Williams Cancer Institute

Unveiling the Power of Tumor Cell-Intrinsic STING: Enhancing Antitumor Immunity through Cryoablation

“Acknowledgments, the authors would like to thank Dr Jason Williams as an expert consultant in cryoablation, IceCure Medical, Ltd. for making the ProSense CryoSurgical System available for this project; Adam Kresak for the help with tissue histology; and Jan Skotheim for providing the CSII-prEF1a-E2-Crimson-NLS plasmid (Addgene plasmid # 125263). IHC images were obtained with a Nanozoomer S60 slide scanner funded by NIH shared instrumentation grant (ORIP S10OD024981). The authors also acknowledge support of the Center for Pediatric Immunotherapy at the Angie Fowler AYA Cancer Institute/UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital. MA is supported by a scholarship from Qassim University, Buraydah, Saudi Arabia. AY-CH is supported as a fellow of the Harrington Discovery Institute and an endowed chair from the Theresia G. & Stuart F. Kline Family Foundation.”  –  Journal for immunotherapy of cancer, https://jitc.bmj.com/content/11/8/e006608

In the dynamic realm of cancer research, harnessing the immune system’s potential to fight tumors has revolutionized therapeutic approaches. The study titled “Functional tumor cell-intrinsic STING, not host STING, drives local and systemic antitumor immunity and therapy efficacy following cryoablation,” featured in the Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer (https://jitc.bmj.com/content/11/8/e006608), presents a groundbreaking exploration into the role of tumor cell-intrinsic STING (Stimulator of Interferon Genes) in amplifying both local and systemic antitumor immune responses after cryoablation treatment.

Cryoablation, a technique that employs extreme cold to freeze and destroy cancer cells, has gained attention as a potential method to activate the immune system against tumors. This study delves into the intricate interplay between STING signaling and cryoablation-induced immunogenic cell death. The research uncovers that it’s the tumor cell-intrinsic STING pathway, rather than the host STING pathway, that plays a pivotal role in driving the immune response that follows cryoablation.

The findings shed light on how activating the STING pathway within tumor cells can lead to the release of danger signals and proinflammatory factors, triggering a cascade of immune responses. This tumor-specific activation of STING acts as a beacon, attracting immune cells to the site of ablation and inciting a localized immune attack against the tumor. Additionally, this immune response extends systemically, influencing distant tumor sites that were not directly treated with cryoablation. This dual effect highlights the potential of combining cryoablation with strategies that target the STING pathway, unlocking new possibilities for enhancing immunotherapy efficacy.

The research not only underscores the importance of tumor cell-intrinsic STING in cryoablation-induced antitumor immunity but also emphasizes the potential of therapeutic interventions that target this pathway. By unraveling the intricate mechanisms that govern immune responses post-cryoablation, this study paves the way for the development of innovative treatment strategies that capitalize on the synergy between localized tumor destruction and systemic immune activation.

In conclusion, the study illuminates a novel facet of cancer immunotherapy, where tumor cell-intrinsic STING emerges as a key player in amplifying the effects of cryoablation. The findings fuel optimism about tailoring treatments to harness the intrinsic capabilities of tumor cells to incite powerful immune responses. As researchers continue to decipher the complexities of the immune-tumor relationship, the fusion of cryoablation and STING-based therapies holds great promise in the quest to enhance antitumor immunity and ultimately improve patient outcomes.

Reference: Mohammad Alshebremi, Suzanne L Tomchuck, Jay T Myers, Daniel T Kingsley,  Saada Eid,  Muta Abiff, Melissa Bonner, Shahrazad T Saab , Sung Hee Choi,Alex Yee-Chen Huang, 2022, Functional tumor cell-intrinsic STING, not host STING, drives local and systemic antitumor immunity and therapy efficacy following cryoablation, https://jitc.bmj.com/content/11/8/e006608

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