Dr. Amanda Clark, Research Assistant Professor, published an article in Scientific Reports, entitled, “Interferon-γ increases sensitivity to chemotherapy and provides immunotherapy targets in models of metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer.” PLRC member Dr. Alan Wells, Thomas Gill Professor of Pathology, also contributed to this paper.
Interferon-γ (IFNγ) is a cytokine with limited evidence of benefit in cancer clinical trials to date. However, it could potentially play a role in potentiating anti-tumor immunity in the immunologically “cold” metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) by inducing antigen presentation pathways and concurrently providing targets for immune checkpoint blockade therapy. Moreover, it could additionally increase sensitivity to chemotherapy based on its pleiotropic effects on cell phenotype. Here, we show that IFNγ treatment induced expression of major histocompatibility class-I (MHC-I) genes and PD-L1 in prostate cancer cells in vitro. Furthermore, IFNγ treatment led to a decrease in E-cadherin expression with a consequent increase in sensitivity to chemotherapy in vitro. In an in vivo murine tumor model of spontaneous metastatic prostate cancer, IFNγ systemic pretreatment upregulated the expression of HLA-A and decreased E-cadherin expression in the primary tumor, and more importantly in the metastatic site led to increased apoptosis and limited micrometastases in combination with paclitaxel treatment compared to diffuse metastatic disease in control and monotherapy treatment groups. These findings suggest that IFNγ may be useful in combinatorial regimens to induce sensitivity to immunotherapy and chemotherapy in hepatic metastases of mCRPC.