Development of resistance to chemo- and immunotherapies often occurs following treatment of melanoma brain metastasis (MBM). The brain microenvironment (BME), particularly astrocytes, cooperate toward MBM progression by upregulating secreted factors, among which we found that monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) and its receptors, CCR2 and CCR4, were overexpressed in MBM compared with primary lesions. Among other sources of MCP-1 in the brain, we show that melanoma cells altered astrocyte secretome and evoked MCP-1 expression and secretion, which in turn induced CCR2 expression in melanoma cells, enhancing in vitro tumorigenic properties, such as proliferation, migration, and invasion of melanoma cells. In vivo pharmacological blockade of MCP-1 or molecular knockout of CCR2/CCR4 increased the infiltration of cytotoxic CD8+ T cells and attenuated the immunosuppressive phenotype of the BME as shown by decreased infiltration of Tregs and tumor-associated macrophages/microglia in several models of intracranially injected MBM. These in vivo strategies led to decreased MBM outgrowth and prolonged the overall survival of the mice. Our findings highlight the therapeutic potential of inhibiting interactions between BME and melanoma cells for the treatment of this disease.
Sabina Pozzi, Anna Scomparin, Dikla Ben-Shushan, Eilam Yeini, Paula Ofek, Alessio D. Nahmad, Shelly Soffer, Ariel Ionescu, Antonella Ruggiero, Adi Barzel, Henry Brem, Thomas M. Hyde, Iris Barshack, Sanju Sinha, Eytan Ruppin, Tomer Weiss, Asaf Madi, Eran Perlson, Inna Slutsky, Helena F. Florindo, Ronit Satchi-Fainaro