Immune cells promote the initial metastatic dissemination of carcinoma cells from primary tumors. In contrast to their well-studied functions in the initial stages of metastasis, the specific roles of immunocytes in facilitating progression through the critical later steps of the invasion-metastasis cascade remain poorly understood. Here we define novel functions of neutrophils in promoting intraluminal survival and extravasation at sites of metastatic dissemination. We show that CD11b+/Ly6G+ neutrophils enhance metastasis formation via two distinct mechanisms. First, neutrophils inhibit natural killer cell function, which leads to a significant increase in the intraluminal survival time of tumor cells. Thereafter, neutrophils operate to facilitate extravasation of tumor cells through the secretion of IL-1β and matrix metalloproteinases. These results identify neutrophils as key regulators of intraluminal survival and extravasation through their crosstalk with host cells and disseminating carcinoma cells.
- Received September 24, 2015.
- Revision received March 21, 2016.
- Accepted April 4, 2016.
- Copyright ©2016, American Association for Cancer Research.