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The crosstalk between macrophages and cancer cells potentiates pancreatic cancer cachexia.

With limited treatment options, cachexia remains a major challenge for patients with cancer. Characterizing the interplay between tumor cells and the immune microenvironment may help identify potential therapeutic targets for cancer cachexia.

Herein, we investigate the critical role of macrophages in potentiating pancreatic cancer induced muscle wasting via promoting TWEAK (TNF-like weak inducer of apoptosis) secretion from the tumor. Specifically, depletion of macrophages reverses muscle degradation induced by tumor cells.

Macrophages induce non-autonomous secretion of TWEAK through CCL5/TRAF6/NF-κB pathway. TWEAK promotes muscle atrophy by activating MuRF1 initiated muscle remodeling.

Notably, tumor cells recruit and reprogram macrophages via the CCL2/CCR2 axis and disrupting the interplay between macrophages and tumor cells attenuates muscle wasting. Collectively, this study identifies a feedforward loop between pancreatic cancer cells and macrophages, underlying the non-autonomous activation of TWEAK secretion from tumor cells thereby providing promising therapeutic targets for pancreatic cancer cachexia.

Courtney W Houchen


University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center

United States


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Main topics

Publications Clinical Trials

Gastrointestinal Diseases
Intestinal Diseases
Pancreatic Diseases
Endocrine System Diseases
Pancreatic Neoplasms
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