M2-like macrophages exhibit immunosuppressive activity and promote pancreatic cancer progression. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) affect macrophage polarization; however, the mechanism remains unclear. This study aimed to elucidate the underlying molecular basis and design a gene therapy to inhibit M2-like polarization. Microarray analysis and immunofluorescence staining were performed in M1-like and M2-like macrophages to ascertain the expression of CYBB, a major intracellular ROS source. Coculture assay and syngeneic orthotopic pancreatic cancer mice models were used to study the mechanism of M2-like skewing. Decoy oligodeoxynucleotides (ODNs) were designed to manipulate CYBB transcription to inhibit M2-like polarization and control tumor growth. Lipopolysaccharide treatment polarized U937 cells to M1-like macrophages in which CYBB expression was increased. In contrast, coculture with PANC-1 cells induced M2-like polarization in U937 cells with CYBB downregulation. High CD204 M2-like expression in combination with low CYBB expression was associated with the worst prognosis in patients with pancreatic cancer. STAT6 and HDAC2 in U937 cells were activated by cancer cell–derived IL4 after coculture and then bound to the CYBB promoter to repress CYBB expression, resulting in M2-like polarization. Diphenyleneiodonium, 8λ³-iodatricyclo[7.4.0.02,⁷]trideca-1(13),2,4,6,9,11-hexaen-8-ylium chloride that inhibits ROS production could block this action. Knockdown of STAT6 and HDAC2 also inhibited M2-like polarization and maintained the M1-like phenotype of U937 cells after coculture. Decoy ODNs interrupting the binding of STAT6 to the CYBB promoter counteracted M2-like polarization and tumor growth and triggered antitumor immunity in vivo. Gene therapy using STAT6-CYBB decoy ODNs can inhibit M2-like polarization, representing a potential therapeutic tool for pancreatic cancer.

This content is only available via PDF.
This open access article is distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) license.

Article PDF first page preview

Article PDF first page preview

Supplementary data