Complement C5a induces the formation of neutrophil extracellular traps by myeloid-derived suppressor cells to promote metastasis
Myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) play a major role in cancer progression. In this study, we investigated the mechanisms by which complement C5a increases the capacity of polymorphonuclear MDSCs (PMN-MDSCs) to promote tumor growth and metastatic spread. Stimulation of PMN-MDSCs with C5a favored the invasion of cancer cells via a process dependent on the formation of neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs). NETosis was dependent on the production of high mobility group box 1 (HMGB1) by cancer cells. Moreover, C5a induced the surface expression of the HMGB1 receptors TLR4 and RAGE in PMN-MDSCs. In a mouse lung metastasis model, inhibition of C5a, C5a receptor-1 (C5aR1) or NETosis reduced the number of circulating-tumor cells (CTCs) and the metastatic burden. In support of the translational relevance of these findings, C5a was able to stimulate migration and NETosis in PMN-MDSCs obtained from lung cancer patients. Furthermore, myeloperoxidase (MPO)-DNA complexes, as markers of NETosis, were elevated in lung cancer patients and significantly correlated with C5a levels. In conclusion, C5a induces the formation of NETs from PMN-MDSCs in the presence of cancer cells, which may facilitate cancer cell dissemination and metastasis.