The tumor microenvironment impacts tumor progression and individual cells, including CD4+ T cells, which have been detected in bladder cancer tissues. The detailed mechanism of how these T cells were recruited to the bladder cancer tumor and their impact on bladder cancer progression, however, remains unclear. Using a human clinical bladder cancer sample survey and in vitro coculture system, we found that bladder cancer has a greater capacity to recruit T cells than surrounding normal bladder tissues. The consequences of higher levels of recruited T cells in bladder cancer included increased bladder cancer metastasis. Mechanism dissection revealed that infiltrating T cells might function through secreting the cytokine IL1, which increases the recruitment of T cells to bladder cancer and enhances the bladder cancer androgen receptor (AR) signaling that results in increased bladder cancer cell invasion via upregulation of hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF1α)/VEGFa expression. Interruption of the IL1→AR→HIF1α→VEGFa signals with inhibitors of HIF1α or VEGFa partially reversed the enhanced bladder cancer cell invasion. Finally, in vivo mouse models of xenografted bladder cancer T24 cells with CD4+ T cells confirmed in vitro coculture studies and concluded that infiltrating CD4+ T cells can promote bladder cancer metastasis via modulation of the IL1→AR→HIF1α→VEGFa signaling. Future clinical trials using small molecules to target this newly identified signaling pathway may facilitate the development of new therapeutic approaches to better suppress bladder cancer metastasis. Mol Cancer Ther; 15(8); 1943–51. ©2016 AACR.
Note: Supplementary data for this article are available at Molecular Cancer Therapeutics Online (http://mct.aacrjournals.org/).
- Received April 15, 2015.
- Revision received March 25, 2016.
- Accepted April 12, 2016.
- ©2016 American Association for Cancer Research.