Tunalı G, Rúbies Bedós M, Nagarajan D, Fridh P, Papakyriacou I, Mao Y
J. Clin. Invest. 133 (7) - [2023-04-03; online 2023-04-03]
Inflammatory mediators released by cancer cells promote the induction of immune suppression and tolerance in myeloid cells. IL-1 receptor-associated kinase-3 (IRAK3) is a pseudokinase that inhibits IL-1/TLR signaling, but its role in patients treated with immune checkpoint blockade (ICB) therapy remains unclear. Using RNA-Seq data from the IMvigor210 trial, we found that tumors with high IRAK3 expressions showed enriched antiinflammatory pathways and worse clinical response to ICB therapy. Upon IRAK3 protein deletion with CRISPR/Cas9, primary human monocytes displayed altered global protein expression and phosphorylation in quantitative proteomics and released more proinflammatory cytokines in response to stimulation. Bone marrow-derived macrophages from an IRAK3 CRISPR KO mouse model demonstrated a proinflammatory phenotype and enhanced sensitivity to TLR agonists compared with WT cells. IRAK3 deficiency delayed the growth of carcinogen-induced and oncogene-driven murine cancer cells and induced enhanced activation in myeloid cells and T cells. Upon ICB treatment, IRAK3-KO mice showed enrichment of TCF1+PD-1+ stem-like memory CD8+ T cells and resulted in superior growth inhibition of immunologically cold tumors in vivo. Altogether, our study demonstrated what we believe to be a novel cancer-driven immune tolerance program controlled by IRAK3 in humans and mice and proposed its suitability as an immunotherapy target.