Christopher S McGinnis, Zhuang Miao, Daphne Superville, Winnie Yao, Andrei Goga, Nathan E Reticker-Flynn, Juliane Winkler, Ansuman T Satpathy
Cancer Cell, 10 June 2024

Tumor metastasis requires systemic remodeling of distant organ microenvironments that impacts immune cell phenotypes, population structure, and intercellular communication. However, our understanding of immune phenotypic dynamics in the metastatic niche remains incomplete. Here, we longitudinally assayed lung immune transcriptional profiles in the polyomavirus middle T antigen (PyMT) and 4T1 metastatic breast cancer models from primary tumorigenesis, through pre-metastatic niche formation, to the final stages of metastatic outgrowth at single-cell resolution. Computational analyses of these data revealed a TLR-NFκB inflammatory program enacted by both peripherally derived and tissue-resident myeloid cells that correlated with pre-metastatic niche formation and mirrored CD14+ “activated” myeloid cells in the primary tumor. Moreover, we observed that primary tumor and metastatic niche natural killer (NK) cells are differentially regulated in mice and human patient samples, with the metastatic niche featuring elevated cytotoxic NK cell proportions. Finally, we identified cell-type-specific dynamic regulation of IGF1 and CCL6 signaling during metastatic progression that represents anti-metastatic immunotherapy candidate pathways.