Accumulating evidence suggests that high levels of Fusobacterium nucleatum (F. nucleatum) in colorectal tumor tissues can be associated with poor prognosis in patients with colorectal cancer (CRC); however, data regarding distinct prognostic subgroups in F. nucleatum-positive CRC remain limited. Herein, we demonstrated that high iron status was associated with a worse prognosis in CRC patients with F. nucleatum. Patients with CRC presenting elevated serum transferrin saturation exhibited preferential iron deposition in macrophages in the tumor microenvironment. In addition, F. nucleatum induced CCL8 expression in macrophages via the Toll-like receptor 4–nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) signaling pathway, which was inhibited by iron deficiency. Mechanistically, iron attenuated the inhibitory phosphorylation of NF-κB p65 by activating serine/threonine phosphatases, augmenting tumor-promoting chemokine production in macrophages. Our observations indicate a key role for iron in modulating the NF-κB signaling pathway and suggest its prognostic potential as a determining factor for inter-patient heterogeneity in F. nucleatum-positive CRC.
Taishi Yamane, Yohei Kanamori, Hiroshi Sawayama, Hiromu Yano, Akihiro Nita, Yudai Ohta, Hironori Hinokuma, Ayato Maeda, Akiko Iwai, Takashi Matsumoto, Mayuko Shimoda, Mayumi Niimura, Shingo Usuki, Noriko Yasuda-Yoshihara, Masato Niwa, Yoshifumi Baba, Takatsugu Ishimoto, Yoshihiro Komohara, Tomohiro Sawa, Tasuku Hirayama, Hideo Baba, Toshiro Moroishi