+ T cells compared to the use of CD40L-matured DCs used as APCs. This is the first study to report on the role of yeast-treated/matured human DCs in reducing Treg frequency and functionality and in enhancing effector to Treg ratios. These results provide an additional rationale for the use of yeast as a vector in cancer vaccines. A higher frequency of Tregs has been observed in PBMCs of patients with different types of solid tumors and hematological malignancies as compared to healthy donors. In prostate cancer patients, Tregs in PBMCs have been shown to have increased suppressive function. Tumor-induced biological changes in Tregs may enable tumor cells to escape immunosurveillance. We performed genome-wide expression analyses comparing the expression levels of more than 38,500 genes in Tregs with similar suppressive activity, isolated from the peripheral blood of healthy donors and patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC). The differentially expressed genes in mCRPC Tregs are involved in cell cycle processes, cellular growth and proliferation, immune responses, hematological system development and function and the interleukin-2 (IL-2) and transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) pathways. Studies revealed that the levels of expression of genes responsible for T-cell proliferation (C-FOS, C-JUN and DUSP1) and cellular migration (RGS1) were greater in Tregs from mCRPC patients as compared to values observed in healthy donors. Increased RGS1 expression in Tregs from mCRPC patients suggests a decrease in these Tregs'migratory ability. In addition, the higher frequency of CD4posCD25highCD127neg Tregs in the peripheral blood of mCRPC patients may be the result of an increase in Treg proliferation capacity. Results also suggest that the alterations observed in gene expression profiles of Tregs in mCRPC patients may be part of the mechanism of tumor escape from host immune surveillance. The interaction between CD27 and its ligand, CD70, has been implicated in regulating cellular immune responses to cancer. In this study, we reported on the role of soluble CD27 (sCD27) in T cell activation and its elevation in the serum of cancer patients after immunotherapy. In vitro, sCD27 is preferentially derived from activated CD4+ T cells. Adding sCD27 to stimulated PBMCs increases T cell activation and proliferation, and is associated with the immunologic synapse-related proteins myosin IIA, high mobility group box 1, and the TCR Vbeta-chain. The pool of serum sCD27 is shown to be greater in healthy donors than in cancer patients. However, metastatic cancer patients treated with immunotherapy showed a significant increase in the serum sCD27-pool posttherapy (p 0.0005);there was also an increased trend toward an association between enhanced sCD27-pool posttherapy and overall survival (p = 0.022). The identification of sCD27 as an immune modulator associated with enhanced human T cell activation in vitro and in vivo provides a rationale for developing new immunotherapeutic strategies aimed at enhancing sCD27 for treating cancer and potentially other diseases. Tumor cells can induce certain cytokines and soluble receptors that have a suppressive effect on the immune system. In this study, we showed that an extracellular portion of a membrane-bound ligand of CD40 (soluble CD40 ligand;sCD40L) was significantly elevated in the serum of cancer patients compared with healthy donors. In addition, PBMCs from cancer patients had a relatively larger population of myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs), defined as CD33posHLA-DRneg cells, and these cells expressed higher levels of CD40. T-cell proliferation and IFN-gamma production decreased when stimulated T cells were cocultured with an increased amount of autologous MDSCs. The addition of recombinant monomeric sCD40L enriched MDSCs and had an additive inhibitory effect on T-cell proliferation. PBMCs cultured in vitro with sCD40L also showed an expansion of regulatory T cells (CD4posCD25highFoxp3pos), as well as induction of cytokines, such as IL-10 and IL-6. Moreover, sCD40L-induced enrichment of programmed death-1-expressing T cells was greater in cancer patients than in healthy donors. Preexisting sCD40L also inhibited IL-12 production from monocytes on activation. These data suggest that the higher levels of sCD40L seen in cancer patients may have an immunosuppressive effect.

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Donahue, Renee N; Lepone, Lauren M; Grenga, Italia et al. (2017) Analyses of the peripheral immunome following multiple administrations of avelumab, a human IgG1 anti-PD-L1 monoclonal antibody. J Immunother Cancer 5:20
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