Introduction: Galectin-9 (Gal-9) is a carbohydrate-binding protein that interacts with T-cell immunoglobulin mucin 3 (TIM3) to modulate immune homeostasis. The Gal-9/TIM3 interaction down regulates activated T cells which promotes tumor growth, much like program death 1 (PD-1) and its ligand (PD-L1). Still, the effect Gal-9 has on the immune environment of melanoma patients is weakly understood. This study focuses on the role of Gal-9 in immunoregulation of healthy persons and metastatic melanoma patients.
Methods: Soluble Gal-9 levels were determined from plasma collected from patients and healthy persons using standard ELISA methods. Proliferation and apoptosis of cells in the presence and absence of Gal-9 was determined by mixed lymphocyte reactions and Tunnel staining. Supernatants from these reactions were collected and run using a cytokine bead assay to determine changes in immune parameters with and without Gal-9.
Results: Soluble Gal-9 was significantly higher in metastatic melanoma patients compared to healthy controls (3929 vs. 877 pg/mL, p=0.0003 respectively). In the presence of Gal-9, the proliferative effect of an allostimulus could be overridden until the level of responder cells to stimulator cells was 4:1. Using an apoptosis assay, Gal-9 was found to increase the level of cellular apoptosis; however, apoptosis was decreased as the allostimulus increased. Healthy cells incubated with Gal-9 were found to increase secretion of growth factors (EGF and FGF-2), chemokines (CXCL1, CXCL8, CCL2 and CCL3), T helper 1 cytokines (IFN-g and IL-7) which have shown tumor promoting affects and T helper 2 cytokines (IL-13 and IL-4).
Conclusions: Gal-9 may potentially play a role in suppressing anti-tumor immunity. This suggests the use of a Gal-9 neutralizing antibody for therapeutic benefit in melanoma.
Citation Format: Elizabeth Ann L. Enninga, Wendy K. Nevala, Svetomir N. Markovic. Galectin-9 has tumor promoting properties that may be targetable in metastatic melanoma. [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the AACR Special Conference: Tumor Immunology and Immunotherapy: A New Chapter; December 1-4, 2014; Orlando, FL. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Immunol Res 2015;3(10 Suppl):Abstract nr A41.
- ©2015 American Association for Cancer Research.