Loss of immunosurveillance is a major cause of cancer progression. Here, we demonstrate that gelsolin, a constituent of ejaculate, induces apoptosis of activated lymphocytes in prostate cancer. Gelsolin was highly expressed in prostate cancer cells, and was associated with tumor progression, recurrence, metastasis, and poor prognosis. In vitro, secreted gelsolin inactivated CD4+ T cells by binding to CD37, and induced apoptosis of activated CD8+ T lymphocytes by binding to Fas ligand during cell contact dependent on major histocompatibility complex I. Moreover, secreted gelsolin bound to sortilin, which in turn bound to Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome protein family member 3, thereby enhancing the endocytosis and intracellular transport of essential lipids needed to facilitate tumor growth and expansion. Under normal conditions, gelsolin is a seemingly harmless protein that prevents immune responses in female recipients. In disease states, however, this protein can inhibit immunosurveillance and promote cancer progression.
Keywords: CD37; gelsolin; prostate cancer; sortilin; tumor-infiltrated lymphocytes.