Cyclooxygenase-2 in tumor-associated macrophages promotes breast cancer cell survival by triggering a positive-feedback loop between macrophages and cancer cells.

Oncotarget

PubMedID: 26359357

Li H, Yang B, Huang J, Lin Y, Xiang T, Wan J, Li H, Chouaib S, Ren G. Cyclooxygenase-2 in tumor-associated macrophages promotes breast cancer cell survival by triggering a positive-feedback loop between macrophages and cancer cells. Oncotarget. 2015;.
Tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) play an important role in cancer cell survival, however, the mechanism of which remains elusive. In this study, we found that COX-2 was abundantly expressed in breast TAMs, which was correlated to poor prognosis in breast cancer patients. Ectopic over-expression of COX-2 in TAMs enhanced breast cancer cell survival both in vitro and in vivo. COX-2 in TAMs was determined to be essential for the induction and maintenance of M2-phenotype macrophage polarity. COX-2+ TAMs promoted breast cancer cell proliferation and survival by increasing Bcl-2 and P-gp and decreasing Bax in cancer cells. Furthermore, COX-2 in TAMs induced the expression of COX-2 in breast cancer cells, which in turn promoted M2 macrophage polarization. Inhibiting PI3K/Akt pathway in cancer cells suppressed COX-2+ TAMs-induced cancer cell survival. These findings suggest that COX-2, functions as a key cancer promoting factor by triggering a positive-feedback loop between macrophages and cancer cells, which could be exploited for breast cancer prevention and therapy.