Background & aims: Cells of the monocyte lineage contribute to tumor angiogenesis. Interleukin 35 (IL35) is a member of the IL12 family produced by regulatory, but not effector, T cells. IL35 is a dimer comprising the IL12 alpha and IL27 beta chains, encoded by IL12A and EBI3, respectively. Expression of IL35 is increased in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas (PDACs) compared with normal pancreatic tissues, and promotes metastasis. We investigated the role of IL35 in monocyte-induced angiogenesis of PDAC in mice.
Methods: We measured levels of IL35 protein, microvessel density, and numbers of monocytes in 123 sequential PDAC tissues from patients who underwent surgery in China in 2010. We performed studies with the human PDAC cell lines CFPAC-1, BxPC-3, Panc-1, MIA-PaCa-2, and mouse PDAC cell line Pan02. Monocyte subsets were isolated by flow cytometry from human peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Fused human or mouse IL12A and EBI3 genes were overexpressed in PDAC cells or knocked down using small hairpin RNAs. Cells were grown as xenograft tumors in SCID mice; some mice were given injections of an IL35-neutralizing antibody and tumor growth was monitored. We performed chemotaxis assays to measure the ability of IL35 to recruit monocytes. We analyzed mRNA sequences of 179 PDACs in the Cancer Genome Atlas to identify correlations between expression of IL12A and EBI3 and monocyte markers. Monocytes incubated with IL35 or PDAC cell supernatants were analyzed in tube formation and endothelial migration assays.
Results: In PDAC samples from patients, levels of IL35 mRNA and protein correlated with microvessel density and infiltration of monocyte lineage cells. In cells and mice with xenograft tumors, IL35 increased recruitment of monocytes into PDAC tumors, which required CCL5. Upon exposure to IL35, monocytes increased expression of genes whose products promote angiogenesis (CXCL1 and CXCL8). IL35 activated transcription of CCL5, CXCL1, and CXCL8 by inducing GP130 signaling, via IL12RB2 and phosphorylation of STAT1 and STAT4. A combination of a neutralizing antibody against IL35 and gemcitabine significantly decreased monocyte infiltration, microvessel density, and volume of xenograft tumors grown from PDAC cells in mice.
Conclusions: PDAC cells produce IL35 to recruit monocytes via CCL5 and induce macrophage to promote angiogenesis via expression of CXCL1 and CXCL8. IL35 signaling promotes angiogenesis and growth of xenograft tumors from PDAC cells in mice. IL35 might serve as a therapeutic target for patients with pancreatic cancer.
Keywords: Anti-tumor Immune Response; Immune Cell Migration; Infiltration; Tumor Progression.
Copyright © 2018. Published by Elsevier Inc.