Epigenetic changes in tumor Fas levels determine immune escape and response to therapy.
Maecker HL., Yun Z., Maecker HT., Giaccia AJ.
Epigenetic regulation of gene expression significantly influences cell growth and differentiation. Here we show that epigenetic silencing of Fas determines tumor growth in vivo and apoptotic sensitivity in vitro. In established tumors with epigenetically repressed Fas, restoration of Fas activity either by transfection of fas or treatment with Trichostatin A (TSA), an inhibitor of histone deacetylase, suppresses tumor growth and restores chemosensitivity. The TSA-dependent chemosensitivity and tumor growth control require both tumor Fas and the host NK (natural killer) cell functions. This work demonstrates the importance of epigenetic modification of Fas in tumor progression and immune evasion, and emphasizes the essential interplay between Fas and innate immunity in the control of chemoresistant tumors.