Lycopene improves the efficiency of anti-PD-1 therapy via activating IFN signaling of lung cancer cells.
Cancer Cell Int. 2019 ;19:68. Epub 2019 Mar 21. PMID: 30948928
Background: Monoclonal antibodies targeting programmed death-1 receptor (PD-1) and its ligand (PD-L1) have been developed to treat cancers including lung cancer. In this study, we aimed to investigate whether lycopene could promote the effect of anti-PD-1 treatment on lung cancer.
Methods: Tumor formation assay was conducted. Immune reactions were assessed by detecting several cytokine levels using enzyme-like immunosorbent assay. T cell activity was analyzed using cytometry. The mechanism of lycopene action was investigated using Western blot, quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction and bisulfite sequencing analysis.
Results: After the mice injected with Lewis lung carcinoma (LLC) cells were sacrificed, we found that combined lycopene and anti-PD-1 reduced the tumor volume and weight compared to control treatment. Cell apoptosis in the tumor tissues was significantly enhanced in mice with combined lycopene and anti-PD-1 treatment in comparison with those of either lycopene or anti-PD-1 alone. Furthermore, lycopene could assist anti-PD-1 to elevate the levels of interleukin (IL)-1 and interferon (IFN)γ while reduce the levels of IL-4 and IL-10 in the spleen of mice injected with LLC cells. Lycopene treatment increased the CD4+/CD8+ ratio in the spleen and promoted IFNγ-expressing CD8+ T cells in tumor tissues. Upon IFNγ stimulation, lycopene diminished PD-L1 expression via activating JAK andrepressing phosphorylation of AKT.
Conclusion: Our results have demonstrated that lycopene could be used as a potential adjuvant drug to synergistically improve the efficiency of anti-PD-1 therapy.