Image_2_Clinical Relevance of CD4 Cytotoxic T Cells in High-Risk Neuroblastoma.tiff (521.38 kB)
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posted on 22.04.2021, 14:39 by Xao X. Tang, Hiroyuki Shimada, Naohiko Ikegaki

Neuroblastoma is the most common extracranial childhood solid tumor. The majority of high-risk neuroblastoma is resistant/refractory to the current high intensity therapy, and the survival of these patients remains poor for the last three decades. To effectively treat these extremely unfavorable neuroblastomas, innovative immunotherapy approaches would be the most promising. In this article, we discuss the identity of tumor-infiltrating effector cells and immunosuppressive cells in high-risk neuroblastoma. Neuroblastoma is unique in that it expresses little or no classical HLA Class I and II. In contrast, high-risk neuroblastomas express the stress-responsive non-classical Class I, HLA-E molecule. HLA-E is the ligand of activating receptors NKG2C/E that are expressed on memory NK cells, CD8+T cells and CD4 CTLs. By examining a comprehensive RNA-seq gene expression dataset, we detected relatively high levels of CD4 expression in high-risk neuroblastoma tissues. The majority of CD4+ cells were CD3+, and thus they were likely tumor-associated CD4+T cells. In addition, high-level of both CD4 and NKG2C/E expression was associated with prolonged survival of the high-risk neuroblastoma patients, but CD8 levels were not, further suggesting that the CD4+ NKG2C/E+ T cells or CD4 CTL conferred cytotoxicity against the neuroblastoma cells. However, this T cell mediated- “protective effect” declined over time, in part due to the progressive formation of immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment. These observations suggest that to improve survival of high-risk neuroblastoma patients, it is essential to gain insights into how to enhance CD4 CTL cytotoxicity and control the immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment during the course of the disease.

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