Elevated levels of MMP12 sourced from macrophages are associated with poor prognosis in urothelial bladder cancer
Background Urothelial bladder cancer is most frequently diagnosed at the non-muscle-invasive stage (NMIBC). However, recurrences and interventions for intermediate and high-risk NMIBC patients impact the quality of life. Biomarkers for patient stratification could help to avoid unnecessary interventions whilst indicating aggressive measures when required. Methods In this study, immuno-oncology focused, multiplexed proximity extension assays were utilised to analyse plasma (n = 90) and urine (n = 40) samples from 90 newly-diagnosed and treatment-naïve bladder cancer patients. Public single-cell RNA-sequencing and microarray data from patient tumour tissues and murine OH-BBN-induced urothelial carcinomas were also explored to further corroborate the proteomic findings. Results Plasma from muscle-invasive, urothelial bladder cancer patients displayed higher levels of MMP7 (p = 0.028) and CCL23 (p = 0.03) compared to NMIBC patients, whereas urine displayed higher levels of CD27 (p = 0.044) and CD40 (p = 0.04) in the NMIBC group by two-sided Wilcoxon rank-sum tests. Random forest survival and multivariable regression analyses identified increased MMP12 plasma levels as an independent marker (p < 0.001) associated with shorter overall survival (HR = 1.8, p < 0.001, 95% CI:1.3–2.5); this finding was validated in an independent patient OLINK cohort, but could not be established using a transcriptomic microarray dataset. Single-cell transcriptomics analyses indicated tumour-infiltrating macrophages as a putative source of MMP12. Conclusions The measurable levels of tumour-localised, immune-cell-derived MMP12 in blood suggest MMP12 as an important biomarker that could complement histopathology-based risk stratification. As MMP12 stems from infiltrating immune cells rather than the tumor cells themselves, analyses performed on tissue biopsy material risk a biased selection of biomarkers produced by the tumour, while ignoring the surrounding microenvironment.
Biomarkers; Proteomics; Urothelial bladder cancer
Kerzeli IK, Kostakis A, Türker P, Malmström P-U, Hemdan T, Mezheyeuski A, et al. Elevated levels of MMP12 sourced from macrophages are associated with poor prognosis in urothelial bladder cancer. BMC Cancer. 2023 Jun 30;23:605.
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