Session: 622. Lymphoma Biology—Non-Genetic Studies: DLBCL
Hematology Disease Topics & Pathways:
Diseases, Lymphoma (any), DLBCL, Biological Processes, cellular interactions, Lymphoid Malignancies, Clinically relevant, immune mechanism, molecular interactions, pathogenesis
Multiplex immunofluorescence (IF) confocal microscopy analysis of the major stromal cell subsets revealed a marked expansion and remodeling of podoplanin, PDPN+ fibroblastic reticular cells (FRCs) in DLBCL lymph node tissue TME biopsies across GCB and ABC subtypes (n=40) compared to reactive control tissues (n=10). FRC myofibroblasts were similarly remodeled in tumors from the transgenic mouse model of DLBCL (Iμ-HABCL6, n=10) compared to wild type littermates (n=5). These altered PDPNhigh, αSMAhigh FRC networks were interspersed within effaced lymph node tissues in close proximity to DLBCL tumor cells.
To model the interactions between tumor cells and FRCs, we established 2D and 3D co-culture platforms that combined DLBCL cells (or non-malignant control B-cells) and PDPN+ FRCs derived from human or murine lymph node tissues. These quantitative assays have shown that tumor cells activate FRCs promoting their proliferation, increased expression of PDPN, marked elongation/stretching and subsequent reduced ability to contract 3D collagen matrix (non-contractile) (P<.01). Exposure to tumor cells caused uncoupling of PDPN from RHOA signaling and redistribution of PDPN into lipid rafts, permitting FRC stretching. FRCs purified from both human and murine tumor lymph nodes showed the same activated morphology and phenotype, demonstrating that our co-culture systems recapitulate in vivo findings. Screening experiments have shown that lymphoma-expressed membrane and soluble lymphotoxins (LTα1β2, LTα3) as well as TNFα significantly contribute to the remodeling of FRCs (P<.01). Co-culture assays have revealed evidence for mutualistic interaction as FRCs, that express BAFF, promote the survival of DLBCL cells in 3D matrix gels (P<.01). Expanded lymphoma PDPNhigh FRCs in situ co-expressed BAFF compared to a more restricted expression profile (marginal zone FRCs) in reactive lymph node tissues. Flow cytometry revealed that lymphoma FRCs exhibit a cancer-associated fibroblast (CAF)-like immunophenotype including upregulation of fibroblast activation protein (FAP) and αSMA, as well as immunomodulatory MHC class I, PD-L1 and PD-L2 molecules compared to control FRCs (P<.01).
An important function of FRCs in regulating immunity is attracting and maintaining T cells by secreting chemokines and promoting their migration along the network. Functional assays revealed that T cells show significantly reduced chemotaxis as well motility (quantitative time-lapse movies) across 2D and 3D lymphoma FRC networks compared to control FRCs (P<.01). Multiplex IF analysis revealed reduced CCL19 and CCL21-expressing FRCs in DLBCL compared to the reactive control FRC network as well as low numbers of tumor-infiltrated CD8+ T cells, which localized closely with remodeled FRCs. We next determined whether lymphoma FRCs (CAFs) could negatively regulate T cell function. Triple culture autologous assays (murine and human) have shown that prior exposure of tumor-infiltrated CD8+ T cells to FRCs significantly decreased their cytolytic killing activity against tumor cells (P<.01).
In conclusion our data indicate that DLBCL tumor cells convert FRCs into immunosuppressive CAFs, which exhibit altered immumomodulatory activities at different levels that we believe has important implications for the regulation of anti-tumor immunity as well as response to immunotherapy.
Disclosures: Vardi: Gilead: Research Funding; Janssen: Honoraria. Ramsay: Roche Glycart AG: Research Funding; MedImmune: Research Funding; Celgene Corporation: Research Funding.
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