Research ArticleCancer Immunotherapy

Foxo1 and Foxp1 play opposing roles in regulating the differentiation and antitumor activity of TH9 cells programmed by IL-7

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Sci. Signal.  10 Oct 2017:
Vol. 10, Issue 500, eaak9741
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.aak9741

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Enhancing therapeutic potential

CD4+ T helper 9 (TH9) cells secrete the cytokines interleukin-9 (IL-9) and IL-21 and are important in cancer immunotherapy because of their ability to stimulate the antitumor effects of cytotoxic T cells. Bi et al. found that the presence of IL-7 in the culture medium during the differentiation process increased the production of TH9 cells in vitro and enhanced their antitumor activity. IL-7 signaling caused the exchange of the repressive transcriptional regulator Foxp1 for Foxo1 on the Il9 promoter, leading to increased Il9 expression and TH9 cell generation. Together, these results suggest that IL-7 treatment of TH9 cells may amplify the antitumor effects of this type of cancer immunotherapy.