Intermittent hypoxia-induced changes in tumor-associated macrophages and tumor malignancy in a mouse model of sleep apnea

Isaac Almendros, Yang Wang, Lev Becker, Frances E. Lennon, Jiamao Zheng, Brittney R. Coats, Kelly S. Schoenfelt, Alba Carreras, Fahed Hakim, Shelley X. Zhang, Ramon Farré, David Gozal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

161 Scopus citations


Rationale: An increased cancer aggressiveness and mortality have been recently reported among patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Intermittent hypoxia (IH), a hallmark of OSA, enhances melanoma growth and metastasis in mice. Objectives: To assess whether OSA-related adverse cancer outcomes occur via IH-induced changes in host immune responses, namely tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs). Measurements and Main Results: Lung epithelial TC1 cell tumors were 84% greater in mice subjected to IH for 28 days compared with room air (RA). In addition, TAMs in IH-exposed tumors exhibited reductions in M1 polarity with a shift toward M2 protumoral phenotype. Although TAMs fromtumors harvested from RA-exposed mice increased TC1 migration and extravasation, TAMs from IHexposed mice markedly enhanced such effects and also promoted proliferative rates and invasiveness of TC1 cells. Proliferative rates of melanoma (B16F10)andTC1cells exposed to IHeither in single culture or in coculture with macrophages (RAW 264.7) increased only when RAW 264.7 macrophages were concurrently present. Conclusions: Our findings support the notion that IH-induced alterations in TAMs participate in the adverse cancer outcomes reported in OSA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)593-601
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2014
Externally publishedYes


FundersFunder number
National Institutes of HealthHL-107160, HL-086662, HL-65270
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney DiseasesT32DK087703


    • Cancer
    • Inflammation
    • Intermittent hypoxia
    • Sleep apnea
    • Tumor-associated macrophages


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