Depletion of M2-like tumor-associated macrophages delays cutaneous T-cell lymphoma development in vivo

Xuesong Wu, Brian C. Schulte, Youwen Zhou, Dipica Haribhai, Alexander C. Mackinnon, Jose A. Plaza, Calvin B. Williams, Samuel T Hwang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Scopus citations


Macrophages have key roles in tumor development and invasion in several human cancers, but little is known about their pathogenic role in cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL). Herein, we used PCR arrays to profile the expression of inflammatory cytokines in 12 patients with mycosis fungoides (MF), the most common variant of CTCL. Compared with normal controls, MF skin displayed increased mRNA levels of macrophage-related cytokines. Moreover, we detected CD163, a reliable marker of tumor-associated macrophages, in the tumor microenvironment of MF biopsies. To demonstrate that macrophages had a role in CTCL tumorigenesis, we xenografted human CTCL tumor cells in immunocompromised mice and compared tumor development using clodronate-containing liposomes to deplete macrophages in mice. Mice treated with clodronate-containing liposomes show markedly less tumor growth compared with mice treated with phosphate-buffered saline-containing liposomes (P<0.001). We also noted a strong correlation between macrophage depletion and decreased expression of vascular marker, CD31, and lymphatic marker, podoplanin, suggesting a role for macrophages in angiogenesis. In vitro, clodronate-containing liposomes killed activated murine M2 macrophages, but not Hut78 cells, demonstrating selective ability to induce apoptosis in macrophages. Our data indicate that macrophages have a critical role in the progression of Hut78 cell tumor formation in skin, thus providing a new therapeutic strategy for CTCL.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2814-2822
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Investigative Dermatology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 5 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Medicine(all)


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