In head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC), a significant proportion of tumors have inactivating mutations in the histone methyltransferase NSD1. In these tumors, NSD1 inactivation is a driver of T cell exclusion from the tumor microenvironment (TME). A better understanding of the NSD1-mediated mechanism regulating infiltration of T cells into the TME could help identify approaches to overcome immununosuppression. Here, we demonstrated that NSD1 inactivation results in lower levels of H3K36 di-methylation and higher levels of H3K27 tri-methylation, the latter being a known repressive histone mark enriched on the promoters of key T cell chemokines CXCL9 and CXCL10. HNSCC with NSD1 mutations had lower levels of these chemokines and lacked responses to PD-1 immune checkpoint blockade. Inhibition of KDM2A, the primary lysine demethylase that is selective for H3K36, reversed the altered histone marks induced by NSD1 loss and restored T cell infiltration into the TME. Importantly, KDM2A suppression decreased growth of NSD1-deficient tumors in immunocompetent, but not in immunodeficient, mice. Together, these data indicate that KDM2A is an immunotherapeutic target for overcoming immune exclusion in HNSCC.
View details for DOI 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-22-3114
View details for PubMedID 37311054