Dr. Geller published an article in Cancer Letters, entitled, “Interferon regulatory factor 1(IRF-1) activates anti-tumor immunity via CXCL10/CXCR3 axis in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).”
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Yan Y, Zheng L, Du Q, Yazdani H, Dong K, Guo Y, Geller DA. Interferon regulatory factor 1(IRF-1) activates anti-tumor immunity via CXCL10/CXCR3 axis in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Cancer Lett. 2021 May 28;506:95-106. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2021.03.002. Epub 2021 Mar 6. PMID: 33689775; PMCID: PMC8009854.
Interferon regulatory factor 1 (IRF-1) is a tumor suppressor gene in cancer biology with anti-proliferative and pro-apoptotic effect on cancer cells, however mechanisms of IRF-1 regulating tumor microenvironment (TME) in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) remain only partially characterized. Here, we investigated that IRF-1 regulates C-X-C motif chemokine 10 (CXCL10) and chemokine receptor 3 (CXCR3) to activate anti-tumor immunity in HCC. We found that IRF-1 mRNA expression was positively correlated with CXCL10 and CXCR3 through qRT-PCR assay in HCC tumors and in analysis of the TCGA database. IRF-1 response elements were identified in the CXCL10 promoter region, and ChIP-qPCR confirmed IRF-1 binding to promote CXCL10 transcription. IRF-2 is a competitive antagonist for IRF-1 mediated transcriptional effects, and overexpression of IRF-2 decreased basal and IFN-γ induced CXCL10 expression. Although IRF-1 upregulated CXCR3 expression in HCC cells, it inhibited proliferation and exerted pro-apoptotic effects, which overcome proliferation partly mediated by activating the CXCL10/CXCR3 autocrine axis. In vitro and in vivo studies showed that IRF-1 increased CD8+ T cells, NK and NKT cells migration, and activated IFN-γ secretion in NK and NKT cells to induce tumor apoptosis through the CXCL10/CXCR3 paracrine axis. Conversely, this effect was markedly abrogated in HCC tumor bearing mice deficient in CXCR3. Therefore, the IRF-1/CXCL10/CXCR3 axis contributes to the anti-tumor microenvironment in HCC.