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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 16  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 309-319

Targeting EZH2 depletes LMP1-induced activated regulatory T cells enhancing antitumor immunity in nasopharyngeal carcinoma

1 Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery; Guangzhou Key Laboratory of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, The First Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China
2 Department of Otorhinolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, The First People's Hospital of Foshan, Foshan, China

Correspondence Address:
Weiping Wen
No. 58, Zhongshan 2nd Road, Guangzhou
Yihui Wen
No. 58, Zhongshan 2nd Road, Guangzhou
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jcrt.JCRT_986_19

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Objective: Regulatory T cells (Tregs) are critical factors that impair antitumor immunity. Epstein–Barr virus (EBV)-encoded latent membrane protein 1 (LMP1) is one of the most pathogenic factors in nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC). However, the role of EBV-encoded LMP1 in regulating Treg generation in NPC remains unclear. Materials and Methods: The in vitro stability of activated Tregs (aTregs) influenced by LMP1 was analyzed by flow cytometry. The inhibitory effects of LMP1-HONE1 antigen-induced aTregs on tumor-associated antigen (TAA)-specific T cells were analyzed in vitro and in vivo. Finally, the expression of LMP1, Foxp3, and enhancer of zeste homolog 2 (EZH2) were analyzed in samples from 86 NPC patients by immunohistochemistry and immunofluorescence. Results: LMP1 upregulated the expression of EZH2, which increased the stability of aTregs in vitro. EZH2 inhibitor, DZnep, depleted LMP1-HONE1 antigen-induced aTregs in vitro and led to potent TAA-specific T cell antitumor immunity in vivo. In NPC tissues, LMP1 expression level was positively correlated with the number of EZH2+ Tregs, which was positively correlated with clinical stage and overall survival. Conclusions: EZH2 is essential for maintaining the stability and inhibitory functions of aTregs that are induced by EBV-encoded LMP1 in NPC.

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