Monoacylglycerol lipase deficiency in the tumor microenvironment slows tumor growth in non-small cell lung cancer

Oncoimmunology. 2021 Sep 11;10(1):1965319. doi: 10.1080/2162402X.2021.1965319. eCollection 2021.


Monoacylglycerol lipase (MGL) expressed in cancer cells influences cancer pathogenesis but the role of MGL in the tumor microenvironment (TME) is less known. Using a syngeneic tumor model with KP cells (KrasLSL-G12D/p53fl/fl; from mouse lung adenocarcinoma), we investigated whether TME-expressed MGL plays a role in tumor growth of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). In sections of human and experimental NSCLC, MGL was found in tumor cells and various cells of the TME including macrophages and stromal cells. Mice treated with the MGL inhibitor JZL184 as well as MGL knock-out (KO) mice exhibited a lower tumor burden than the controls. The reduction in tumor growth was accompanied by an increased number of CD8+ T cells and eosinophils. Naïve CD8+ T cells showed a shift toward more effector cells in MGL KOs and an increased expression of granzyme-B and interferon-γ, indicative of enhanced tumoricidal activity. 2-arachidonoyl glycerol (2-AG) was increased in tumors of MGL KO mice, and dose-dependently induced differentiation and migration of CD8+ T cells as well as migration and activation of eosinophils in vitro. Our results suggest that next to cancer cell-derived MGL, TME cells expressing MGL are responsible for maintaining a pro-tumorigenic environment in tumors of NSCLC.

Keywords: 2-AG; CD8+ T cells; Endocannabinoid; cannabinoid receptors; immune cells; lung cancer; monoacylglycerol lipase.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung*
  • Lung Neoplasms*
  • Mice
  • Monoacylglycerol Lipases / genetics
  • Monoglycerides
  • Tumor Microenvironment


  • Monoglycerides
  • Monoacylglycerol Lipases