We have previously shown that Notch1 plays a critical role in modulating melanoma tumor cell growth and survival. Here we show that Notch1 also contributes to an immune-suppressive tumor microenvironment (TME). Notch1 inhibition reduces immune suppressive cells (i.e. MDSCs and Tregs) while allowing the recruitment of functional CD8(+) T cells, leading to a decrease in the Tregs/CD8(+) ratio, a key parameter in assessing positive responses to immune-checkpoint inhibitors. Inhibition of Notch1 improves the antitumor activity of nivolumab and ipilimumab, particularly when given in combination. Mechanistically, tumor-associated Notch1 regulates the expression of several chemokines involved in MDSCs and Tregs recruitment. Among them, CCL5, IL6 and IL8, or MIP2 in mouse, were consistently reduced by Notch1 depletion in several human and mouse melanoma cell lines. Notch1 controls the transcription of IL8 and IL6; and the secretion of CCL5 likely by inhibiting the expression of SNAP23, a member of the SNAREs family of proteins involved in cell exocytosis. Inhibition of SNAP23 decreases CCL5 secretion similarly to Notch1 inhibition. Hence, targeting Notch1 would affect both melanoma intrinsic growth/survival properties, and provide an immune-responsive TME, thus improving immune therapy efficacy.
- Immunecheckpoint inhibitors (ICIs
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research