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This article has been peer reviewed. It is the author’s final published version in Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer

Volume 5, Issue 1, July 2017, Article number e1151.

The published version is available at DOI: 10.1186/s40425-017-0264-z Copyright © Topf et al.


BACKGROUND: The tumor microenvironment often polarizes infiltrating macrophages towards a type 2, or M2 phenotype, that is characterized by expression of various cysteine-rich, scavenger receptors, including CD163. The primary function of M2 macrophages is to facilitate wound healing. As such, they are capable of providing metabolic support to a growing tumor, neovascularization, as well as protection from cytotoxic T cells. The tumor microenvironment contains a milieu of secreted factors and vesicles, which in certain circumstances can gain access to lymphatic vessels that drain to local lymph nodes.

CASE PRESENTATION: We report a 59-year-old male with recurrent T4 squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the larynx with synchronous prostate adenocarcinoma confined to the prostate and regional pelvic lymph nodes, without metastatic disease. The patient underwent salvage total laryngectomy and bilateral neck dissection with final pathology revealing a recurrent moderately differentiated SCC involving the larynx as well as prostate cancer in draining level 4 cervical lymph nodes bilaterally. CD163 staining was performed on the primary tumor, a negative draining lymph node, and a level four lymph node with a focus of metastatic prostate cancer and compared to benign controls. The negative draining lymph node demonstrated a large CD163 population of cells as did the interface of the focus of prostate cancer and surrounding lymph node. CD163 levels were markedly increased in this patient compared to benign lymph node controls. The macrophage differentiation at the primary tumor in the larynx was strongly CD163 positive supporting an immune permissive environment for tumor growth and metastasis.

CONCLUSION: We describe a unique case of solitary metastatic prostate cancer to cervical lymph nodes in the setting of a laryngeal cancer. These observations suggest that SCC-derived factors drive a tumor-supportive environment in draining lymph nodes dominated by an overwhelming number of CD163+, M2 macrophages. Lymph nodes that are 'primed' by SCC differentiation to M2 phenotype may be at higher risk of harboring metastases.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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