Patrolling monocytes control tumor metastasis to the lung

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  20 Nov 2015:
Vol. 350, Issue 6263, pp. 985-990
DOI: 10.1126/science.aac9407

Monocytes block tumor access to the lung

Metastatic cancer is especially hard to treat. In order to find potential new therapeutic targets, scientists are trying to understand the cellular events that promote or prevent metastasis. Hanna et al. now report a role for patrolling monocytes in blocking tumor metastasis to the lungs in mice. Tumors in mice engineered to lack patrolling monocytes showed increased metastasis to the lung but not to other tissues. Patrolling monocytes resided in the microvasculature of the lung, where they engulfed tumor material, which may explain how these cells prevent tumors from colonizing the lung.

Science, this issue p. 985


The immune system plays an important role in regulating tumor growth and metastasis. Classical monocytes promote tumorigenesis and cancer metastasis, but how nonclassical “patrolling” monocytes (PMo) interact with tumors is unknown. Here we show that PMo are enriched in the microvasculature of the lung and reduce tumor metastasis to lung in multiple mouse metastatic tumor models. Nr4a1-deficient mice, which specifically lack PMo, showed increased lung metastasis in vivo. Transfer of Nr4a1-proficient PMo into Nr4a1-deficient mice prevented tumor invasion in the lung. PMo established early interactions with metastasizing tumor cells, scavenged tumor material from the lung vasculature, and promoted natural killer cell recruitment and activation. Thus, PMo contribute to cancer immunosurveillance and may be targets for cancer immunotherapy.

View Full Text

Stay Connected to Science