Analysis of Intra-Tumoral Macrophages and T Cells in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) Indicates a Role for Immune Checkpoint and CD200-CD200R Interactions
Non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers and a leading cause of cancer-related deaths. Immunotherapy with immune checkpoint inhibitors shows beneficial responses, but only in a proportion of patients. To improve immunotherapy in NSCLC, we need to map the immune checkpoints that contribute immunosuppression in NSCLC-associated immune cells and to identify novel pathways that regulate immunosuppression. Here, we investigated the gene expression profiles
... xpression profiles of intra-tumoral immune cells isolated from NSCLC patients and compared them to the expression profiles of their counterparts in adjacent healthy tissue. Transcriptome analysis was performed on macrophages, CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. The data was subjected to Gene Ontology (GO) term enrichment and weighted correlation network analysis in order to identify mediators of immunosuppression in the tumor microenvironment in NSCLC. Immune cells from NSCLC revealed a consistent differential expression of genes involved in interactions between myeloid cells and lymphocytes. We further identified several immunosuppressive molecules and pathways that may be activated in tumor-associated macrophages in NSCLC. Importantly, we report novel data on immune cell expression of the newly described CD200/CD200R1 pathway, and the leukocyte immunoglobulin-like receptors (LILRs), which may represent novel innate immune checkpoints, dampening the anti-tumor T cell immune response in NSCLC. Our study substantiates the importance of tumor-associated macrophages as a mediator of immunosuppression and a promising target for immunotherapy.