Cellular signalling

GRP78 plays an integral role in tumor cell inflammation-related migration induced by M2 macrophages.

PMID 28629783


Macrophages are the main immune-competent cells that infiltrate in tumors. Tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs), termed M2 macrophages, facilitate tumor progress and promote metastasis. However, M2 macrophages always display an immunosuppressive phenotype, which is not in accordance with the tumor inflammatory microenvironment and inflammation-related metastasis. In this study, we established a macrophage polarization model with human monocytes and found that the conditioned medium from M2 macrophages increased GRP78 expression in tumor cells and facilitated tumor cell migration. Mechanistically, excessive GRP78 formed a protein complex with STAT3 and JAK2 to promote STAT3 phosphorylation. Furthermore, p-STAT3 facilitated the high expression of inflammatory factors IL-1β and TNF-α in tumor cells, which was important in M2 macrophage-induced metastasis. The present data demonstrate that M2 macrophages elevate tumor cell GRP78 expression to trigger an inflammatory response, which further facilitates tumor metastasis. Therefore, our study not only uncovered a new cause of GRP78 overexpression in tumor cell, but also, explained the antinomy of TAMs immunosuppressive properties and inflammation-related tumor metastasis.