Unveiling the role of neutrophils in lung cancer progression

Lung cancer remains a leading global health concern, responsible for the highest number of cancer-related deaths worldwide. Central to its development is the tumor microenvironment, which involves a complex interplay with immune cells such as neutrophils. Initially perceived as beneficial due to their anti-tumor activities in early cancer stages, neutrophils are now understood to play a dual role, potentially enhancing cancer metastasis under the influence of the tumor surroundings.

A pioneering study (DOI: 10.20892/j.issn.2095-3941.2023.0248) from Xuzhou Medical University, detailed in the February 2024 issue of Cancer Biology & Medicine, unveils a novel mechanism by which neutrophils accelerate lung cancer progression. This research underscores the pivotal function of neutrophils—typically the first responders to inflammation—as they assume pro-tumoral roles within the cancer microenvironment, thereby significantly influencing the dynamics of cancer metastasis.

The investigation explores the roles of PARP-1/Alox5/MMP9 axis in regulating lung cancer-associated neutrophil activation and thus promoting lung cancer progression. Activated by lung cancer cells, neutrophils engage PARP-1, which subsequently collaborates with another protein, ALOX5. This interaction is crucial as it boosts the production of MMP-9, an enzyme vital for degrading tissue structures and promoting cancer invasion and metastasis. Through techniques such as immunohistochemistry, the study examines neutrophil infiltration in lung cancer tissues and employs in vitro assays to analyze their impact on lung cancer cell behaviors. Gene knockdown and pharmacological inhibition of PARP-1 further elucidate its role in this process. Supported by validation in mouse models, the results indicate that blocking PARP-1 could markedly reduce tumor growth, illuminating the complex relationship between the immune system and cancer while pinpointing synergistic inhibition of PARP-1 could be benefit for lung cancer treatment.

This research not only enhances our comprehension of the biological interactions between lung cancer cells and neutrophils but also paves the way for new targeted therapies that could interrupt these interactions and potentially elevate patients' outcomes."

Dr. Junnian Zheng, lead author of the study

These findings have significant implications, suggesting that targeting the PARP-1-ALOX5-MMP-9 pathway might be a promising approach to suppress the tumor-favoring activities of neutrophils in lung cancer. This strategy could lead to innovative therapies that slow lung cancer progression and bolster the effectiveness of current treatments.

Journal reference:

Han, L., et al. (2024). Cancer-educated neutrophils promote lung cancer progression via PARP-1-ALOX5-mediated MMP-9 expression. Cancer Biology & Medicine. doi.org/10.20892/j.issn.2095-3941.2023.0248.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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