Clinical cancer research : an official journal of the American Association for Cancer Research

Clever-1/stabilin-1 controls cancer growth and metastasis.

PMID 25320356


Immunosuppressive leukocytes and vasculature are important host cell components regulating tumor progression. Clever-1/Stabilin-1, a multifunctional scavenger and adhesion receptor, is constitutively present on a subset of type II macrophages and lymphatic endothelium, but its functional role in cancer is unknown. Here, we generated full Clever-1 knockout mice and cell-specific ones lacking Clever-1 either on macrophages or endothelium. We also used anti-Clever-1 antibody therapy to treat B16 melanoma and EL-4 lymphoma. Clever-1-deficient mice had smaller primary and metastatic tumors than wild-type (WT) controls. Growth of primary tumors, but not of metastases, was attenuated also in mice lacking Clever-1 selectively in macrophages or in vascular endothelium. Anti-Clever-1 antibody treatment inhibited tumor progression in WT mice. Both genetically and therapeutically induced absence of functional Clever-1 led to diminished numbers of immunosuppressive leukocyte types in tumors. Functionally Clever-1 mediated binding of immunosuppressive leukocytes to the intratumoral blood vessels aberrantly expressing Clever-1, and tumor cell traffic via the lymphatics. The antibody therapy did not aggravate autoimmunity. This work identifies Clever-1 in type II macrophages and in tumor vasculature as a new immunosuppressive molecule in cancer. Our finding that Clever-1 supports binding of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes to tumor vasculature increases our understanding of leukocyte immigration to tumors. The ability of anti-Clever-1 antibody treatment to attenuate tumor progression in WT mice in vivo is therapeutically relevant. Thus, Clever-1 may be an emerging new target for modulating immune evasion and lymphatic spread in cancer.