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Int J Mol Sci. 2019 Nov 23;20(23). pii: E5886. doi: 10.3390/ijms20235886.

ABCC3 Expressed by CD56dim CD16+ NK Cells Predicts Response in Glioblastoma Patients Treated with Combined Chemotherapy and Dendritic Cell Immunotherapy.

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Laboratory of Brain Tumor Immunotherapy, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta, 20133 Milan, Italy.
Unit of Molecular Neuro-Oncology, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta, 20133 Milan, Italy.


Recently, we found that temozolomide (TMZ) can upregulate the expression of the multidrug-resistance protein ABCC3 in NK cells from both glioma-bearing mice and glioblastoma patients treated with dendritic cell immunotherapy combined with TMZ, allowing NK cells to escape apoptosis and favoring their role as antitumor effector cells. Here, we demonstrate that CD56dim NK cells expressing CD16+ are predominant in patients surviving more than 12 months after surgery without disease progression. CD56dim CD16+ NK cells co-expressed high levels of ABCC3 and IFN-. Notably, not only basal but also TMZ-induced ABCC3 expression was related to a strong, long-term NK cell response and a better prognosis of patients. The identification of the single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs35467079 with the deletion of a cytosine (-897DelC) in the promoter region of the ABCC3 gene resulted associated with a better patient outcome. ABCC3 expression in patients carrying DelC compared to patients with reference haplotype was higher and modulated by TMZ. The transcription factor NRF2, involved in ABCC3 induction, was phosphorylated in CD56dim CD16+ NK cells expressing ABCC3 under TMZ treatment. Thus, ABCC3 protein and the SNP -897DelC can play a predictive role in patients affected by GBM, and possibly other cancers, treated with dendritic cell immunotherapy combined with chemotherapy.


ABCC3; NK cells; chemotherapy; glioblastoma; resistance

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