Disabled Homolog 2 Controls Prometastatic Activity of Tumor-Associated Macrophages

Ilaria Marigo, Rosalinda Trovato, Francesca Hofer, Vincenzo Ingangi, Giacomo Desantis, Kevin Leone, Francesco De Sanctis, Stefano Ugel, Stefania Canè, Anna Simonelli, Alessia Lamolinara, Manuela Iezzi, Matteo Fassan, Massimo Rugge, Federico Boschi, Giulia Borile, Thomas Eisenhaure, Siranush Sarkizova, David Lieb, Nir HacohenLuca Azzolin, Stefano Piccolo, Rita Lawlor, Aldo Scarpa, Luisa Carbognin, Emilio Bria, Silvio Bicciato, Peter J Murray, Vincenzo Bronte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Tumor-associated macrophages (TAM) are regulators of extracellular matrix (ECM) remodeling and metastatic progression, the main cause of cancer-associated death. We found that disabled homolog 2 mitogen-responsive phosphoprotein (DAB2) is highly expressed in tumor-infiltrating TAMs and that its genetic ablation significantly impairs lung metastasis formation. DAB2-expressing TAMs, mainly localized along the tumor-invasive front, participate in integrin recycling, ECM remodeling, and directional migration in a tridimensional matrix. DAB2+ macrophages escort the invasive dissemination of cancer cells by a mechanosensing pathway requiring the transcription factor YAP. In human lobular breast and gastric carcinomas, DAB2+ TAMs correlated with a poor clinical outcome, identifying DAB2 as potential prognostic biomarker for stratification of patients with cancer. DAB2 is therefore central for the prometastatic activity of TAMs. SIGNIFICANCE: DAB2 expression in macrophages is essential for metastasis formation but not primary tumor growth. Mechanosensing cues, activating the complex YAP-TAZ, regulate DAB2 in macrophages, which in turn controls integrin recycling and ECM remodeling in 3-D tissue matrix. The presence of DAB2+ TAMs in patients with cancer correlates with worse prognosis.This article is highlighted in the In This Issue feature, p. 1611.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1758-1773
Number of pages16
JournalCancer Discovery
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020


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