Purpose: To determine the role of macrophage polarization on the response of inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) cells to radiation and whether modulation of macrophage plasticity can alter radiation response.
Methods and materials: The human THP-1 monocyte cell line and primary human monocytes isolated from peripheral blood mononuclear cells were differentiated into macrophages and polarized to either an "antitumor" (M1) or a "protumor" (M2) phenotype. These polarized macrophages were co-cultured with IBC cells (SUM149, KPL4, MDA-IBC3, or SUM190) without direct contact for 24 hours, then subjected to irradiation (0, 2, 4, or 6 Gy). Interleukin (IL)4/IL13-induced activation of STAT6 signaling was measured by Western blotting of phospho-STAT6 (Tyr641), and expression of M2 polarization gene markers (CD206, fibronectin, and CCL22) was measured by quantitative polymerase chain reaction.
Results: Expression of M2 polarization markers was higher in M2-polarized macrophages after IL4/IL13 treatment than in control (M0) or M1-polarized macrophages. Co-culture of IBC cell lines with M1-polarized THP-1 macrophages mediated radiosensitivity of IBC cells, whereas co-culture with M2-polarized macrophages mediated radioresistance. Phosphopeptide mimetic PM37, targeting the SH2 domain of STAT6, prevented and reversed IL4/IL13-mediated STAT6 phosphorylation (Tyr641) and decreased the expression of M2 polarization markers. Pretreatment of M2-THP1 macrophages with PM37 reduced the radioresistance they induced in IBC cells after co-culture. Targeted proteomics analysis of IBC KPL4 cells using a kinase antibody array revealed induction of protein kinase C zeta (PRKCZ) in these cells only after co-culture with M2-THP1 macrophages, which was prevented by PM37 pretreatment. KPL4 cells with stable short hairpin RNA knockdown of PRKCZ exhibited lower radioresistance after M2-THP1 co-culture.
Conclusions: These data suggest that inhibition of M2 polarization of macrophages by PM37 can prevent radioresistance of IBC by down-regulating PRKCZ.
Copyright © 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.