J Cancer 2020; 11(9):2580-2592. doi:10.7150/jca.38179 This issue

Research Paper

Anti-TGF-β attenuates tumor growth via polarization of tumor associated neutrophils towards an anti-tumor phenotype in colorectal cancer

Fengxian Qin1*✉, Xiaoyong Liu2*, Jifei Chen1*, Shishun Huang1, Wei Wei1, Yan Zou1, Xuexiang Liu1, Kaifeng Deng1, Shanying Mo1, Jianming Chen1, Xiaoli Chen1, Yujie Huang1, Weijun Liang1✉

1. Medical Science Laboratory, the Fourth Affiliated Hospital of Guangxi Medical University, Liuzhou, Guangxi, P. R. China 545005
2. Department of Clinical Laboratory, Liuzhou Municipal Liutie Center Hospital, Liuzhou, Guangxi, P. R. China 545007
* The authors contributed equally to this work.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). See http://ivyspring.com/terms for full terms and conditions.
Qin F, Liu X, Chen J, Huang S, Wei W, Zou Y, Liu X, Deng K, Mo S, Chen J, Chen X, Huang Y, Liang W. Anti-TGF-β attenuates tumor growth via polarization of tumor associated neutrophils towards an anti-tumor phenotype in colorectal cancer. J Cancer 2020; 11(9):2580-2592. doi:10.7150/jca.38179. Available from https://www.jcancer.org/v11p2580.htm

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Tumor associated neutrophils (TANs) play important roles in the progress of CRC. Since tumor microenvironments could influence the phenotypes of TANs, altering the tumor microenvironment to polarize the phenotype of TANs may be a new strategy for tumor treatment. This study aims to investigate the effect of anti-TGF-β on the polarization of TANs from a pro-tumor phenotype towards an anti-tumor phenotype in CRC. In this work, CRC patients had more infiltration of TANs and higher expression of TGF-β in CRC tissue when compared with the controls. In vitro, SW480 cells were co-cultured with primed neutrophils, which simulated the TANs in the tumor microenvironment, and TGF-β was blocked by anti-TGF-β (1D11) in order to polarize TANs. Anti-TGF-β treatment increased the cytotoxicity of TANs and decreased the metastatic chemoattractants secreted by TANs, and ultimately increased the apoptosis of CRC cells significantly while remarkably suppressing the migration of tumor cells. The changes of signaling pathways in the TANs and tumor cells were explored. The results showed that anti-TGF-β attenuated CRC may be partly mediated by suppression of PI3K/AKT signaling pathways in TANs and partly mediated by suppression of TGF-β/Smad signaling pathways in tumor cells. Furthermore, the tumor in the mice treated with 1D11 was obviously smaller and had reverse tumorigenesis compared with the controls, while neutrophil depletion reduced the anti-tumor effect of 1D11. Our data suggest that anti-TGF-β attenuates tumor growth via the polarization of TANs to an anti-tumor phenotype in CRC, which provides new strategies for CRC treatment.

Keywords: tumor associated neutrophils, colorectal cancer, Anti-TGF-β, polarization, phenotype