Increasing evidence indicates that cancer cell stress induced by chemotherapeutic agents promote antitumor immune responses and contribute to their full clinical efficacy. In this article, we identify the signaling events underlying chemotherapy-induced NKG2D and DNAM-1 ligand expression on multiple myeloma (MM) cells. Our findings indicate that sublethal doses of doxorubicin and melphalan initiate a DNA damage response (DDR) controlling ligand upregulation on MM cell lines and patient-derived malignant plasma cells in Chk1/2-dependent and p53-independent manner. Drug-induced MICA and PVR gene expression are transcriptionally regulated and involve DDR-dependent E2F1 transcription factor activity. We also describe the involvement of changes in the redox state in the control of DDR-dependent upregulation of ligand surface expression and gene transcriptional activity by using the antioxidant agent N-acetyl-L-cysteine. Finally, in accordance with much evidence indicating that DDR and oxidative stress are major determinants of cellular senescence, we found that redox-dependent DDR activation upon chemotherapeutic treatment is critical for MM cell entry in premature senescence and is required for the preferential ligand upregulation on senescent cells, which are preferentially killed by NK cells and trigger potent IFN-γ production. We propose immunogenic senescence as a mechanism that promotes the clearance of drug-treated tumor cells by innate effector lymphocytes, including NK cells.
ASJC Scopus subject areas