Impairment of NKG2D-mediated tumor immunity by TGF-β

  • Transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) suppresses innate and adaptive immune responses via multiple mechanisms. TGF-β also importantly contributes to the formation of an immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment thereby promoting tumor growth. Amongst others, TGF-β impairs tumor recognition by cytotoxic lymphocytes via NKG2D. NKG2D is a homodimeric C-type lectin-like receptor expressed on virtually all human NK cells and cytotoxic T cells, and stimulates their effector functions upon engagement by NKG2D ligands (NKG2DL). While NKG2DL are mostly absent from healthy cells, their expression is induced by cellular stress and malignant transformation, and, accordingly, frequently detected on various tumor cells. Hence, the NKG2D axis is thought to play a decisive role in cancer immunosurveillance and, obviously, often is compromised in clinically apparent tumors. There is mounting evidence that TGF-β, produced by tumor cells and immune cells in the tumor microenvironment, plays a key role in blunting the NKG2D-mediated tumor surveillance. Here, we review the current knowledge on the impairment of NKG2D-mediated cancer immunity through TGF-β and discuss therapeutic approaches aiming at counteracting this major immune escape pathway. By reducing tumor-associated expression of NKG2DL and blinding cytotoxic lymphocytes through down-regulation of NKG2D, TGF-β is acting upon both sides of the NKG2D axis severely compromising NKG2D-mediated tumor rejection. Consequently, novel therapies targeting the TGF-β pathway are expected to reinvigorate NKG2D-mediated tumor elimination and thereby to improve the survival of cancer patients.

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Author:Mariya Lazarova, Alexander SteinleORCiDGND
Pubmed Id:
Parent Title (English):Frontiers in immunology
Publisher:Frontiers Media
Place of publication:Lausanne
Contributor(s):Roberta Castriconi
Document Type:Article
Year of Completion:2019
Date of first Publication:2019/11/15
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2020/01/13
Tag:NK cell; NKG2D; TGF-β1; immunotherapy; tumor immune evasion
Issue:Art. 2689
Page Number:11
First Page:1
Last Page:11
Copyright © 2019 Lazarova and Steinle. 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.
Institutes:Medizin / Medizin
Dewey Decimal Classification:6 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften / 61 Medizin und Gesundheit / 610 Medizin und Gesundheit
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 4.0