Activation of hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells promotes immunosuppression within the pre-metastatic niche

Amber Jin Giles, Caitlin Marie Reid, Justin De Wayne Evans, Meera Murgai, Yorleny Vicioso, Steven Lorenz Highfill, Miki Kasai, Linda Vahdat, Crystal Lee Mackall, David Lyden, Leonard Wexler, Rosandra Natasha Kaplan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


Metastatic tumors have been shown to establish microenvironments in distant tissues that are permissive to disseminated tumor cells. Hematopoietic cells contribute to this microenvironment, yet the precise initiating events responsible for establishing the pre-metastatic niche remain unclear. Here, we tracked the developmental fate of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPC) in tumor-bearing mice. We show that a distant primary tumor drives the expansion of HSPCs within the bone marrow and their mobilization to the bloodstream. Treatment of purified HSPCs cultured ex vivo with tumor-conditioned media induced their proliferation as well as their differentiation into immunosuppressive myeloid cells. We furthered tracked purified HSPCs in vivo and found they differentiated into myeloid-derived suppressor cells in early metastatic sites of tumor-bearing mice. The number of CD11b+Ly6g+ cells in metastatic sites was significantly increased by HSPC mobilization and decreased if tumormediated mobilization was inhibited. Moreover, pharmacologic mobilization of HSPCs increased metastasis, whereas depletion of Gr1+ cells abrogated the metastasis-promoting effects of HSPC mobilization. Finally, we detected elevated levels of HSPCs in the circulation of newly diagnosed cancer patients, which correlated with increased risk for metastatic progression. Taken together, our results highlight bone marrow activation as one of the earliest steps of the metastatic process and identify circulating HSPCs as potential clinical indicators of metastatic niche formation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1335-1347
Number of pages13
JournalCancer Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 15 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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