We reported previously that high numbers of mast cells in benign (extra-tumoral) regions of the prostate are associated with worse outcomes after radical prostatectomy including biochemical recurrence and the development of metastases. Herein, with a cohort of 384 men, we performed mast cell subtyping and report that higher minimum number of the tryptase-only (MCT) subset of extra-tumoral mast cells is associated with increased risk of biochemical recurrence (comparing highest to lowest tertiles: HR 2.32, 95% CI 1.37–3.93; P-trend = 0.002), metastases (HR 3.62, 95% CI 1.75–7.47; P-trend 0.001), and death from prostate cancer (HR 2.87, 95% CI 1.19–6.95; P-trend = 0.02). Preliminary RNA sequencing and comparison of benign versus cancer tissue mast cells revealed differential expression of additional site-specific genes. We further demonstrate that the genes CXCR4 and TFE3 are more highly expressed in tumor-infiltrating mast cells as well as other tumor-infiltrating immune cells and in tumor cells, respectively, and represent an altered tumor microenvironment. KIT variants were also differentially expressed in benign versus cancer tissue mast cells, with KIT variant 1 (GNNK+) mast cells identified as more prevalent in extra-tumoral regions of the prostate. Finally, using an established mouse model, we found that mast cells do not infiltrate Hi-Myc tumors, providing a model to specifically examine the role of extra-tumoral mast cells in tumorigenesis. Hi-Myc mice crossed to mast cell knockout (Wsh) mice and aged to 1 year revealed a higher degree of pre-invasive lesions and invasive cancer in wild-type mice versus heterozygous and knockout mice. This suggests a dosage effect where higher numbers of extra-tumoral mast cells resulted in higher cancer invasion. Overall, our studies provide further evidence for a role of extra-tumoral mast cells in driving adverse prostate cancer outcomes.
- mast cells
- prostate cancer
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine