Inhibition of RSPO-LGR4 facilitates checkpoint blockade therapy by switching macrophage polarization | Academic Article individual record

2018 American Association for Cancer Research. Therapies targeting immune checkpoints have shown great clinical potential in a subset of patients with cancer but may be hampered by a failure to reverse the immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment (TME). As the most abundant immune cells in TME, tumor-associated macrophages (TAM) play nonredundant roles in restricting antitumor immunity. The leucine-rich repeat-containing G-proteincoupled receptor 4 (Lgr4, also known as Gpr48) has been associated with multiple physiologic and pathologic functions. Lgr4 and its ligands R-spondin 14 have been shown to promote the growth and metastasis of tumor cells. However, whether Lgr4 can promote tumor progression by regulating the function of immune cells in the tumor microenvironment remains largely unknown. Here, we demonstrate that Lgr4 promotes macrophage M2 polarization through Rspo/ Lgr4/Erk/Stat3 signaling. Notably, urethane-induced lung carcinogenesis, Lewis lung carcinoma (LLC), and B16F10 melanoma tumors were all markedly reduced in Lgr4fl/flLyz2cre/mice, characterized by fewer protumoral M2 TAMs and increased CD8T lymphocyte infiltration in the TME. Furthermore, LLC tumor growth was greatly depressed when Rspo/Lgr4/Erk/Stat3 signaling was blocked with either the LGR4 extracellular domain or an anti-Rspo1 antibody. Importantly, blocking Rspo-Lgr4 signaling overcame LLC resistance to anti-PD-1 therapy and improved the efficacy of PD-1 immunotherapy against B16F10 melanoma, indicating vital roles of Rspo-Lgr4 in host antitumor immunity and a potential therapeutic target in cancer immunotherapy.

author list (cited authors)
Tan, B., Shi, X., Zhang, J., Qin, J., Zhang, N., Ren, H., ... Liu, M.
publication date
published in