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In vitro migration of cytotoxic T lymphocyte derived from a colon carcinoma patient is dependent on CCL2 and CCR2

Klara Berencsi1, Pyapalli Rani1, Tianqian Zhang1, Laura Gross1, Michael Mastrangelo2, Neal J Meropol34, Dorothee Herlyn1 and Rajasekharan Somasundaram1*

Author Affiliations

1 The Wistar Institute, 3601 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA

2 Department of Medical Oncology, Thomas Jefferson University, 1015 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107, USA

3 Department of Medical Oncology, Fox Chase Cancer Center, 333 Cottman Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19111, USA

4 Division of Hematology and Oncology, University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center and Case Western Reserve University, 11100 Euclid Avenue, Lakeside 1200, Cleveland, OH 44106-5065, USA

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Journal of Translational Medicine 2011, 9:33  doi:10.1186/1479-5876-9-33

Published: 30 March 2011

Abstract

Background

Infiltration of colorectal carcinomas (CRC) with T-cells has been associated with good prognosis. There are some indications that chemokines could be involved in T-cell infiltration of tumors. Selective modulation of chemokine activity at the tumor site could attract immune cells resulting in tumor growth inhibition. In mouse tumor model systems, gene therapy with chemokines or administration of antibody (Ab)-chemokine fusion proteins have provided potent immune mediated tumor rejection which was mediated by infiltrating T cells at the tumor site. To develop such immunotherapeutic strategies for cancer patients, one must identify chemokines and their receptors involved in T-cell migration toward tumor cells.

Methods

To identify chemokine and chemokine receptors involved in T-cell migration toward CRC cells, we have used our previously published three-dimensional organotypic CRC culture system. Organotypic culture was initiated with a layer of fetal fibroblast cells mixed with collagen matrix in a 24 well tissue culture plate. A layer of CRC cells was placed on top of the fibroblast-collagen layer which was followed by a separating layer of fibroblasts in collagen matrix. Anti-CRC specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) mixed with fibroblasts in collagen matrix were placed on top of the separating layer. Excess chemokine ligand (CCL) or Abs to chemokine or chemokine receptor (CCR) were used in migration inhibition assays to identify the chemokine and the receptor involved in CTL migration.

Results

Inclusion of excess CCL2 in T-cell layer or Ab to CCL2 in separating layer of collagen fibroblasts blocked the migration of CTLs toward tumor cells and in turn significantly inhibited tumor cell apoptosis. Also, Ab to CCR2 in the separating layer of collagen and fibroblasts blocked the migration of CTLs toward tumor cells and subsequently inhibited tumor cell apoptosis. Expression of CCR2 in four additional CRC patients' lymphocytes isolated from infiltrating tumor tissues suggests their role in migration in other CRC patients.

Conclusions

Our data suggest that CCL2 secreted by tumor cells and CCR2 receptors on CTLs are involved in migration of CTLs towards tumor. Gene therapy of tumor cells with CCL2 or CCL2/anti-tumor Ab fusion proteins may attract CTLs that potentially could inhibit tumor growth.