Immunosuppression of tumour-infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL) is a common feature of advanced cancer, but its biological basis has remained obscure. We demonstrate here a molecular link between epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and CD8+ TIL immunosuppression, two key drivers of cancer progression. We show that microRNA-200 (miR-200), a cell-autonomous suppressor of EMT and metastasis, targets PD-L1. Moreover, ZEB1, an EMT activator and transcriptional repressor of miR-200, relieves miR-200 repression of PD-L1 on tumour cells, leading to CD8+ T-cell immunosuppression and metastasis. These findings are supported by robust correlations between the EMT score, miR-200 levels and PD-L1 expression in multiple human lung cancer datasets. In addition to revealing a link between EMT and T-cell dysfunction, these findings also show that ZEB1 promotes metastasis through a heretofore unappreciated cell non-autonomous mechanism, and suggest that subgroups of patients in whom malignant progression is driven by EMT activators may respond to treatment with PD-L1 antagonists.
|Original language||English (US)|
|State||Published - Oct 28 2014|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)