Objectives: The role of tumor-associated neutrophils (TANs) in the nodal spread of cancer cells remains unexplored. The present study evaluates the occurrence and clinical significance of human nodal TANs.Methods: The relevance, derivation, phenotype and interactions of nodal TANs were explored via a large immunohistochemical analysis of carcinoma-draining lymph nodes, and their clinical significance was evaluated on a retrospective cohort of oral squamous cell carcinomas (OSCC). The tumor-promoting function of nodal TAN was probed in the OSCC TCGA dataset combining TAN and epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) signatures.Results: The pan-carcinoma screening identified a consistent infiltration (59%) of CD66b+TANs in tumor-draining lymph nodes (TDLNs). Microscopic findings, including the occurrence of intra-lymphatic conjugates of TANs and cancer cells, indicate that TANs migrate through lymphatic vessels. In vitro experiments revealed that OSCC cell lines sustain neutrophil viability and activation via release of GM-CSF. Moreover, by retrospective analysis, a high CD66b+ TAN density in M-TDLNs of OSCC (n=182 patients) predicted a worse prognosis. The analysis of the OSCC-TCGA dataset unveiled that the expression of a set of neutrophil-specific genes in the primary tumor (PT) is highly associated with an EMT signature, which predicts nodal spread. Accordingly, in the PT of OSCC cases, CD66b+TANs co-localised with PDPN+S100A9- EMT-switched tumor cells in areas of lymphangiogenesis. The pro-EMT signature is lacking in peripheral blood neutrophils from OSCC patients, suggesting tissue skewing of TANs.Conclusion: Our findings are consistent with a novel pro-tumoral TAN compartment that may promote nodal spread via EMT, through the lymphatics.

Tumor-associated neutrophils (TANs) in human carcinoma-draining lymph nodes: a novel TAN compartment

Marini, Olivia;Tamassia, Nicola;Gardiman, Elisa;Cassatella, Marco A;Scapini, Patrizia;Vermi, William
2021-01-01

Abstract

Objectives: The role of tumor-associated neutrophils (TANs) in the nodal spread of cancer cells remains unexplored. The present study evaluates the occurrence and clinical significance of human nodal TANs.Methods: The relevance, derivation, phenotype and interactions of nodal TANs were explored via a large immunohistochemical analysis of carcinoma-draining lymph nodes, and their clinical significance was evaluated on a retrospective cohort of oral squamous cell carcinomas (OSCC). The tumor-promoting function of nodal TAN was probed in the OSCC TCGA dataset combining TAN and epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) signatures.Results: The pan-carcinoma screening identified a consistent infiltration (59%) of CD66b+TANs in tumor-draining lymph nodes (TDLNs). Microscopic findings, including the occurrence of intra-lymphatic conjugates of TANs and cancer cells, indicate that TANs migrate through lymphatic vessels. In vitro experiments revealed that OSCC cell lines sustain neutrophil viability and activation via release of GM-CSF. Moreover, by retrospective analysis, a high CD66b+ TAN density in M-TDLNs of OSCC (n=182 patients) predicted a worse prognosis. The analysis of the OSCC-TCGA dataset unveiled that the expression of a set of neutrophil-specific genes in the primary tumor (PT) is highly associated with an EMT signature, which predicts nodal spread. Accordingly, in the PT of OSCC cases, CD66b+TANs co-localised with PDPN+S100A9- EMT-switched tumor cells in areas of lymphangiogenesis. The pro-EMT signature is lacking in peripheral blood neutrophils from OSCC patients, suggesting tissue skewing of TANs.Conclusion: Our findings are consistent with a novel pro-tumoral TAN compartment that may promote nodal spread via EMT, through the lymphatics.
carcinoma
epithelial‐to‐mesenchymal transition
lymph nodes
metastasis
tumor‐associated neutrophils
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11562/1038546
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