Adipocytes affect castration-resistant prostate cancer cells to develop the resistance to cytotoxic action of NK cells with alterations of PD-L1/NKG2D ligand levels in tumor cells

Obesity affects prostate cancer (PCa) progression, and the periprostatic adipose tissue adjacent to the prostate is considered a driving force of disease progression. Adipocytes are the main cell population in adipose tissues and their paracrine role contributes to PCa progression, however its implication in modulating immune reactions remains largely unknown. We investigated the adipocyte role in controlling the susceptibility of castration-resistant PCa (CRPC) cells to the cytotoxic action of natural killer (NK) cells.

Using primary NK cells as the NK cell source, NK cell cytotoxicities to CRPC cells, either control media treated or adipocyte-conditioned media (CM) treated, were tested in lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) release-based assays. The levels of programmed death receptor ligand (PD-L1) and NK group 2D (NKG2D) ligands in adipocyte CM-treated CRPC cells were analyzed in qPCR analyses. Effects of blocking adipocyte action on altering PD-L1/NKG2D ligand levels and the susceptibility of CRPC cells to NK cell cytotoxicity were investigated.

We found NK cell cytotoxicity to CRPC cells decreases when tumor cells are treated with adipocyte CM associated with PD-L1 and NKG2D ligand level alterations. Further, we discovered that the JAK/Stat3 signaling pathway was responsible for the adipocyte CM effect. Two adipokine molecules, IL-6 and leptin, were shown to be important in activation of the JAK/Stat3 signaling in CRPC cells to modulate the PD-L1/NKG2D ligand level alteration. Adding the inhibitors of JAK/Stat3 signaling or neutralizing antibodies of IL-6 or leptin increased the susceptibility of CRPC cells to NK cell action.

Blocking the adipocyte effect by inhibiting the IL-6/leptin-JAK/Stat3 signaling axis may enhance NK cell mediated immunity to CRPC cells and this strategy may help to develop future therapeutics to treat obese PCa patients.

The Prostate. 2018 Jan 12 [Epub ahead of print]

Lijun Xu, Mingjing Shen, Xiaodong Chen, Rongying Zhu, Dong-Rong Yang, Ying Tsai, Peter C Keng, Yuhchyau Chen, Soo Ok Lee

Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, New York., Dep, artment of Urology, The Second Affiliated Hospital of Soochow University, Suzhou, Jiangsu, P.R. China.

email news signup