Tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) are versatile immune cells that promote a variety of malignant behaviors of pancreatic cancer. CD59 is a GPI-anchored membrane protein that prevents complement activation by inhibiting the formation of the membrane attack complex, which may protect cancer cells from complement-dependent cytotoxicity (CDC). The interactions between CD59, TAMs and pancreatic cancer remain largely unknown. A tissue microarray of pancreatic cancer patients was used to evaluate the interrelationship of CD59 and TAMs and their survival impacts were analyzed. In a coculture system, THP-1 cells were used as a model to study the function of TAMs and the roles of pancreatic cancer-educated macrophages in regulating the expression of CD59 in pancreatic cancer cells were demonstrated by real-time PCR, western blot and immunofluorescence staining. The effects of macrophages on regulating CDC in pancreatic cancer cells were demonstrated by an in vitro study. To explore the potential mechanisms, RNA sequencing of pancreatic cancer cells with or without co-culture of THP-1 macrophages was performed, and the results showed that the IL-6R/STAT3 signaling pathway might participate in the regulation, which was further demonstrated by target-siRNA transfection, antibody neutralization and STAT3 inhibitors. Our data revealed that the infiltration of TAMs and the expression of CD59 of pancreatic cancer were paralleled, and higher infiltration of TAMs and higher expression of CD59 predicted worse survival of pancreatic cancer patients. Pancreatic cancer-educated macrophages could protect cancer cells from CDC by up-regulating CD59 via the IL-6R/STAT3 signaling pathway. These findings uncovered the novel mechanisms between TAMs and CD59, and contribute to providing a new promising target for the immunotherapy of pancreatic cancer.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
- Cell Biology
- Cancer Research