Early clinical studies suggested that infiltrating mast cells could be associated with a poor outcome in bladder cancer (BCa) patients. The mechanisms of how mast cells influence the BCa progression, however, are unclear. Using the human clinical BCa sample survey and in vitro co-culture systems, we found BCa cells c ould recruit more mast cells than the surrounding non-malignant urothelial cells. The consequences of this better recruitment of mast cells toward BCa cells could then enhance BCa cell invasion. Mechanism dissection revealed that the enhanced BCa cell invasion could function via up-regulation of the estrogen receptor beta (ERβ) in both mast cells and BCa cells, which resulted in the increased CCL2/CCR2/EMT/MMP9 signals. Using the pre-clinical mouse BCa model, we further validated the mast cell-promoted BCa invasion. Interruption of the newly identified ERβ/CCL2/CCR2/EMT/MMP9 pathway via either ERβ-siRNA, ERβ antagonist PHTPP, or CCR2 antagonist can effectively reverse the mast cell-enhanced BCa cells invasion. Together, our finding could lead to the development of an alternative new therapeutic approach to better treat BCa metastasis.
Rao, Q., Chen, Y., Yeh, C.-R., Ding, J., Li, L., Chang, C., & Yeh, S. (2015). Recruited mast cells in the tumor microenvironment enhance bladder cancer metastasis via modulation of ERβ/CCL2/CCR2 EMT/MMP9 signals. Oncotarget, 7(7). https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.5467