Cancer associated fibroblasts have phenotypic and functional characteristics similar to the fibrocytes that represent a novel MDSC subset


ONCOIMMUNOLOGY, vol.4, no.9, 2015 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 4 Issue: 9
  • Publication Date: 2015
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/2162402x.2015.1034918
  • Title of Journal : ONCOIMMUNOLOGY
  • Keywords: breast cancer, chemical carcinogenesis, fibroblast, T cell, tumor immunity, SUPPRESSOR-CELLS, IN-VIVO, STROMAL CELLS, T-CELLS, SURFACE EXPRESSION, DENDRITIC CELLS, MYELOID CELLS, TUMOR-GROWTH, STEM-CELLS, RAT


Circulating fibrocytes were reported to represent a novel myeloid-derived suppressor cell (MDSC) subset and they were also proposed to be involved in the tumor immune escape. This novel fibrocyte subset had a surface phenotype resembling non-monocytic MDSCs (CD14(-)CD11c(hi)CD123(-)) and exhibited immunomodulatory roles. Most effector functions of fibrocytes (circulating fibroblast-progenitors) are accomplished as tissue fibroblasts, likewise in the tumor microenvironment. Therefore, fibroblasts at tumor tissues should be evaluated whether they display similar molecular/gene expression patterns and functional roles to the blood-borne fibrocytes. A chemically induced rat breast carcinogenesis model was utilized to obtain cancer associated fibroblasts (CAFs). CAFs and normal tissue fibroblasts (NFs) were isolated from cancerous and healthy breast tissues, respectively, using a previously described enzymatic protocol. Both CAFs and NFs were analyzed for cell surface phenotypes by flow cytometry and for gene expression profiles by gene set enrichment analysis (GSEA). PBMCs were cocultured with either NFs or CAFs and proliferations of PBMCs were assessed by CFSE assays. Morphological analyses were performed by immunocytochemistry stainings with vimentin. CAFs were spindle shaped cells unlike their blood-borne counterparts. They did not express CD80 and their MHC-II expression was lower than NFs. Although CAFs expressed the myeloid marker CD11b/c, its expression was lower than that on the circulating fibrocytes. CAFs did not express granulocytic/neutrophilic markers and they seemed to have developed in an environment containing T(HELPER)2-like cytokines. They also showed immunosuppressive effects similar to their blood-borne counterparts. In summary, CAFs showed similar phenotypic and functional characteristics to the circulating fibrocytes that were reported to represent a unique MDSC subset.