Autocrine secretion of Fas ligand shields tumor cells from Fas-mediated killing by cytotoxic lymphocytes

Kristian Hallermalm, Anna De Geer, Rolf Kiessling, Victor Levitsky, Jelena Levitskaya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Mechanisms responsible for resistance of tumors to death receptor-mediated damage by cytotoxic lymphocytes are not well understood. Uveal melanoma cells expressed Fas but were insensitive to Fas triggering induced by bystander cytotoxic T lymphocytes or a Fas-specific agonistic antibody; this could not be ascribed to tumor counterattack against T cells or general resistance of the tumors to apoptosis. Treatment with inhibitors of metalloproteases rendered uveal melanomas sensitive to Fas-mediated cytotoxicity. Metalloprotease inhibitors did not affect the expression of Fas but increased the surface expression of Fas ligand (FasL), which correlated with the disappearance of soluble FasL from culture supernatants of tumor cells. FasL eluted from the surface of uveal melanomas specifically inhibited cytotoxic T lymphocyte lysis of tumor cells pretreated with an inhibitor of metalloproteases. In addition to uveal melanomas, a number of other tumor cell lines of various cellular origins were sensitized to Fas-mediated cytotoxicity by metalloprotease inhibitors. Our results show that autocrine secretion of FasL shields tumor cells from Fas-mediated killing by cytotoxic lymphocytes. This defines a novel mechanism of tumor escape from immune surveillance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6775-6782
Number of pages8
JournalCancer Research
Issue number18
StatePublished - Sep 15 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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