Proteasome inhibitor immunotherapy for the epithelial to mesenchymal transition: assessing the A549 lung cancer cell microenvironment and the role of M1, M2a and M2c 'hydrocortisone-polarised' macrophages

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Engur-Ozturk S., DİKMEN M.

MOLECULAR BIOLOGY REPORTS, vol.49, no.6, pp.4777-4793, 2022 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 49 Issue: 6
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s11033-022-07329-w
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Aquatic Science & Fisheries Abstracts (ASFA), BIOSIS, CAB Abstracts, Chemical Abstracts Core, EMBASE, MEDLINE, Veterinary Science Database
  • Page Numbers: pp.4777-4793
  • Keywords: A549, Macrophages, EMT, NF-kB, Bortezomib, Ixazomib, ALTERNATIVE ACTIVATION, TUMOR-GROWTH, KAPPA-B, METASTASIS, MLN2238, MARKER, EMT
  • Anadolu University Affiliated: Yes


Background Lung cancer is a leading cause of cancer-related deaths, primarily as a result of metastases. In this metastasis, the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is essential. Interaction with the cancer cell microenvironment is primarily dependent on M1- and M2-polarized macrophage. Methods and results In this study, we revealed the EMT-associated activity of M1, M2a and M2c macrophages in A549 lung cancer cells. We established a co-culture model of A549 lung cancer cells utilizing THP-1-derived M1/M2 polarised macrophages to explore the involvement of macrophages in the immune response, apoptosis, and EMT in lung cancer. Although multiple polarising agents are routinely used for M1 and M2 conversion, we assessed a new possible polarising agent, hydrocortisone. Conclusions M1 increased A549 cell sensitivity to proteasome inhibitors and decreased A549 cell viability by inducing apoptosis. EMT was induced in the presence of M2c macrophages in A549 cells by the levels of vimentin, fibronectin, E-cadherin, NF-kB, CCL-17. We also revealed the antiproliferative effects of bortezomib and ixazomib on A549 cells in both 2D and 3D cultures. Our findings could help develop an immunotherapeutic strategy by shedding light on a previously undiscovered part of the EMT pathway. Furthermore, additional investigation may reveal that polarising tumour-associated macrophages to M1 and eliminating the M2a or particularly the M2c subtype are effective anti-cancer strategies.