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Mol Cancer Res. 2017 Sep;15(9):1138-1152. doi: 10.1158/1541-7786.MCR-17-0003. Epub 2017 May 16.

Infiltrating Myeloid Cells Exert Protumorigenic Actions via Neutrophil Elastase.

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Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York.
Department of Medicine, Division of Allergy/Immunology and Rheumatology, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York.
Department of Pathology, NYU Langone Medical Center, New York, New York.
Department of Cancer Genetics, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, New York.
Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York.


Tissue infiltration and elevated peripheral circulation of granulocytic myeloid-derived cells is associated with poor outcomes in prostate cancer and other malignancies. Although myeloid-derived cells have the ability to suppress T-cell function, little is known about the direct impact of these innate cells on prostate tumor growth. Here, it is reported that granulocytic myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC) are the predominant tumor-infiltrating cells in prostate cancer xenografts established in athymic nude mice. MDSCs significantly increased in number in the peripheral circulation as a function of xenograft growth and were successfully depleted in vivo by Gr-1 antibody treatment. Importantly, MDSC depletion significantly decreased xenograft growth. We hypothesized that granulocytic MDSCs might exert their protumorigenic actions in part through neutrophil elastase (ELANE), a serine protease released upon granulocyte activation. Indeed, it was determined that NE is expressed by infiltrating immune cells and is enzymatically active in prostate cancer xenografts and in prostate tumors of prostate-specific Pten-null mice. Importantly, treatment with sivelestat, a small-molecule inhibitor specific for NE, significantly decreased xenograft growth, recapitulating the phenotype of Gr-1 MDSC depletion. Mechanistically, NE activated MAPK signaling and induced MAPK-dependent transcription of the proliferative gene cFOS in prostate cancer cells. Functionally, NE stimulated proliferation, migration, and invasion of prostate cancer cells in vitro IHC on human prostate cancer clinical biopsies revealed coexpression of NE and infiltrating CD33+ MDSCs.Implications: This report suggests that MDSCs and NE are physiologically important mediators of prostate cancer progression and may serve as potential biomarkers and therapeutic targets. Mol Cancer Res; 15(9); 1138-52. ©2017 AACR.

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