The anticancer activity of immune checkpoint inhibitors is attracting attention in various clinical sites. Since green tea catechin has cancer-preventive activity in humans, whether green tea catechin supports the role of immune checkpoint inhibitors was studied. We here report that (-)-epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) inhibited programmed cell death ligand 1 (PD-L1) expression in non⁻small-cell lung cancer cells, induced by both interferon (IFN)-γ and epidermal growth factor (EGF). The mRNA and protein levels of IFN-γ⁻induced PD-L1 were reduced 40⁻80% after pretreatment with EGCG and green tea extract (GTE) in A549 cells, via inhibition of JAK2/STAT1 signaling. Similarly, EGF-induced PD-L1 expression was reduced about 37⁻50% in EGCG-pretreated Lu99 cells through inhibition of EGF receptor/Akt signaling. Furthermore, 0.3% GTE in drinking water reduced the average number of tumors per mouse from 4.1 ± 0.5 to 2.6 ± 0.4 and the percentage of PD-L1 positive cells from 9.6% to 2.9%, a decrease of 70%, in lung tumors of A/J mice given a single intraperitoneal injection of 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone (NNK). In co-culture experiments using F10-OVA melanoma cells and tumor-specific CD3+ T cells, EGCG reduced PD-L1 mRNA expression about 30% in F10-OVA cells and restored interleukin-2 mRNA expression in tumor-specific CD3+ T cells. The results show that green tea catechin is an immune checkpoint inhibitor.
Keywords: (−)-epigallocatechin gallate; epidermal growth factor; immune checkpoint; interferon-γ; lung tumor.