Purpose: The chemokine CC-ligand 21/secondary lymphoid tissue chemokine (CCL21/SLC) regulates the homing of naïve T cells and dendritic cells that express CC-chemokine receptor 7 (CCR7) from distant sites to lymphoid tissue such as lymph nodes. We hypothesized that CCL21/SLC regulates the migration of CCR7-bearing melanoma cells from a primary lesion to regional tumor-draining lymph nodes. Experimental Design: Quantitative real-time reverse transcriptase-PCR (qRT) assay and immunohistochemistry (IHC) were used to assess the level of CCR7 expression in melanoma cell lines and in primary and metastatic melanoma tumors. Cell migration assay using melanoma cell lines was performed under the induction of CCL21/SLC. The CCL21/SLC expression level in tumor-draining sentinel lymph nodes (SLNs) was assessed by both qRT assay and IHC. Results: Melanoma cell lines and tumors demonstrated heterogeneous expression of CCR7 mRNA by qRT assay. There was strong functional correlation between CCR7 mRNA expression and cell migration induced by CCL21/SLC. IHC evidence of CCR7 expression in primary melanomas significantly (P = 0.02) correlated with Breslow thickness. Assessment of SLN from 55 melanoma patients by qRT assay demonstrated that CCL21/SLC mRNA expression level was significantly (P = 0.008) higher in pathologically melanoma-negative SLNs than in melanoma-positive SLNs. Conclusions: This report demonstrates a potential mechanism for recruitment and homing of CCR7(+) metastatic melanoma cells to tumor-draining lymph nodes, which express CCL21/SLC. The study also suggests that lymph nodes bearing metastasis may suppress CCL21/SLC production.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research