NKG2D-mediated immune surveillance is crucial for inhibiting tumor growth and metastases. Malignant tumor cells often downregulate NKG2D ligands to escape from immune surveillance. High-profile studies have shown that restoring NKG2D ligand expression via genetic engineering inhibits tumor formation and progression. However, no effective in vivo approaches are available to restore these ligands across different types of solid tumors because the classic stress signal–dependent induction of this ligand in vitro is transient and has rarely been duplicated in solid tumors in vivo. We found that coadministration of an immune stimulatory signal (IL12) and chemotherapy (doxorubicin) restored the NKG2D ligand Rae-1 in multiple tumor types, including a human tumor model. The restored expression of NKG2D ligands was associated with tumor cell death and delay of tumor progression in vivo. Induction of tumor-specific NKG2D ligands required the engagement of CD8+ T cells and was regulated by the histone acetyltransferases GCN5 and PCAF. The tumor-specific restoration of NKG2D ligands in a variety of tumor models, including a human tumor model, resulted in NKG2D-dependent tumor regression and extended survival time. The elucidation of a CD8+ T cell–dependent mechanism suggests that activated NKG2D+CD8+ T-cell therapy alone may be able to restore the NKG2D ligand in tumors. Cancer Immunol Res; 5(4); 300–11. ©2017 AACR.
Note: Supplementary data for this article are available at Cancer Immunology Research Online (http://cancerimmunolres.aacrjournals.org/).
- Received September 9, 2016.
- Revision received December 21, 2016.
- Accepted January 23, 2017.
- ©2017 American Association for Cancer Research.