Primary T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) cells require stromal-derived signals to survive. Although many studies have identified cell-intrinsic alterations in signaling pathways that promote T-ALL growth, the identity of endogenous stromal cells and their associated signals in the tumor microenvironment that support T-ALL remains unknown. By examining the thymic tumor microenvironments in multiple murine T-ALL models and primary patient samples, we discovered the emergence of prominent epithelial-free regions, enriched for proliferating tumor cells and dendritic cells (DCs). Systematic evaluation of the functional capacity of tumor-associated stromal cells revealed that myeloid cells, primarily DCs, are necessary and sufficient to support T-ALL survival ex vivo. DCs support T-ALL growth both in primary thymic tumors and at secondary tumor sites. To identify a molecular mechanism by which DCs support T-ALL growth,we first performed gene expression profiling,which revealed up-regulation of platelet-derived growth factor receptor beta (Pdgfrb) and insulin-like growth factor I receptor (Igf1r) on T-ALL cells, with concomitant expression of their ligands by tumor-associated DCs. Both Pdgfrb and Igf1r were activated in ex vivo T-ALL cells, and coculture with tumor-associated, but not normal thymic DCs, sustained IGF1R activation. Furthermore, IGF1R signaling was necessary for DCmediated T-ALL survival. Collectively, these studies provide the first evidence that endogenous tumor-associated DCs supply signals driving T-ALL growth, and implicate tumor-associated DCs and their mitogenic signals as auspicious therapeutic targets.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|State||Published - Feb 23 2016|
- Dendritic cell
- Tumor microenvironment
ASJC Scopus subject areas