Publication date: Aug 08, 2019
Interferon-gamma (IFNG) augments immune function yet promotes T cell exhaustion through PDL1. How these opposing effects are integrated to impact immune checkpoint blockade (ICB) is unclear. We show that while inhibiting tumor IFNG signaling decreases interferon-stimulated genes (ISGs) in cancer cells, it increases ISGs in immune cells by enhancing IFNG produced by exhausted T cells (T). In tumors with favorable antigenicity, these T mediate rejection. In tumors with neoantigen or MHC-I loss, T instead utilize IFNG to drive maturation of innate immune cells, including a PD1TRAIL ILC1 population. By disabling an inhibitory circuit impacting PD1 and TRAIL, blocking tumor IFNG signaling promotes innate immune killing. Thus, interferon signaling in cancer cells and immune cells oppose each other to establish a regulatory relationship that limits both adaptive and innate immune killing. In melanoma and lung cancer patients, perturbation of this relationship is associated with ICB response independent of tumor mutational burden.
Benci, J.L., Johnson, L.R., Choa, R., Xu, Y., Qiu, J., Zhou, Z., Xu, B., Ye, D., Nathanson, K.L., June, C.H., Wherry, E.J., Zhang, N.R., Ishwaran, H., Hellmann, M.D., Wolchok, J.D., Kambayashi, T., and Minn, A.J. Opposing Functions of Interferon Coordinate Adaptive and Innate Immune Responses to Cancer Immune Checkpoint Blockade. 23699. 2019 Cell (178):4.