The underlying molecular mechanisms that cause immune cells, mediators of our defense system, to promote tumor invasion and angiogenesis remain incompletely understood. Constitutively activated Stat3 in tumor cells has been shown to promote tumor invasion and angiogenesis. Therefore, we sought to determine whether Stat3 activation in tumor-associated inflammatory cells has a similar function. We found that Stat3 signaling mediates multidirectional crosstalk among tumor cells, myeloid cells in the tumor stroma, and ECs that contributes to tumor angiogenesis in mice. Myeloid-derived suppressor cells and macrophages isolated from mouse tumors displayed activated Stat3 and induced angiogenesis in an in vitro tube formation assay via Stat3 induction of angiogenic factors, including VEGF and bFGF. Stat3-regulated factors produced by both tumor cells and tumor-derived myeloid cells also induced constitutive activation of Stat3 in tumor endothelium, and inhibiting Stat3 in ECs substantially reduced in vitro tumor factor–induced endothelial migration and tube formation. In vivo assays demonstrated the requirement for Stat3 signaling in tumor-associated myeloid cells for tumor angiogenesis. Our results indicate that, by virtue of the ability of Stat3 in tumor cells and tumor-derived myeloid cells to upregulate expression of factors that activate Stat3 in ECs, Stat3 mediates multidirectional crosstalk among tumor cells, tumor-associated myeloid cells, and ECs that contributes to tumor angiogenesis.
Maciej Kujawski, Marcin Kortylewski, Heehyoung Lee, Andreas Herrmann, Heidi Kay, Hua Yu