Primary cutaneous apocrine carcinoma (PCAC) is a rare and highly aggressive tumor entity. Since there is no conventional therapy for advanced PCAC, exploratory treatments are sometimes used. As we previously reported, receptor activator of nuclear factor kappa-B (RANK) ligand (RANKL)/RANK signaling on M2 macrophages promotes the production of chemokines and proinflammatory cytokines to maintain the immunosuppressive tumor environment of extramammary Paget’s disease (EMPD). Since EMPD is a skin adenocarcinoma of apocrine gland origin that expresses high levels of RANKL and matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) 7, and EMPD is associated with the presence of RANK+ M2 macrophages, we hypothesized that tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) in adenocarcinomas such as PCAC might also express RANKL and MMP7. Materials and Methods: We employed immunohistochemical staining of RANKL and MMP7 in the lesional skin from five patients with PCAC, and microarray analysis of MMPs using human monocyte-derived macrophages. Results: According to DNA microarray analysis, the expression of MMP1 and MMP25 was augmented. The DNA microarray results were verified by using real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Immunohistochemical staining of MMP1 and MMP25 as well as chemokine (C-C motif) ligand (CCL) 5 in the lesional skin from five patients with PCAC showed a substantial number of MMP1-bearing cells and MMP25-bearing cells, as well as CCL5-producing cells, that were distributed in the lesional skin. Conclusion: Our study suggests that the RANKL/RANK pathway contributes to the development and maintenance of the immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment and denosumab may be a promising adjuvant therapy targeting TAMs in cancer of apocrine origin.
- Primary cutaneous apocrine carcinoma
- Tumor-associated macrophages