While type-I interferons (IFNs) play critical roles in antiviral and antitumor activity, it remains to be elucidated how type-I IFNs are produced in sterile conditions of the tumor microenvironment and directly impacts tumor-infiltrating immune cells. Mouse de novo gliomas show increased expression of type-I IFN messages, and in mice, CD11b+ brain-infiltrating leukocytes (BILs) are the main source of type-I IFNs that are induced partially in a STING (stimulator of IFN genes)-dependent manner. Consequently, glioma-bearing StingGt/Gt mice showed shorter survival, and lower expression levels of Ifns compared with wild-type mice. Furthermore, BILs of StingGt/Gt mice show increased CD11b+ Gr-1+ immature myeloid suppressor and CD25+ Foxp3+ regulatory T (Treg) cells, while decreased IFN-γ-producing CD8+ T cells. CD4+ and CD8+ T cells that received direct type-I IFN signals demonstrate lesser degrees of regulatory activity and increased levels of antitumor activity, respectively. Finally, intratumoral administration of a STING agonist (cyclic diguanylate monophosphate; c-di-GMP) improves the survival of glioma-bearing mice associated with enhanced type-I IFN signaling, Cxcl10 and Ccl5 and T cell migration into the brain. In a combination with subcutaneous OVA peptide-vaccination, c-di-GMP increased OVA-specific cytotoxicity of BILs and prolonged the survival. These data demonstrate significant contributions of STING to antitumor immunity via enhancement of the type-I IFN signaling in the tumor microenvironment, and imply a potential use of STING agonists for development of effective immunotherapy, such as the combination with antigen-specific vaccinations.
- Received May 21, 2014.
- Revision received August 29, 2014.
- Accepted September 29, 2014.
- Copyright © 2014, American Association for Cancer Research.