The identification of immunosuppressive factors within human tumor microenvironments, and the ability to block these factors, would be expected to enhance patients' anti-tumor immune responses. We previously established that an unidentified factor, or factors, present in ovarian tumor ascites fluids reversibly inhibited the activation of T cells by arresting the T cell signaling cascade. Ultracentrifugation of the tumor ascites fluid has now revealed a pellet that contains small extracellular vesicles (EV) with an average diameter of 80nm. The T cell arrest was determined to be causally linked to phosphatidylserine (PS) that is present on the outer leaflet of the vesicle bilayer, as a depletion of PS expressing EV or a blockade of PS with anti-PS antibody significantly inhibits the vesicle induced signaling arrest. The inhibitory EV were also isolated from solid tumor tissues. The presence of immune suppressive vesicles in the microenvironments of ovarian tumors and our ability to block their inhibition of T cell function represent a potential therapeutic target for patients with ovarian cancer.
- Received March 31, 2015.
- Revision received May 29, 2015.
- Accepted June 16, 2015.
- Copyright © 2015, American Association for Cancer Research.