Cancer-associated hypersialylated MUC1 drives the differentiation of human monocytes into macrophages with a pathogenic phenotype

Richard Beatson*, Rosalind Graham, Fabio Grundland Freile, Domenico Cozzetto, Shichina Kannambath, Ester Pfeifer, Natalie Woodman, Julie Owen, Rosamond Nuamah, Ulla Mandel, Sarah Pinder, Cheryl Gillett, Thomas Noll, Ihssane Bouybayoune, Joyce Taylor-Papadimitriou, Joy M. Burchell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

The tumour microenvironment plays a crucial role in the growth and progression of cancer, and the presence of tumour-associated macrophages (TAMs) is associated with poor prognosis. Recent studies have demonstrated that TAMs display transcriptomic, phenotypic, functional and geographical diversity. Here we show that a sialylated tumour-associated glycoform of the mucin MUC1, MUC1-ST, through the engagement of Siglec-9 can specifically and independently induce the differentiation of monocytes into TAMs with a unique phenotype that to the best of our knowledge has not previously been described. These TAMs can recruit and prolong the lifespan of neutrophils, inhibit the function of T cells, degrade basement membrane allowing for invasion, are inefficient at phagocytosis, and can induce plasma clotting. This macrophage phenotype is enriched in the stroma at the edge of breast cancer nests and their presence is associated with poor prognosis in breast cancer patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article number644
JournalCommunications Biology
Volume3
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020

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