Tumor Cell–Intrinsic c-Myb Upregulation Stimulates Antitumor Immunity in a Murine Colorectal Cancer Model


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Year of publication 2023
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Cancer Immunology Research
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Science

Web https://doi.org/10.1158/2326-6066.CIR-22-0912
Doi http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/2326-6066.CIR-22-0912
Keywords c-Myb; colorectal cancer; antitumor immunity
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Description The transcription factor c-Myb is overexpressed in many different types of solid tumors, including colorectal cancer. However, its exact role in tumorigenesis is unclear. In this study, we show that tumor-intrinsic c-Myb expression in mouse models of colon cancer and melanoma suppresses tumor growth. Although no differences in proliferation, apoptosis, and angiogenesis of tumors were evident in tumors with distinct levels of c-Myb expression, we observed changes in intratumoral immune cell infiltrates. MC38 tumors with upregulated c-Myb expression showed increased numbers of CD103+ dendritic cells and eosinophils, but decreased tumor-associated macrophages (TAM). Concomitantly, an increase in the number of activated cytotoxic CD8+ T cells upon c-Myb upregulation was observed, which correlated with a pro-inflammatory tumor microenvironment and increased numbers of M1 polarized TAMs. Mechanistically, c-Myb upregulation in immunogenic MC38 colon cancer cells resulted in enhanced expression of immunomodulatory genes, including those encoding ß2-microglobulin and IFNß, and decreased expression of the gene encoding the chemokine receptor CCR2. The increased numbers of activated cytotoxic CD8+ T cells contributed to tumor growth attenuation. In poorly immunogenic CT26, LLC, and B16-BL6 tumor cells, c-Myb upregulation did not affect the immunomodulatory gene expression. Despite this, c-Myb upregulation led to reduced B16-BL6 tumor growth but it did not affect tumor growth of CT26 and LLC tumors. Altogether, we postulate that c-Myb functions as a tumor suppressor in a tumor cell–type specific manner and modulates antitumor immunity.
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