The ability of cancer cells to invade and disseminate can be affected by components of the surrounding microenvironment. To identify dermal components that regulate the growth of epidermal carcinomas, we studied the genetic disease called xeroderma pigmentosum that bears mutations in genes involved in the nucleotide excision repair of DNA. Patients with xeroderma pigmentosum are more prone to develop cutaneous tumors than the general population and their dermal fibroblasts display the features of dermal cancer-associated fibroblasts, which promote the invasion of keratinocytes. Here, we report that 3-dimensional dermal cultures of fibroblasts from healthy donors but not from patients with xeroderma pigmentosum complementation group C express CLEC2A, which is the ligand of the activating NK cell receptor NKp65. A similar loss of CLEC2A was observed in sporadic dermal cancer-associated fibroblasts and upon the culture of fibroblasts with cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma-conditioned medium. Using an innovative 3-dimensional organotypic skin culture model that contain NK cells in addition to fibroblasts and squamous cell carcinoma cells, we unveiled a key role of CLEC2A that orchestrates a crosstalk between fibroblasts and NK cells, thereby leading to the control of squamous cell carcinoma invasion. These findings indicate that CLEC2A-expressing dermal fibroblasts play a major role in immune surveillance of the skin.
Copyright © 2020 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.