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Role of neutrophil extracellular traps in radiation resistance of invasive bladder cancer

Authors: Shinde-Jadhav, Surashri; Mansure, Jose Joao; Rayes, Roni F.; Marcq, Gautier; Ayoub, Mina; Skowronski, Rodrigo; Kool, Ronald; Bourdeau, France; Brimo, Fadi; Spicer, Jonathan; Kassouf, Wassim


Issue: Nat Commun. 2021 May 13;12(1):2776.


Radiation therapy (RT) is used in the management of several cancers; however, tumor radioresistance remains a challenge. Polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMNs) are recruited to the tumor immune microenvironment (TIME) post-RT and can facilitate tumor progression by forming neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs). Here, we demonstrate a role for NETs as players in tumor radioresistance. Using a syngeneic bladder cancer model, increased NET deposition is observed in the TIME of mice treated with RT and inhibition of NETs improves overall radiation response. In vitro, the protein HMGB1 promotes NET formation through a TLR4-dependent manner and in vivo, inhibition of both HMGB1 and NETs significantly delays tumor growth. Finally, NETs are observed in bladder tumors of patients who did not respond to RT and had persistent disease post-RT, wherein a high tumoral PMN-to-CD8 ratio is associated with worse overall survival. Together, these findings identify NETs as a potential therapeutic target to increase radiation efficacy.