CaMKK2 in myeloid cells is a key regulator of the immune-suppressive microenvironment in breast cancer

Luigi Racioppi, Erik R. Nelson, Wei Huang, Debarati Mukherjee, Scott A. Lawrence, William Lento, Anna Maria Masci, Yiquin Jiao, Sunghee Park, Brian York, Yaping Liu, Amy E. Baek, David H. Drewry, William J. Zuercher, Francesca R. Bertani, Luca Businaro, Joseph Geradts, Allison Hall, Anthony R. Means, Nelson ChaoChing yi Chang, Donald P. McDonnell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Tumor-associated myeloid cells regulate tumor growth and metastasis, and their accumulation is a negative prognostic factor for breast cancer. Here we find calcium/calmodulin-dependent kinase kinase (CaMKK2) to be highly expressed within intratumoral myeloid cells in mouse models of breast cancer, and demonstrate that its inhibition within myeloid cells suppresses tumor growth by increasing intratumoral accumulation of effector CD8+ T cells and immune-stimulatory myeloid subsets. Tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) isolated from Camkk2−/− mice expressed higher levels of chemokines involved in the recruitment of effector T cells compared to WT. Similarly, in vitro generated Camkk2−/− macrophages recruit more T cells, and have a reduced capability to suppress T cell proliferation, compared to WT. Treatment with CaMKK2 inhibitors blocks tumor growth in a CD8+ T cell-dependent manner, and facilitates a favorable reprogramming of the immune cell microenvironment. These data, credential CaMKK2 as a myeloid-selective checkpoint, the inhibition of which may have utility in the immunotherapy of breast cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2450
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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