Objectives: Single immunotherapy fails to demonstrate efficacy in patients with microsatellite stable (MSS) metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC). Research on immune reactions before and after systemic agents for mCRC is warranted.
Methods: Our study examined cell line models to compare the expression of immune surface markers on colon cancer cells before and after chemotherapy agents. We also elucidated mechanisms underlying the effects of chemotherapy agents on immune surface markers. We used real-world clinical samples with NanoString analysis and the Perkin-Elmer Opal multiplex system.
Results: We established that chemotherapy agents, particularly 7-ethyl-10-hydroxycamptothecin (SN-38), the active metabolite of irinotecan, stimulated the expression of stimulatory MHC class I isotypes through stimulation the pathway of transporters associated with antigen processing 1 and 2 (TAP1 and TAP2) in cell line models. Application of infected cell protein 47 (ICP-47), a specific inhibitor of the TAP1/TAP2, significantly inhibited expression of TAP1/TAP2 and also inhibited the expression of the downstream MHC class I. We confirmed that the expression of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I, programmed death 1(PD-1), and programmed death ligand 1(PD-L1) significantly increased after first-line chemotherapy and targeted therapy in the samples of real-world patients with de novo mCRC.
Conclusion: Our study provides new insights for novel immunotherapy combinations.