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Cancer Res. 2009 Apr 1;69(7):3077-85. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-08-2281. Epub 2009 Mar 17.

Chemokine expression in melanoma metastases associated with CD8+ T-cell recruitment.

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Department of Pathology, The University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois 60637, USA.


Despite the frequent detection of circulating tumor antigen-specific T cells, either spontaneously or following active immunization or adoptive transfer, immune-mediated cancer regression occurs only in the minority of patients. One theoretical rate-limiting step is whether effector T cells successfully migrate into metastatic tumor sites. Affymetrix gene expression profiling done on a series of metastatic melanoma biopsies revealed a major segregation of samples based on the presence or absence of T-cell-associated transcripts. The presence of lymphocytes correlated with the expression of defined chemokine genes. A subset of six chemokines (CCL2, CCL3, CCL4, CCL5, CXCL9, and CXCL10) was confirmed by protein array and/or quantitative reverse transcription-PCR to be preferentially expressed in tumors that contained T cells. Corresponding chemokine receptors were found to be up-regulated on human CD8(+) effector T cells, and transwell migration assays confirmed the ability of each of these chemokines to promote migration of CD8(+) effector cells in vitro. Screening by chemokine protein array identified a subset of melanoma cell lines that produced a similar broad array of chemokines. These melanoma cells more effectively recruited human CD8(+) effector T cells when implanted as xenografts in nonobese diabetic/severe combined immunodeficient mice in vivo. Chemokine blockade with specific antibodies inhibited migration of CD8(+) T cells. Our results suggest that lack of critical chemokines in a subset of melanoma metastases may limit the migration of activated T cells, which in turn could limit the effectiveness of antitumor immunity.

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