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Combination of verteporfin-photodynamic therapy with 5-aza-2’-deoxycytidine enhances the anti-tumour immune response in triple negative breast cancer

Banerjee, SM; Acedo, P; El Sheikh, S; Harati, R; Meecham, A; Williams, NR; Gerard, G; ... Hamoudi, R; + view all (2023) Combination of verteporfin-photodynamic therapy with 5-aza-2’-deoxycytidine enhances the anti-tumour immune response in triple negative breast cancer. Frontiers in Immunology , 14 , Article 1188087. 10.3389/fimmu.2023.1188087. Green open access

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Abstract

Introduction: Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) is a subtype of breast cancer characterised by its high tumourigenic, invasive, and immunosuppressive nature. Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a focal therapy that uses light to activate a photosensitizing agent and induce a cytotoxic effect. 5-aza-2’-deoxycytidine (5-ADC) is a clinically approved immunomodulatory chemotherapy agent. The mechanism of the combination therapy using PDT and 5-ADC in evoking an anti-tumour response is not fully understood. Methods: The present study examined whether a single dose of 5-ADC enhances the cytotoxic and anti-tumour immune effect of low dose PDT with verteporfin as the photosensitiser in a TNBC orthotopic syngeneic murine model, using the triple negative murine mammary tumour cell line 4T1. Histopathology analysis, digital pathology and immunohistochemistry of treated tumours and distant sites were assessed. Flow cytometry of splenic and breast tissue was used to identify T cell populations. Bioinformatics were used to identify tumour immune microenvironments related to TNBC patients. Results: Functional experiments showed that PDT was most effective when used in combination with 5-ADC to optimize its efficacy. 5-ADC/PDT combination therapy elicited a synergistic effect in vitro and was significantly more cytotoxic than monotherapies on 4T1 tumour cells. For tumour therapy, all types of treatments demonstrated histopathologically defined margins of necrosis, increased T cell expression in the spleen with absence of metastases or distant tissue destruction. Flow cytometry and digital pathology results showed significant increases in CD8 expressing cells with all treatments, whereas only the 5-ADC/PDT combination therapy showed increase in CD4 expression. Bioinformatics analysis of in silico publicly available TNBC data identified BCL3 and BCL2 as well as the following anti-tumour immune response biomarkers as significantly altered in TNBC compared to other breast cancer subtypes: GZMA, PRF1, CXCL1, CCL2, CCL4, and CCL5. Interestingly, molecular biomarker assays showed increase in anti-tumour response genes after treatment. The results showed concomitant increase in BCL3, with decrease in BCL2 expression in TNBC treatment. In addition, the treatments showed decrease in PRF1, CCL2, CCL4, and CCL5 genes with 5-ADC and 5-ADC/PDT treatment in both spleen and breast tissue, with the latter showing the most decrease. Discussion: To our knowledge, this is the first study that shows which of the innate and adaptive immune biomarkers are activated during PDT related treatment of the TNBC 4T1 mouse models. The results also indicate that some of the immune response biomarkers can be used to monitor the effectiveness of PDT treatment in TNBC murine model warranting further investigation in human subjects.

Type: Article
Title: Combination of verteporfin-photodynamic therapy with 5-aza-2’-deoxycytidine enhances the anti-tumour immune response in triple negative breast cancer
Location: Switzerland
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.3389/fimmu.2023.1188087
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2023.1188087
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2023 Banerjee, Acedo, El Sheikh, Harati, Meecham, Williams, Gerard, Keshtgar, MacRobert and Hamoudi. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
Keywords: 4T1, 5-aza-2’-deoxycytidine, anti-tumour immune response, photodynamic therapy, triple negative breast cancer, verteporfin
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Medicine
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Surgery and Interventional Sci
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Medicine > Inst for Liver and Digestive Hlth
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Surgery and Interventional Sci > Department of Surgical Biotechnology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Surgery and Interventional Sci > Department of Targeted Intervention
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10183032
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