Lung cancer is a leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide. About 10-30% of patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) harbor mutations of the EGFR gene. The Tumor Microenvironment (TME) of patients with NSCLC harboring EGFR mutations displays peculiar characteristics and may modulate the antitumor immune response. EGFR activation increases PD-L1 expression in tumor cells, inducing T cell apoptosis and immune escape. EGFR-Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors (TKIs) strengthen MHC class I and II antigen presentation in response to IFN-gamma, boost CD8+ T-cells levels and DCs, eliminate FOXP3+ Tregs, inhibit macrophage polarization into the M2 phenotype, and decrease PD-L1 expression in cancer cells. Thus, targeted therapy blocks specific signaling pathways, whereas immunotherapy stimulates the immune system to attack tumor cells evading immune surveillance. A combination of TKIs and immunotherapy may have suboptimal synergistic effects. However, data are controversial because activated EGFR signaling allows NSCLC cells to use multiple strategies to create an immunosuppressive TME, including recruitment of Tumor-Associated Macrophages and Tregs and the production of inhibitory cytokines and metabolites. Therefore, these mechanisms should be characterized and targeted by a combined pharmacological approach that also concerns disease stage, cancer-related inflammation with related systemic symptoms, and the general status of the patients to overcome the single-drug resistance development.

EGFR-Mutated Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer and Resistance to Immunotherapy: Role of the Tumor Microenvironment

Madeddu, Clelia;Donisi, Clelia;Lai, Eleonora;Scartozzi, Mario;Macciò, Antonio
2022

Abstract

Lung cancer is a leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide. About 10-30% of patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) harbor mutations of the EGFR gene. The Tumor Microenvironment (TME) of patients with NSCLC harboring EGFR mutations displays peculiar characteristics and may modulate the antitumor immune response. EGFR activation increases PD-L1 expression in tumor cells, inducing T cell apoptosis and immune escape. EGFR-Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors (TKIs) strengthen MHC class I and II antigen presentation in response to IFN-gamma, boost CD8+ T-cells levels and DCs, eliminate FOXP3+ Tregs, inhibit macrophage polarization into the M2 phenotype, and decrease PD-L1 expression in cancer cells. Thus, targeted therapy blocks specific signaling pathways, whereas immunotherapy stimulates the immune system to attack tumor cells evading immune surveillance. A combination of TKIs and immunotherapy may have suboptimal synergistic effects. However, data are controversial because activated EGFR signaling allows NSCLC cells to use multiple strategies to create an immunosuppressive TME, including recruitment of Tumor-Associated Macrophages and Tregs and the production of inhibitory cytokines and metabolites. Therefore, these mechanisms should be characterized and targeted by a combined pharmacological approach that also concerns disease stage, cancer-related inflammation with related systemic symptoms, and the general status of the patients to overcome the single-drug resistance development.
EGFR mutations
immunotherapy resistance
non-small cell lung cancer
tumor microenvironment
tumor-associated macrophages
tyrosine kinase inhibitor
B7-H1 Antigen
ErbB Receptors
Humans
Immunotherapy
Mutation
Protein Kinase Inhibitors
Tumor Microenvironment
Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung
Lung Neoplasms
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11584/342934
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