EGFR/Ras-induced CCL20 production modulates the tumour microenvironment

Andreas Hippe, Stephan Alexander Braun, Péter Oláh, Peter Arne Gerber, Anne Schorr, Stephan Seeliger, Stephanie Holtz, Katharina Jannasch, Andor Pivarcsi, Bettina Buhren, Holger Schrumpf, Andreas Kislat, Erich Bünemann, Martin Steinhoff, Jens Fischer, Sérgio A. Lira, Petra Boukamp, Peter Hevezi, Nikolas Hendrik Stoecklein, Thomas HoffmannFrauke Alves, Jonathan Sleeman, Thomas Bauer, Jörg Klufa, Nicole Amberg, Maria Sibilia, Albert Zlotnik, Anja Müller-Homey, Bernhard Homey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background: The activation of the EGFR/Ras-signalling pathway in tumour cells induces a distinct chemokine repertoire, which in turn modulates the tumour microenvironment. Methods: The effects of EGFR/Ras on the expression and translation of CCL20 were analysed in a large set of epithelial cancer cell lines and tumour tissues by RT-qPCR and ELISA in vitro. CCL20 production was verified by immunohistochemistry in different tumour tissues and correlated with clinical data. The effects of CCL20 on endothelial cell migration and tumour-associated vascularisation were comprehensively analysed with chemotaxis assays in vitro and in CCR6-deficient mice in vivo. Results: Tumours facilitate progression by the EGFR/Ras-induced production of CCL20. Expression of the chemokine CCL20 in tumours correlates with advanced tumour stage, increased lymph node metastasis and decreased survival in patients. Microvascular endothelial cells abundantly express the specific CCL20 receptor CCR6. CCR6 signalling in endothelial cells induces angiogenesis. CCR6-deficient mice show significantly decreased tumour growth and tumour-associated vascularisation. The observed phenotype is dependent on CCR6 deficiency in stromal cells but not within the immune system. Conclusion: We propose that the chemokine axis CCL20–CCR6 represents a novel and promising target to interfere with the tumour microenvironment, and opens an innovative multimodal strategy for cancer therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)942-954
Number of pages13
JournalBritish Journal of Cancer
Issue number6
StatePublished - 15 Sep 2020


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