Limited capability of regional lymph nodes to eradicate metastatic cancer cells

Hiroshi Nagata, Tsunenori Arai, Yusuke Soejima, Hidekazu Suzuki, Hiromasa Ishii, Toshifumi Hibi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


The capacity of lymph nodes to eradicate cancer is a controversial issue. The purpose of this study was to determine the interplay between tumor growth and host resistance at early stages of lymph node metastasis. A metastasis model was made in the rat mesenteric lymph node, and migration of cancer cells was visualized in vivo. The lymph node was removed for histologic analysis and cytokine measurement. Migrant cancer cells were initially arrested in the marginal sinus. After an initial increase, the number of cancer cells in the marginal sinus declined until 48 hours after inoculation. Germinal centers and lymphoid cells in the medulla proliferated before 48 hours. ED3+ macrophages incorporated apoptotic cancer cells, but significant cancer proliferation occurred after 4 days. Lymph nodes depleted of macrophages were massively invaded by cancer cells. Tumor necrosis factor a and interleukin (IL)-1β in the nodes transiently increased after 1 hour and 3 hours, respectively, and were expressed in ED3+ and ED2+ macrophages, respectively. These changes were followed by a transient increase in IL-2. Interferon-γ and IL-12 did not increase during the early stages of metastasis, but they decreased after 48 hours. In conclusion, the marginal sinus constitutes a mechanical barrier against cancer cell passage. Early pathological manifestations in the regional lymph node are consistent with those in cancer patients with improved survival. Parasinus macrophages play a role in the transient antimetastatic capability of the node, and cytokines secreted by these cells increased at the early stages of metastasis. Deterioration of cytokine induction may be responsible for subsequent cancer proliferation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8239-8248
Number of pages10
JournalCancer Research
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - 2004 Nov 15
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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