Systemic influences of mammary cancer on monocytes in mice

Amy Robinson*, Sheila Webb, P Louwe, Z. Ouyang, D. Skola, C.Z. Han, N.N. Batada, V. Gonzalez-Huici, Luca Cassetta, Christopher K Glass, Stephen J. Jenkins*, Jeffrey William Pollard*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There is a growing body of evidence that cancer causes systemic changes. These influences are most evident in the bone marrow and the blood, particularly in the myeloid compartment. Here, we show that there is an increase in the number of bone marrow, circulating and splenic monocytes by using mouse models of breast cancer caused by the mammary epithelial expression of the polyoma middle T antigen. Cancer does not affect ratios of classical to non-classical populations of monocytes in the circulation nor does it affect their half-lives. Single cell RNA sequencing also indicates that cancer does not induce any new monocyte populations. Cancer does not change the monocytic progenitor number in the bone marrow, but the proliferation rate of monocytes is higher, thus providing an explanation for the expansion of the circulating numbers. Deep RNA sequencing of these monocytic populations reveals that cancer causes changes in the classical monocyte compartment, with changes evident in bone marrow monocytes and even more so in the blood, suggesting influences in both compartments, with the down-regulation of interferon type 1 signaling and antigen presentation being the most prominent of these. Consistent with this analysis, down-regulated genes are enriched with STAT1/STAT2 binding sites in their promoter, which are transcription factors required for type 1 interferon signaling. However, these transcriptome changes in mice did not replicate those found in patients with breast cancer. Consequently, this mouse model of breast cancer may be insufficient to study the systemic influences of human cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Article number833
Number of pages22
Issue number3
Early online date7 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - 7 Feb 2022


  • breast cancer
  • human
  • monocytes
  • mouse
  • myeloid


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