Accumulation of Circulating CCR7+ Natural Killer Cells Marks Melanoma Evolution and Reveals a CCL19-Dependent Metastatic Pathway

Costanza Maria Cristiani, Alice Turdo, Valeria Ventura, Tiziana Apuzzo, Mariaelena Capone, Gabriele Madonna, Domenico Mallardo, Cinzia Garofalo, Emilia Dora Giovannone, Antonio M Grimaldi, Rossana Tallerico, Emanuela Marcenaro, Silvia Pesce, Genny Del Zotto, Valter Agosti, Francesco Saverio Costanzo, Elio Gulletta, Aroldo Rizzo, Alessandro Moretta, Klas KarrePaolo A Ascierto, Matilde Todaro, Ennio Carbone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Immune checkpoint blockade therapy has changed prognoses for many melanoma patients. However, immune responses that correlate with clinical progression of the disease are still poorly understood. To identify immune responses correlating with melanoma clinical evolution, we analyzed serum cytokines as well as circulating NK and T-cell subpopulations from melanoma patients. The patients' immune profiles suggested that melanoma progression leads to changes in peripheral blood NK and T-cell subsets. Stage IV melanoma was characterized by an increased frequency of CCR7+CD56bright NK cells as well as high serum concentrations of the CCR7 ligand CCL19. CCR7 expression and CCL19 secretion were also observed in melanoma cell lines. The CCR7+ melanoma cell subpopulation coexpressed PD-L1 and Galectin-9 and had stemness properties. Analysis of melanoma-derived cancer stem cells (CSC) showed high CCR7 expression; these CSCs were efficiently recognized and killed by NK cells. An accumulation of CCR7+, PD-L1+, and Galectin-9+ melanoma cells in melanoma metastases was demonstrated ex vivo Altogether, our data identify biomarkers that may mark a CCR7-driven metastatic melanoma pathway.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)841-852
Number of pages12
JournalCancer immunology research
Volume7
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2019

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Cristiani, C. M., Turdo, A., Ventura, V., Apuzzo, T., Capone, M., Madonna, G., Mallardo, D., Garofalo, C., Giovannone, E. D., Grimaldi, A. M., Tallerico, R., Marcenaro, E., Pesce, S., Zotto, G. D., Agosti, V., Costanzo, F. S., Gulletta, E., Rizzo, A., Moretta, A., ... Carbone, E. (2019). Accumulation of Circulating CCR7+ Natural Killer Cells Marks Melanoma Evolution and Reveals a CCL19-Dependent Metastatic Pathway. Cancer immunology research, 7(5), 841-852. https://doi.org/10.1158/2326-6066.CIR-18-0651