Zhao Z, et al. Cancer Lett 2020.
The Insulin-like growth factor-1/Insulin-like growth factor-1 receptor (IGF1/IGF1R) axis contributes to immunosuppression during tumor progression; however, the underlying mechanism remains unclear. In the present study, we found that IGF1 stimulation or IGF1R overexpression (IGF1R-OE) could upregulate the expression of B7-H4, while IGF1R inhibition downregulated B7-H4 in both A549 and SPC-A-1 lung cancer cell lines. IGF1R-OE conferred the inhibition of CD8+ T cells by cancer cells in vitro, and induction of B7-H4 expression was mediated by the activation of the MEK/ERK1/2 signaling pathway. The in vitro findings were further confirmed in vivo using a Lewis lung cancer mouse model. IGF1R-OE promoted tumor growth and inhibited tumor infiltration by CD8+ T cells in the mouse model. However, this effect was suppressed when B7-H4 was knocked down in IGF1R-OE cells. Our findings suggest that IGF1R could induce immunosuppression in lung cancer by upregulating the expression of B7-H4 through the MEK/ERK pathway. B7-H4 may therefore be a potential therapeutic target for lung cancer immunotherapy.