Macrophages orchestrate the expansion of a proangiogenic perivascular niche during cancer progression

Sci Adv. 2021 Nov 5;7(45):eabg9518. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.abg9518. Epub 2021 Nov 3.


Tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) are a highly plastic stromal cell type that support cancer progression. Using single-cell RNA sequencing of TAMs from a spontaneous murine model of mammary adenocarcinoma (MMTV-PyMT), we characterize a subset of these cells expressing lymphatic vessel endothelial hyaluronic acid receptor 1 (Lyve-1) that spatially reside proximal to blood vasculature. We demonstrate that Lyve-1+ TAMs support tumor growth and identify a pivotal role for these cells in maintaining a population of perivascular mesenchymal cells that express α-smooth muscle actin and phenotypically resemble pericytes. Using photolabeling techniques, we show that mesenchymal cells maintain their prevalence in the growing tumor through proliferation and uncover a role for Lyve-1+ TAMs in orchestrating a selective platelet-derived growth factor–CC–dependent expansion of the perivascular mesenchymal population, creating a proangiogenic niche. This study highlights the inter-reliance of the immune and nonimmune stromal network that supports cancer progression and provides therapeutic opportunities for tackling the disease.