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10.3389_fimmu.2020.01469.pdf (1.93 MB)

Role of Epigenetic Modifications in Inhibitory Immune Checkpoints in Cancer Development and Progression

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submitted on 2024-06-30, 13:10 and posted on 2024-06-30, 13:11 authored by Reem Saleh, Salman M. Toor, Varun Sasidharan Nair, Eyad Elkord

A balance between co-inhibitory and co-stimulatory signals in the tumor microenvironment (TME) is critical to suppress tumor development and progression, primarily via maintaining effective immunosurveillance. Aberrant expression of immune checkpoints (ICs), including programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1), cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated protein 4 (CTLA-4), T cell immunoglobulin and mucin-domain containing-3 (TIM-3), lymphocyte-activation gene 3 (LAG-3) and T cell immunoreceptor with Ig and ITIM domains (TIGIT), can create an immune-subversive environment, which helps tumor cells to evade immune destruction. Recent studies showed that epigenetic modifications play critical roles in regulating the expression of ICs and their ligands in the TME. Reports showed that the promoter regions of genes encoding ICs/IC ligands can undergo inherent epigenetic alterations, such as DNA methylation and histone modifications (acetylation and methylation). These epigenetic aberrations can significantly contribute to the transcriptomic upregulation of ICs and their ligands. Epigenetic therapeutics, including DNA methyltransferase and histone deacetylase inhibitors, can be used to revert these epigenetic anomalies acquired during the progression of disease. These discoveries have established a promising therapeutic modality utilizing the combination of epigenetic and immunotherapeutic agents to restore the physiological epigenetic profile and to re-establish potent host immunosurveillance mechanisms. In this review, we highlight the roles of epigenetic modifications on the upregulation of ICs, focusing on tumor development, and progression. We discuss therapeutic approaches of epigenetic modifiers, including clinical trials in various cancer settings and their impact on current and future anti-cancer therapies.

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Published in: Frontiers in Immunology
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Hamad Bin Khalifa University, Qatar Biomedical Research Institute (VR04).



  • English



Publication Year

  • 2020

License statement

This Item is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Institution affiliated with

  • Hamad Bin Khalifa University
  • Qatar Biomedical Research Institute - HBKU
  • Cancer Research Center - QBRI