[Background] Angiogenesis is essential for malignant progression of cancer. Over the last couple of decades, it was highlighted that the progenitor cells derived from bone marrow (BM) differentiated, became part of the tumor stroma, and involved in tumor angiogenesis. In particular, macrophages, which differentiated into tumor-associated macrophages in tumor microenvironment, are known to play crucial roles in tumor angiogenesis. However, the specific molecules and markers of these “angiogenesis-supporting macrophages” have not been fully defined (Qian and Pollard, Cell. 2010). N-myc downstream regulated gene 1 (NDRG1), a gene responsible for a hereditary motor and sensory neuropathy (Lon-Charcot-Marie disease), plays pleiotropic roles in cell proliferation, development, differentiation, and tumorigenesis. We have previously reported that NDRG1 expression levels in cancer cells were closely correlated with tumor angiogenesis (Maruyama et al., Cancer Res. 2006; Hosoi et al., Cancer Res. 2009; Ureshino et al., PLoS One. 2012; Murakami et al., J Biol Chem. 2013). However, how NDRG1 could affect tumor angiogenesis remains unclear. In this study, we asked how NDRG1 could specifically modulate tumor angiogenesis through its differentiation control of macrophage lineage cells by using NDRG1 knock out (KO) mice.

[Material and methods] NDRG1 KO mice: The NDRG1 KO mice on C57BL6 background have been kindly donated by Dr. Toshiyuki Miyata (National Cerebral and Cardiovascular Center) (Okuda et al., Mol Cell Biol., 2004). Preparation of BM derived macrophages (BMDMs): BMDMs were obtained by flushing mouse femurs from mice. Cells were seeded in dishes and washed twice 3 hours later. Adherent cells were incubated in DMEM supplemented with 10% FBS and 20ng/ml M-CSF for 7 days. Matrigel plug assay in BM suppression mice: wild type (WT) recipient mice were exposed to 3-Gy sublethal whole-body irradiation to suppress BM and temporarily deplete leukocytes. Seven days after the irradiation, the mice were injected subcutaneously with growth factor-reduced Matrigel containing B16/BL6 cells, with or without BMDMs from WT or NDRG1 KO mice.

[Results] In NDRG1 KO mice as compared to their WT counterparts, [1] serum levels of M-CSF and macrophage-related cytokines were all decreased, and BM cells showed much slower growth rates in response to M-CSF in vitro; [2] trabecular bone mass and number of osteoclasts were decreased in vivo; [3] tumor growth and angiogenesis were markedly suppressed, accompanying by decreased infiltration of tumor-associated macrophages; [4] the transfer of BMDMs from KO mice into BM-eradicated WT mice induced much less tumor angiogenesis than observed in WT mice; [5] VEGF-A expression in BMDMs from KO mice were much less than those in cells from WT mice when stimulated by LPS or IL-1β.

[Conclusion] We discovered the central role of NDRG1 in differentiation of macrophage lineage cells, which affected bone remodeling and tumor angiogenesis. We will discuss which molecules are specifically regulated by NDRG1 during differentiation processes of monocytes/macrophages into angiogenesis-supporting macrophages, and whether these molecules in macrophages could have potentially important target for anti-angiogenesis cancer therapeutics.

Citation Format: Kosuke Watari, Tomohiro Shibata, Hiroshi Nabeshima, Ai Shinoda, Yuichi Fukunaga, Akihiko Kawahara, Kazuyuki Karasuyama, Jun-ichi Fukushi, Yuichi Murakami, Michihiko Kuwano, Mayumi Ono. Novel anti-angiogenic cancer therapeutic strategy by targeting differentiated macrophage lineage cells through N-myc downstream regulated gene 1 (NDRG1). [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the AACR-NCI-EORTC International Conference: Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics; 2015 Nov 5-9; Boston, MA. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Mol Cancer Ther 2015;14(12 Suppl 2):Abstract nr B199.