Chronic kidney disease (CKD) affects kidney cancer patients’ mortality. However, the underlying mechanism remains unknown. M2-like macrophages have pro-tumor functions, also exist in injured kidney, and promote kidney fibrosis. Thus, it is suspected that M2-like macrophages in injured kidney induce the pro-tumor microenvironment leading to kidney cancer progression. We found that M2-like macrophages present in the injured kidney promoted kidney cancer progression and induced resistance to anti-PD1 antibody through its pro-tumor function and inhibition of CD8+ T cell infiltration. RNA-seq revealed Slc7a11 was upregulated in M2-like macrophages. Inhibition of Slc7a11 with sulfasalazine inhibited the pro-tumor function of M2-like macrophages and synergized with anti-PD1 antibody. Moreover, SLC7A11-positive macrophages were associated with poor prognosis among kidney cancer patients. Collectively, this study dissects the characteristic microenvironment in the injured kidney that contributed to kidney cancer progression and anti-PD1 antibody resistance. This insight offers promising combination therapy with anti-PD1 antibody and macrophage targeted therapy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
- Cell Biology
- Cancer Research