Inhibition of Nr4a receptors enhances antitumor immunity by breaking treg-mediated immune tolerance

Sana Hibino, Shunsuke Chikuma, Taisuke Kondo, Minako Ito, Hiroko Nakatsukasa, Setsuko Omata-Mise, Akihiko Yoshimura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)


Enhanced infiltration of regulatory T cells (Treg) into tumor tissue is detrimental to patients with cancer and is closely associated with poor prognosis as they create an immunosuppressive state that suppresses antitumor immune responses. Therefore, breaking Treg-mediated immune tolerance is important when considering cancer immunotherapy. Here, we show that the Nr4a nuclear receptors, key transcription factors maintaining Treg genetic programs, contribute to Treg-mediated suppression of antitumor immunity in the tumor microenvironment. Mice lacking Nr4a1 and Nr4a2 genes specifically in Tregs showed resistance to tumor growth in transplantation models without exhibiting any severe systemic autoimmunity. The chemotherapeutic agent camptothecin and a common cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitor were found to inhibit transcriptional activity and induction of Nr4a factors, and they synergistically exerted antitumor effects. Genetic inactivation or pharmacologic inhibition of Nr4a factors unleashed effector activities of CD8þ cytotoxic T cells and evoked potent antitumor immune responses. These findings demonstrate that inactivation of Nr4a in Tregs breaks immune tolerance toward cancer, and pharmacologic modulation of Nr4a activity may be a novel cancer treatment strategy targeting the immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3027-3040
Number of pages14
JournalCancer Research
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2018
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'Inhibition of Nr4a receptors enhances antitumor immunity by breaking treg-mediated immune tolerance'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this