Autophagy inhibition enhances PD-L1 expression in gastric cancer
Publication in refereed journal


Autophagy, a process for degrading intracellular substances to maintain basal metabolic turnover, is known to be perturbed in gastric cancer. Programmed cell death-1 (PD-1) with its ligand (PD-L1) are important immune checkpoint proteins and their regulation by autophagy has been reported in mouse melanoma and human ovarian cancer. Here, we explored the interplay between autophagy and the PD1/PD-L1 axis in gastric cancer.

The expression of PD-L1 in gastric cancer cells was detected by Western blot and flow cytometry analysis. The effect of autophagy inhibition on PD-L1 expression was examined in vitro and in vivo. The molecular mechanisms of the regulation of PD-L1 by autophagy were evaluated in gastric cancer cell lines. The clinical relevance of autophagy-related markers p62/SQSTM1 and LC3 with PD-L1 was evaluated in 137 patients with gastric cancer.

We found that inhibition of autophagy by pharmacological inhibitors or small interfering RNAs increased the levels of PD-L1 in cultured gastric cancer cells and in xenografts. Interferon (IFN)-γ also promoted PD-L1 gene transcription, whose action was enhanced by autophagy inhibition. Mechanistically, autophagy inhibition led to the accumulation of p62/SQSTM1 and activation of nuclear factor (NF)-κB, in which NF-κB inhibition or p62/SQSTM1 knockdown attenuated PD-L1 induction by autophagy inhibition. Immunohistochemical staining of primary tumor tissues of 137 patients with gastric cancer showed that LC3 and p62/SQSTM1 protein levels were positively correlated with PD-L1 (LC3, p < 0.001; p62/SQSTM1, p < 0.05). The expression of PD-L1 was also positively correlated with tumor lymphocyte infiltration (p < 0.001).

We discovered that autophagy regulates PD-L1 expression in gastric cancer through the p62/SQSTM1-NF-κB pathway. Pharmacological modulation of autophagy may thus influence the therapeutic efficacy of PD-L1 blockade in gastric cancer.
著者Wang X, Wu WKK, Gao J, Li Z, Dong B, Lin X, Li Y, Li Y, Gong J, Qi C, Peng Z, Yu J, Shen L
期刊名稱Journal of Experimental and Clinical Cancer Research
關鍵詞Autophagy, PD-L1, Gastric cancer, NF-κB

上次更新時間 2020-24-09 於 23:24