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01.06.2014 | Original Article | Ausgabe 6/2014 Open Access

Cancer Immunology, Immunotherapy 6/2014

Mapping the immunosuppressive environment in uterine tumors: implications for immunotherapy

Cancer Immunology, Immunotherapy > Ausgabe 6/2014
Anke Vanderstraeten, Catherine Luyten, Godelieve Verbist, Sandra Tuyaerts, Frederic Amant
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1007/​s00262-014-1537-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Sandra Tuyaerts and Frederic Amant shared senior authorship.


The major hurdle for cancer vaccines to be effective is posed by tumor immune evasion. Several common immune mechanisms and mediators are exploited by tumors to avoid immune destruction. In an attempt to shed more light on the immunosuppressive environment in uterine tumors, we analyzed the presence of PD-L1, PD-L2, B7-H4, indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO), galectin-1, galectin-3, arginase-1 activity and myeloid-derived suppressor cell (MDSC) infiltration. IDO, PD-L1, PD-L2 and B7-H4 were analyzed by immunohistochemistry. PD-L2 was mostly expressed at low levels in these tumors. We found high IDO expression in 21 % of endometrial carcinoma samples and in 14 % of uterine sarcoma samples. For PD-L1 and B7-H4, we found high expression in 92 and 90 % of endometrial cancers, respectively, and in 100 and 92 % of the sarcomas. Galectin-1 and 3 were analyzed in tissue lysates by ELISA, but we did not find an increase in both molecules in tumor lysates compared with benign tissues. We detected expression of galectin-3 by fibroblasts, immune cells and tumor cells in single-cell tumor suspensions. In addition, we noted a highly significant increase in arginase-1 activity in endometrial carcinomas compared with normal endometria, which was not the case for uterine sarcomas. Finally, we could demonstrate MDSC infiltration in fresh tumor suspensions from uterine tumors. These results indicate that the PD-1/PD-L1 interaction and B7-H4 could be possible targets for immune intervention in uterine cancer patients as well as mediation of MDSC function. These observations are another step toward the implementation of inhibitors of immunosuppression in the treatment of uterine cancer patients.

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