Glutamine synthetase (GS) generates glutamine from glutamate and controls the release of inflammatory mediators. In macrophages, GS activity, driven by IL10, associates to the acquisition of M2-like functions. Conditional deletion of GS in macrophages inhibits metastasis by boosting the formation of anti-tumor, M1-like, tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs). From this basis, we evaluated the pharmacological potential of GS inhibitors in targeting metastasis, identifying glufosinate as a specific human GS inhibitor. Glufosinate was tested in both cultured macrophages and on mice bearing metastatic lung, skin and breast cancer. We found that glufosinate rewires macrophages toward an M1-like phenotype both at the primary tumor and metastatic site, countering immunosuppression and promoting vessel sprouting. This was also accompanied to a reduction in cancer cell intravasation and extravasation, leading to synchronous and metachronous metastasis growth inhibition, but no effects on primary tumor growth. Glufosinate treatment was well-tolerated, without liver and brain toxicity, nor hematopoietic defects. These results identify GS as a druggable enzyme to rewire macrophage functions and highlight the potential of targeting metabolic checkpoints in macrophages to treat cancer metastasis.

Glufosinate constrains synchronous and metachronous metastasis by promoting anti-tumor macrophages

Mazzone M.
2020-01-01

Abstract

Glutamine synthetase (GS) generates glutamine from glutamate and controls the release of inflammatory mediators. In macrophages, GS activity, driven by IL10, associates to the acquisition of M2-like functions. Conditional deletion of GS in macrophages inhibits metastasis by boosting the formation of anti-tumor, M1-like, tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs). From this basis, we evaluated the pharmacological potential of GS inhibitors in targeting metastasis, identifying glufosinate as a specific human GS inhibitor. Glufosinate was tested in both cultured macrophages and on mice bearing metastatic lung, skin and breast cancer. We found that glufosinate rewires macrophages toward an M1-like phenotype both at the primary tumor and metastatic site, countering immunosuppression and promoting vessel sprouting. This was also accompanied to a reduction in cancer cell intravasation and extravasation, leading to synchronous and metachronous metastasis growth inhibition, but no effects on primary tumor growth. Glufosinate treatment was well-tolerated, without liver and brain toxicity, nor hematopoietic defects. These results identify GS as a druggable enzyme to rewire macrophage functions and highlight the potential of targeting metabolic checkpoints in macrophages to treat cancer metastasis.
2020
glufosinate
glutamine synthetase
immunometabolism
macrophages
metastasis
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11699/83096
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