Macrophages promote circulating tumor cell-mediated local recurrence following radiotherapy in immunosuppressed patients

Marjan Rafat, Todd A. Aguilera, Marta Vilalta, Laura L. Bronsart, Luis A. Soto, Rie Von Eyben, Meghana A. Golla, Yasaman Ahrari, Stavros Melemenidis, Anosheh Afghahi, Melissa J. Jenkins, Allison W. Kurian, Kathleen C. Horst, Amato J. Giaccia, Edward E. Graves

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Although radiotherapy (RT) decreases the incidence of locoregional recurrence in breast cancer, patients with triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) have increased risk of local recurrence following breast-conserving therapy. The relationship between RT and local recurrence is unknown. Here, we tested the hypothesis that recurrence in some instances is due to the attraction of circulating tumor cells to irradiated tissues. To evaluate the effect of absolute lymphocyte count on local recurrence after RT in patients with TNBC, we analyzed radiation effects on tumor and immune cell recruitment to tissues in an orthotopic breast cancer model. Recurrent patients exhibited a prolonged low absolute lymphocyte count when compared with nonrecurrent patients following RT. Recruitment of tumor cells to irradiated normal tissues was enhanced in the absence of CD8+ T cells. Macrophages (CD11b+F480+) preceded tumor cell infiltration and were recruited to tissues following RT. Tumor cell recruitment was mitigated by inhibiting macrophage infiltration using maraviroc, an FDA-approved CCR5 receptor antagonist. Our work poses the intriguing possibility that excessive macrophage infiltration in the absence of lymphocytes promotes local recurrence after RT. This combination thus defines a high-risk group of patients with TNBC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4241-4252
Number of pages12
JournalCancer research
Issue number15
StatePublished - Aug 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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