Apigenin Increases SHIP-1 Expression, Promotes Tumoricidal Macrophages and Anti-Tumor Immune Responses in Murine Pancreatic Cancer

Krystal Villalobos-Ayala, Ivannie Ortiz Rivera, Ciara Alvarez, Kazim Husain, DeVon DeLoach, Gerald Krystal, Margaret L Hibbs, Kun Jiang, Tomar Ghansah
Pancreatic cancer (PC) has an extremely poor prognosis due to the expansion of immunosuppressive myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC) and tumor-associated macrophages (TAM) in the inflammatory tumor microenvironment (TME), which halts the recruitment of effector immune cells and renders immunotherapy ineffective. Thus, the identification of new molecular targets that can modulate the immunosuppressive TME is warranted for PC intervention. Src Homology-2 (SH2) domain-containing Inositol 5′-Phosphatase-1 (SHIP-1) is a lipid signaling protein and a regulator of myeloid cell development and function. Herein, we used the bioflavonoid apigenin (API) to reduce inflammation in different PC models. Wild type mice harboring heterotopic or orthotopic PC were treated with API, which induced SHIP-1 expression, reduced inflammatory tumor-derived factors (TDF), increased the proportion of tumoricidal macrophages and enhanced anti-tumor immune responses, resulting in a reduction in tumor burden compared to vehicle-treated PC mice. In contrast, SHIP-1-deficient mice exhibited an increased tumor burden and displayed augmented proportions of pro-tumor macrophages. These results provide further support for the importance of SHIP-1 expression in promoting pro-tumor macrophage development in the pancreatic TME. Our findings suggest that agents augmenting SHIP-1 expression may provide novel therapeutic options for the treatment of PC.

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