Current Research and Scholarly Interests
Infiltration of specialized immune cells regulates the growth and survival of neoplasia. In a survey of leukocyte chemoattractant expression in public whole genome expression datasets, we found that the gene for chemerin is downregulated during tumorigenesis in animal models and in many human cancers. Low or absent chemerin expression predicted inferior outcomes in melanoma, and tumor-expressed chemerin inhibited in vivo growth of mouse melanoma and breast adenocarcinoma models. Growth inhibition was associated with an altered host response, and was abrogated by NK cell depletion. Intratumoral injection of chemerin also inhibited tumors, suggesting the potential for therapeutic application. We conclude that chemerin is an endogenous tumor suppressive chemoattractant cytokine whose downregulation in neoplasia contributes to immune evasion and tumor growth.