Published: 28-12-2009 00:00 | Updated: 26-11-2013 10:29

Cholesterol metabolites dampen antitumor immune response

Researchers at Karolinska Institutet have, in collaboration with researchers at the Scientific Institute San Raffaele in Milan, discovered that human and mouse tumors release cholesterol metabolites or LXR ligands dampening the antitumor immune response, thus allowing tumors to grow in an uncontrolled way. The findings are published in the top biomedical journal Nature Medicine.

Jan-Åke Gustafsson

According to the researchers, these metabolites particularly impair the function of a specialized subset of immune cells, which orchestrate the antigen-specific immune response, namely dendritic cells. The pharmacologic blockade of the mechanism restores the antitumor immune response in mouse tumor models, leading to tumor rejection.

The study, led at the Scientific Institute San Raffaele by Drs Russo and Traversari, offers hope of being able to treat tumors with drugs that affect cholesterol metabolism.


Eduardo J Villablanca1, Laura Raccosta, Dan Zhou, Raffaella Fontana, Daniela Maggioni, Aurora Negro, Francesca Sanvito, Maurilio Ponzoni, Barbara Valentinis, Marco Bregni, Alessandro Prinetti, Knut R. Steffensen, Sandro Sonnino, Jan-Ake Gustafsson, Claudio Doglioni4, Claudio Bordignon, Catia Traversari& Vincenzo Russo

Tumor-mediated liver X receptor-± activation inhibits CC chemokine receptor-7 expression on dendritic cells and dampens antitumor responses

Nature Medicine 27 December 2009

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