Glutamine synthetase (GS) generates glutamine from glutamate and controls the release of inflammatory mediators. In macrophages, GS activity, driven by IL10, associates to the acquisition of M2-like functions. Conditional deletion of GS in macrophages inhibits metastasis by boosting the formation of anti-tumor, M1-like, tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs). From this basis, we evaluated the pharmacological potential of GS inhibitors in targeting metastasis, identifying glufosinate as a specific human GS inhibitor. Glufosinate was tested in both cultured macrophages and on mice bearing metastatic lung, skin and breast cancer. We found that glufosinate rewires macrophages toward an M1-like phenotype both at the primary tumor and metastatic site, countering immunosuppression and promoting vessel sprouting. This was also accompanied to a reduction in cancer cell intravasation and extravasation, leading to synchronous and metachronous metastasis growth inhibition, but no effects on primary tumor growth. Glufosinate treatment was well-tolerated, without liver and brain toxicity, nor hematopoietic defects. These results identify GS as a druggable enzyme to rewire macrophage functions and highlight the potential of targeting metabolic checkpoints in macrophages to treat cancer metastasis.

Glufosinate constrains synchronous and metachronous metastasis by promoting anti-tumor macrophages

Menga A.;Porporato P. E.;Mazzone M.
2020

Abstract

Glutamine synthetase (GS) generates glutamine from glutamate and controls the release of inflammatory mediators. In macrophages, GS activity, driven by IL10, associates to the acquisition of M2-like functions. Conditional deletion of GS in macrophages inhibits metastasis by boosting the formation of anti-tumor, M1-like, tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs). From this basis, we evaluated the pharmacological potential of GS inhibitors in targeting metastasis, identifying glufosinate as a specific human GS inhibitor. Glufosinate was tested in both cultured macrophages and on mice bearing metastatic lung, skin and breast cancer. We found that glufosinate rewires macrophages toward an M1-like phenotype both at the primary tumor and metastatic site, countering immunosuppression and promoting vessel sprouting. This was also accompanied to a reduction in cancer cell intravasation and extravasation, leading to synchronous and metachronous metastasis growth inhibition, but no effects on primary tumor growth. Glufosinate treatment was well-tolerated, without liver and brain toxicity, nor hematopoietic defects. These results identify GS as a druggable enzyme to rewire macrophage functions and highlight the potential of targeting metabolic checkpoints in macrophages to treat cancer metastasis.
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e11210
e11210
glufosinate; glutamine synthetase; immunometabolism; macrophages; metastasis
Menga A.; Serra M.; Todisco S.; Riera-Domingo C.; Ammarah U.; Ehling M.; Palmieri E.M.; Di Noia M.A.; Gissi R.; Favia M.; Pierri C.L.; Porporato P.E.; Castegna A.; Mazzone M.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2318/1771457
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