Galectin-1 mediates chronic STING activation in tumors to promote metastasis through MDSC recruitment. Cancer research Nambiar, D. K., Viswanathan, V., Cao, H., Zhang, W., Guan, L., Chamoli, M., Holmes, B., Kong, C., Hildebrand, R., Koong, A. J., von Eyben, R., Plevritis, S., Li, L., Giaccia, A., Engleman, E., Le, Q. T. 2023


The immune system plays a crucial role in the regulation of metastasis. Tumor cells systemically change immune functions to facilitate metastatic progression. Through this study, we deciphered how tumoral Galectin-1 (Gal1) expression shapes the systemic immune environment to promote metastasis in head and neck cancer (HNC). In multiple preclinical models of HNC and lung cancer in immunogenic mice, Gal1 fostered the establishment of a pre-metastatic niche through polymorphonuclear myeloid-derived suppressor cells (PMN-MDSCs), which altered the local microenvironment to support metastatic spread. RNA sequencing of MDSCs from pre-metastatic lungs in these models demonstrated the role of PMN-MDSCs in collagen and extracellular matrix remodeling in the pre-metastatic compartment. Gal1 promoted MDSC accumulation in the pre-metastatic niche through the NF-?B signaling axis, triggering enhanced CXCL2-mediated MDSC migration. Mechanistically, Gal1 sustained NF-?B activation in tumor cells by enhancing STING protein stability, leading to prolonged inflammation-driven MDSC expansion. These findings suggest an unexpected pro-tumoral role of STING activation in metastatic progression and establish Gal1 as an endogenous positive regulator of STING in advanced-stage cancers.

View details for DOI 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-23-0046

View details for PubMedID 37409887