Chemotherapy-induced antitumor immunity requires formyl peptide receptor 1

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Science  20 Nov 2015:
Vol. 350, Issue 6263, pp. 972-978
DOI: 10.1126/science.aad0779

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How dying tumor cells get noticed

Besides killing tumor cells directly, some chemotherapies, such as anthracyclines, also activate the immune system to kill tumors. Vacchelli et al. discovered that in mice, anthracycline-induced antitumor immunity requires immune cells to express the protein formyl peptide receptor 1 (FPR1). Dendritic cells (DCs) near tumors expressed especially high amounts of FPR1. DCs normally capture fragments of dying tumor cells and use them to activate nearby T cells to kill tumors, but DCs lacking FPR1 failed to do this effectively. Individuals with breast or colon cancer expressing a variant of FPR1 and treated with anthracyclines showed poor metastasis-free and overall survival. Thus, FPR1 may affect anti-tumor immunity in people, too.

Science, this issue p. 972


Antitumor immunity driven by intratumoral dendritic cells contributes to the efficacy of anthracycline-based chemotherapy in cancer. We identified a loss-of-function allele of the gene coding for formyl peptide receptor 1 (FPR1) that was associated with poor metastasis-free and overall survival in breast and colorectal cancer patients receiving adjuvant chemotherapy. The therapeutic effects of anthracyclines were abrogated in tumor-bearing Fpr1−/− mice due to impaired antitumor immunity. Fpr1-deficient dendritic cells failed to approach dying cancer cells and, as a result, could not elicit antitumor T cell immunity. Experiments performed in a microfluidic device confirmed that FPR1 and its ligand, annexin-1, promoted stable interactions between dying cancer cells and human or murine leukocytes. Altogether, these results highlight the importance of FPR1 in chemotherapy-induced anticancer immune responses.

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