The PD-L1- and IL6-mediated dampening of the IL27/STAT1 anticancer responses are prevented by α-PD-L1 or α-IL6 antibodies

Catherine Rolvering, Andreas D. Zimmer, Aurélien Ginolhac, Christiane Margue, Mélanie Kirchmeyer, Florence Servais, Heike M. Hermanns, Sabine Hergovits, Petr V. Nazarov, Nathalie Nicot, Stephanie Kreis, Serge Haan, Iris Behrmann, Claude Haan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Interleukin-27 (IL27) is a type-I cytokine of the IL6/IL12 family and is predominantly secreted by activated macrophages and dendritic cells. We show that IL27 induces STAT factor phosphorylation in cancerous cell lines of different tissue origin. IL27 leads to STAT1 phosphorylation and recapitulates an IFN-γ-like response in the microarray analyses, with up-regulation of genes involved in antiviral defense, antigen presentation, and immune suppression. Like IFN-γ, IL27 leads to an up-regulation of TAP2 and MHC-I proteins, which mediate increased tumor immune clearance. However, both cytokines also upregulate proteins such as PD-L1 (CD274) and IDO-1, which are associated with immune escape of cancer. Interestingly, differential expression of these genes was observed within the different cell lines and when comparing IL27 to IFN-γ. In coculture experiments of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells with peripheral blood mononuclear cells, pre-treatment of the HCC cells with IL27 resulted in lowered IL2 production by anti-CD3/-CD28 activated T-lymphocytes. Addition of anti-PD-L1 antibody, however, restored IL2 secretion. The levels of other T H 1 cytokines were also enhanced or restored upon administration of anti-PD-L1. In addition, we show that the suppression of IL27 signaling by IL6-type cytokine pre-stimulation—mimicking a situation occurring, for example, in IL6-secreting tumors or in tumor inflammation–induced cachexia—can be antagonized by antibodies against IL6-type cytokines or their receptors. Therapeutically, the antitumor effects of IL27 (mediated, e.g., by increased antigen presentation) might thus be increased by combining IL27 with blocking antibodies against PD-L1 or/and IL6-type cytokines.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)969-985
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Leukocyte Biology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018


  • IDO-1
  • IFN-γ
  • OSM
  • cytokine
  • interferon


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