Using syngeneic BALB/c mouse breast cancer models, we show that the chromatin remodeling subunit bromodomain PHD finger transcription factor (BPTF) suppresses natural killer (NK) cell antitumor activity in the tumor microenvironment (TME). In culture, BPTF suppresses direct natural cytotoxicity receptor (NCR) mediated NK cell cytolytic activity to mouse and human cancer cell lines, demonstrating conserved functions. Blocking mouse NCR1 in vivo rescues BPTF KD tumor weights, demonstrating its importance for the control of tumor growth. We discovered that BPTF occupies heparanase (Hpse) regulatory elements, activating its expression. Increased heparanase activity results in reduced cell surface abundance of the NCR co-ligands: heparan sulfate proteoglycans (HSPGs). Using gain and loss of function approaches we show that elevated heparanase levels suppress NK cell cytolytic activity to tumor cells in culture. These results suggest that BPTF activates heparanase expression, which in turn reduces cell surface HSPGs and NCR co-ligands, inhibiting NK cell activity. Furthermore, gene expression data from human breast cancer tumors shows that elevated BPTF expression correlates with reduced antitumor immune cell signatures, supporting conserved roles for BPTF in suppressing antitumor immunity. Conditional BPTF depletion in established mouse breast tumors enhances antitumor immunity, suggesting that inhibiting BPTF could provide a novel immunotherapy.

Citation Format: Kimberly Mayes, Zeinab Elsayed, Aiman Alhazmi, Michael Waters, Suehyb Alkhatib, Mark Roberts, Carolyn Song, Kristen Peterson, Vivian Chan, Nikhil Ailaney, Pumoli Malapati, Tana Blevins, Berislav Lisnic, Catherine Dumur, Joseph Landry. Tumor cell intrinsic BPTF inhibits NK cell activity and the abundance of natural cytotoxicity receptor co-ligands [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the AACR Special Conference on Tumor Immunology and Immunotherapy; 2017 Oct 1-4; Boston, MA. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Immunol Res 2018;6(9 Suppl):Abstract nr A28.