Breast Cancer Stem Cell-Derived Tumors Escape fromγδ T-cell Immunosurveillance In Vivo by Modulating γδ T-cell Ligands

There are no targeted therapies for patients with triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). TNBC is enriched in breast cancer stem cells (BCSC), which play a key role in metastasis, chemoresistance, relapse, and mortality.γδ T cells hold great potential in immunotherapy against cancer and might provide an approach to therapeutically target TNBC. γδ T cells are commonly observed to infiltrate solid tumors and have an extensive repertoire of tumor-sensing mechanisms, recognizing stress-induced molecules and phosphoantigens (pAgs) on transformed cells. Herein, we show that patient-derived triple-negative BCSCs are efficiently recognized and killed by ex vivo expanded γδ T cells from healthy donors. Orthotopically xenografted BCSCs, however, were refractory to γδ T-cell immunotherapy. We unraveled concerted differentiation and immune escape mechanisms: xenografted BCSCs lost stemness, expression of γδ T-cell ligands, adhesion molecules, and pAgs, thereby evading immune recognition by γδ T cells. Indeed, neither promigratory engineered γδ T cells, nor anti–PD-1 checkpoint blockade, significantly prolonged overall survival of tumor-bearing mice. BCSC immune escape was independent of the immune pressure exerted by theγδ T cells and could be pharmacologically reverted by zoledronate or IFNα treatment. These results pave the way for novel combinatorial immunotherapies for TNBC.