Poster Board III-865
In addition to providing prognostic information, gene expression profiling studies have helped to elucidate the putative cell of origin (e.g. activated or germinal center B cell) in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. With the exception of angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphomas, which are thought to derive from follicular helper T cells, little is known about the cell of origin for the most common peripheral T-cell lymphoma (PTCL), PTCL-unspecified (PTCL-U). Following appropriate antigenic stimulation, naïve CD4+ T cells may terminally differentiate into effector cells, defined by the production of specific cytokines, including IL-4/IL-10 producing Th2 cells. We have previously demonstrated that IL-10, produced by malignant T cells, is systemically elevated in the serum of patients with PTCL and contributes to the suppression of host anti-tumor immunity. Murine studies have demonstrated that the transcription factor GATA-3 is both critically important for IL-10 transcription and is required for the differentiation of Th2 cells. Therefore, we hypothesized that a subset of PTCL-U may be Th2-derived and express GATA-3. To examine this possibility, PTCL-U cases with adequate paraffin-embedded tissue were identified from a single institution (n=46) and immunohistochemically stained for GATA-3 expression. More than 10% of tumor cells expressed GATA-3 in 17 (37%) of the 46 cases examined. Follow up data sufficient to determine overall survival was available for 43 of these patients, in whom the expression of GATA-3 was associated with a poorer overall survival. Patients with GATA-3 negative tumors (n=27) had a median overall survival (OS) of 3.8 years, whereas patients with GATA-3 positive tumors (n=16) had a median OS of 0.7 years (p=.002). Among low-intermediate risk patients, as defined by the International Prognostic Index (IPI), GATA-3 expression was associated with inferior median overall survival (<12 months, p<.001). IL-10 production may explain the adverse impact of GATA-3 expression on OS in PTCL-U, as GATA-3 plays a central role in IL-10 transcription in normal T cells. To determine whether it may have a similar role in malignant T cells, we identified a PTCL cells line (SU-DHL-1) that highly expressed GATA-3 by intracellular flow cytometry. We next transfected these cells with a negative control or GATA-3 specific siRNA and demonstrated that transfection with GATA-3 siRNA significantly decreased GATA-3 expression in these cells. Following knockdown of GATA-3 expression, we measured both cell proliferation by 3H-TdR incorporation and IL-10 production by ELISA. No significant difference in cell proliferation was observed (n=4, p=0.2), whereas an approximately 50% reduction in IL-10 production was observed (n=3, p=.008) following inhibition of GATA-3 expression. Therefore, GATA-3 expression in malignant T cells may promote the production of IL-10, thus impairing host anti-tumor immunity. Immunomodulatory drugs (IMiDs), like lenalidomide, may downregulate GATA-3 expression in normal T cells. Therefore, we sought to determine whether lenalidomide may inhibit IL-10 production in normal and malignant T cells. T cells obtained from normal donors were activated with anti-CD3 and treated with either DMSO or lenalidomide (10 μM). Intracellular staining for both IL-10 and IL-2 was performed 3 days later. In DMSO control treated cells, 1.0% of cells expressed IL-10 and 12% expressed IL-2. In contrast, in lenalidomide treated cells, only 0.3% of cells expressed IL-10 and 17% expressed IL-2 (representative of at least 4 independently performed experiments). Similar results were obtained using T cells from a patient with Sezary Syndrome. We next treated SU-DHL-1 cells with DMSO or lenalidomide (0.1, 1.0 and 10 μM) and measured both cell proliferation by 3H-TdR incorporation and IL-10 production by ELISA. Significant inhibition of SU-DHL-1 proliferation was only observed when cells were treated with 10 μM lenalidomide. In contrast, significant inhibition of IL-10 production was observed in the presence of 1 μM and 10 μM lenalidomide (p<.01). Collectively, the data presented demonstrates that GATA-3 promotes the production of IL-10 by malignant T cells and is an adverse prognostic factor in PTCL-U. Given its immunomodulatory properties, including inhibition of IL-10 production, lenalidomide represents a promising therapeutic agent in PTCL-U.
No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.
Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.