Most renal cell carcinoma (RCC) patients die from metastasis or recurrence after the spread of cancer to another organ, but the mechanisms underlying the intravascular survival of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) have not been completely deciphered. Additionally, although elevated plasma C-reactive protein (CRP) levels and thrombocytosis are strongly correlated and both indicate a poor prognosis for RCC patients, the bridge connecting inflammation and coagulation remains poorly understood. To explore the complicated relationship among inflammation, the coagulation system and CTC survival, we obtained viable CTC counts and clinical information from 106 treatment-naïve patients. In addition, we performed RNA sequencing on peripheral blood leukocytes from 21 of these patients. Patients with elevated CRP and fibrinogen (FIB) levels had higher CTC counts than patients with normal levels of these indexes. Each pair of the three variables (CTC count, CRP level and FIB level) was positively correlated. According to transcriptomic analysis of blood leukocytes, the functions of the 257 genes identified as being positively correlated with the CTC count indicated neutrophil extracellular trap (NET) formation. Indeed, gene set enrichment analysis (GSEA) suggested that NET formation or increased levels of NET markers would promote CTC viability. Additionally, the calculated NET score was positively correlated with the plasma FIB concentration, and both of these values were increased in patients with elevated CRP levels. Moreover, immunofluorescence staining showed that NETs were entangled with viable renal cancer cells and that the NET frameworks were decorated with NET-derived tissue factor (TF). Finally, analysis of 533 RCC samples from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) indicated that the NET score and TF value are independent prognostic factors for RCC patients. Collectively, NETs formed by intravascular neutrophils further activate the coagulation system. Both the DNA scaffold sprouted and fibrin net triggered by NETs anchor and shield CTCs from attack. Thus, degrading this framework maybe could destroy the double shelter of CTCs, the pioneers of metastasis.
Frontiers in oncology. 2019 Jun 17*** epublish ***
Li Wen, Liping Guo, Wen Zhang, Yajian Li, Weixing Jiang, Xuebing Di, JianHui Ma, Lin Feng, Kaitai Zhang, Jianzhong Shou
Department of Urinary Surgery, National Cancer Center, National Clinical Research Center for Cancer, Cancer Hospital, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College, Beijing, China., State Key Laboratory of Molecular Oncology, Department of Etiology and Carcinogenesis, National Cancer Center, National Clinical Research Center for Cancer, Cancer Hospital, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College, Beijing, China., Department of Immunology, National Cancer Center, National Clinical Research Center for Cancer, Cancer Hospital, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College, Beijing, China.