STING Signaling in Melanoma Cells Shapes Antigenicity and Can Promote Antitumor T-cell Activity

Cancer Immunol Res. 2019 Nov;7(11):1837-1848. doi: 10.1158/2326-6066.CIR-19-0229. Epub 2019 Aug 28.


STING (stimulator of IFN genes) signaling is an innate immune pathway for induction of a spontaneous antitumor T-cell response against certain immunogenic tumors. Although antigen-presenting cells are known to be involved in this process, insight into the participation of tumor cell-intrinsic STING signaling remains weak. In this study, we find diversity in the regulation of STING signaling across a panel of human melanoma cell lines. We show that intact activation of STING signaling in a subset of human melanoma cell lines enhances both their antigenicity and susceptibility to lysis by human melanoma tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL) through the augmentation of MHC class I expression. Conversely, defects in the STING signaling pathway protect melanoma cells from increased immune recognition by TILs and limit their sensitivity to TIL lysis. Based on these findings, we propose that defects in tumor cell-intrinsic STING signaling can mediate not only tumor immune evasion but also resistance to TIL-based immunotherapies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Cytotoxicity, Immunologic
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Lymphocytes, Tumor-Infiltrating / immunology*
  • Lymphocytes, Tumor-Infiltrating / metabolism
  • Melanoma / immunology*
  • Melanoma / metabolism
  • Membrane Proteins / agonists
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism*
  • Nucleotidyltransferases / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / immunology*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • Tumor Escape / immunology
  • Up-Regulation


  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I
  • Membrane Proteins
  • STING1 protein, human
  • Nucleotidyltransferases
  • cGAS protein, human