Research ArticleCANCER

Efficient blockade of locally reciprocated tumor-macrophage signaling using a TAM-avid nanotherapy

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Science Advances  22 May 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 21, eaaz8521
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aaz8521

Abstract

Interpreting how multicellular interactions in the tumor affect resistance pathways to BRAF and MEK1/2 MAPK inhibitors (MAPKi) remains a challenge. To investigate this, we profiled global ligand-receptor interactions among tumor and stromal/immune cells from biopsies of MAPK-driven disease. MAPKi increased tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) in some patients, which correlated with poor clinical response, and MAPKi coamplified bidirectional tumor-TAM signaling via receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) including AXL, MERTK, and their ligand GAS6. In xenograft tumors, intravital microscopy simultaneously monitored in situ single-cell activities of multiple kinases downstream of RTKs, revealing MAPKi increased TAMs and enhanced bypass signaling in TAM-proximal tumor cells. As a proof-of-principle strategy to block this signaling, we developed a multi-RTK kinase inhibitor nanoformulation that accumulated in TAMs and delayed disease progression. Thus, bypass signaling can reciprocally amplify across nearby cell types, offering new opportunities for therapeutic design.

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