T cells drive negative feedback mechanisms in Cancer Associated Fibroblasts, promoting expression of co-inhibitory ligands, CD73 and IL-27 in non-small cell lung cancer (2021)

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O’Connor R A, Chauhan V, Mathieson L, Titmarsh H, Koppensteiner L, Young I, Tagliavini G, Dorward D, Prost S, Dhaliwal K, Wallace W, Akram A R.


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The success of immune checkpoint therapy shows tumor-reactive T cells can eliminate cancer cells but are restrained by immunosuppression within the tumor micro-environment (TME). Cancer associated fibroblasts (CAFs) are the dominant stromal cell in the TME and co-localize with T cells in non-small cell lung cancer. We demonstrate the bidirectional nature of CAF/T cell interactions; T cells promote expression of co-inhibitory ligands, MHC molecules and CD73 on CAFs, increasing their production of IL-6 and eliciting production of IL-27. In turn CAFs upregulate co-inhibitory receptors on T cells including the ectonucleotidase CD39 promoting development of an exhausted but highly cytotoxic phenotype. Our results highlight the bidirectional interaction between T cells and CAFs in promoting components of the immunosuppressive CD39, CD73 adenosine pathway and demonstrate IL-27 production can be induced in CAF by activated T cells.



Posted on

June 5, 2023

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