Rebecca Cook
Faculty Member
Last active: 4/15/2019

Efferocytosis creates a tumor microenvironment supportive of tumor survival and metastasis.

Vaught DB, Stanford JC, Cook RS
Cancer Cell Microenviron. 2015 2 (1)

PMID: 29264372 · PMCID: PMC5734109 · DOI:10.14800/ccm.666

Programmed cell death, or apoptosis, occurs in nearly all tissues of all multi-cellular organisms. In order to avoid leakage of intracellular contents, which could generate tissue damaging inflammation, apoptotic cells are cleared from tissues by phagocytes, which then dispatch the engulfed dying cell through the lysosomal pathway. Phagocytic clearance of apoptotic cells is referred to as efferocytosis. One key feature of efferocytosis is the production and release of wound healing cytokines by the phagocyte, which acts to resolve inflammation, and promote tissue repair. Phagocytic engulfment of apoptotic cells coupled with cytokine modulation aimed at immune suppression ensures that physiological programmed cell death does not induce inflammation and tissue damage. However, cytokines involved in wound healing and immune suppression are notorious for their role in the tumor microenvironment, increasing tumor cell motility and promoting evasion of anti-tumor immunity. Therefore, current and future studies aimed at targeting important players of efferocytosis should reveal new and efficacious therapeutic approaches for limiting cancer progression and relapse.

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