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Immunity. 2018 Jan 16;48(1):147-160.e7. doi: 10.1016/j.immuni.2017.12.004.

Paracrine Wnt5a-β-Catenin Signaling Triggers a Metabolic Program that Drives Dendritic Cell Tolerization.

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Department of Medicine, Division of Medical Oncology, Duke Cancer Institute, Durham, NC 27710, USA.
Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA.
Department of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708, USA.
Department of Surgery, Division of Surgical Sciences, Duke Cancer Institute, Durham, NC 27710, USA.
Department of Medicine, Division of Medical Oncology, Duke Cancer Institute, Durham, NC 27710, USA. Electronic address:


Despite recent advances, many cancers remain refractory to available immunotherapeutic strategies. Emerging evidence indicates that the tolerization of local dendritic cells (DCs) within the tumor microenvironment promotes immune evasion. Here, we have described a mechanism by which melanomas establish a site of immune privilege via a paracrine Wnt5a-β-catenin-peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ (PPAR-γ) signaling pathway that drives fatty acid oxidation (FAO) in DCs by upregulating the expression of the carnitine palmitoyltransferase-1A (CPT1A) fatty acid transporter. This FAO shift increased the protoporphyrin IX prosthetic group of indoleamine 2,3-dioxgenase-1 (IDO) while suppressing interleukin(IL)-6 and IL-12 cytokine expression, culminating in enhanced IDO activity and the generation of regulatory T cells. We demonstrated that blockade of this pathway augmented anti-melanoma immunity, enhanced the activity of anti-PD-1 antibody immunotherapy, and suppressed disease progression in a transgenic melanoma model. This work implicates a role for tumor-mediated metabolic reprogramming of local DCs in immune evasion and immunotherapy resistance.


Wnt5a; dendritic cell tolerization; fatty acid oxidation; immune evasion; immunotherapy resistance; indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase; melanoma microenvironment; protoporphyrin IX; regulatory T cells; β-catenin

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