Collectin-11 (CL-11) is a recently described soluble C-type lectin that has distinct roles in embryonic development, host defence, autoimmunity, and fibrosis. Here we report that CL-11 also plays an important role in cancer cell proliferation and tumor growth. Melanoma growth was found to be suppressed in Colec11–/– mice in a s.c. B16 melanoma model. Cellular and molecular analyses revealed that CL-11 is essential for melanoma cell proliferation, angiogenesis, establishment of more immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment, and the reprogramming of macrophages to M2 phenotype within melanomas. In vitro analysis revealed that CL-11 can activate tyrosine kinase receptors (EGFR, HER3) and ERK, JNK, and AKT signaling pathways and has a direct stimulatory effect on murine melanoma cell proliferation. Furthermore, blockade of CL-11 (treatment with L-fucose) inhibited melanoma growth in mice. Analysis of open data sets revealed that COLEC11 gene expression is upregulated in human melanomas and that high COLEC11 expression has a trend toward poor survival. CL-11 also had direct stimulatory effects on human tumor cell proliferation in melanoma and several other types of cancer cells in vitro. Overall, our findings provide the first evidence to our knowledge that CL-11 is a key tumor growth–promoting protein and a promising therapeutic target in tumor growth.
Jia-Xing Wang, Bo Cao, Ning Ma, Kun-Yi Wu, Wan-Bing Chen, Weiju Wu, Xia Dong, Cheng-Fei Liu, Ya-Feng Gao, Teng-Yue Diao, Xiao-Yun Min, Qing Yong, Zong-Fang Li, Wuding Zhou, Ke Li