Coevolution of tumor cells and adjacent stromal elements is a key feature during tumor progression; however, the precise regulatory mechanisms during this process remain unknown. Here, we show stromal p53 loss enhances oncogenic KrasG12D, but not ErbB2, driven tumorigenesis in murine mammary epithelia. Stroma-specific p53 deletion increases both epithelial and fibroblast proliferation in mammary glands bearing the KrasG12D oncogene in epithelia, while concurrently increasing DNA damage and/or DNA replication stress and decreasing apoptosis in the tumor cells proper. Normal epithelia was not affected by stromal p53 deletion. Tumors with p53-null stroma had a significant decrease in total, cytotoxic, and regulatory T cells; however, there was a significant increase in myeloid-derived suppressor cells, total macrophages, and M2-polarized tumor-associated macrophages, with no impact on angiogenesis or connective tissue deposition. Stroma-specific p53 deletion reprogrammed gene expression in both fibroblasts and adjacent epithelium, with p53 targets and chemokine receptors/chemokine signaling pathways in fibroblasts and DNA replication, DNA damage repair, and apoptosis in epithelia being the most significantly impacted biological processes. A gene cluster in p53-deficient mouse fibroblasts was negatively associated with patient survival when compared with two independent datasets. In summary, stroma-specific p53 loss promotes mammary tumorigenesis in an oncogene-specific manner, influences the tumor immune landscape, and ultimately impacts patient survival.

Implications:

Expression of the p53 tumor suppressor in breast cancer tumor stroma regulates tumorigenesis in an oncogene-specific manner, influences the tumor immune landscape, and ultimately impacts patient survival.

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