Tumor resection ameliorates tumor-induced suppression of neuroinflammatory and behavioral responses to an immune challenge in a cancer survivor model.

Santos JC, Bever SR, Pereira-da-Silva G, Pyter LM
Sci Rep 9 752 01/24/2019


Breast cancer survivors display altered inflammatory responses to immune challenges relative to cancer-naive controls likely due to previous cancer treatments, stress associated with cancer, and/or tumor physiology. Proper inflammatory responses are necessary for adaptive sickness behaviors (e.g., fatigue, anorexia, and fever) and neuroinflammatory pathways are also implicated in mental health disturbances (e.g., cognitive impairment, depression) suffered by cancer patients and survivors. Rodent cancer models indicate that tumors are sufficient to exacerbate neuroinflammatory responses after an immune challenge, however primary tumors are not usually present in cancer survivors, and the behavioral consequences of these brain changes remain understudied. Therefore, we tested the extent to which mammary tumor resection attenuates tumor-induced neuroinflammation and sickness behavior following an immune challenge (i.p. lipopolysaccharide [LPS] injection) in mice. Tnf-α, Il-1β, and Il-6 mRNA decreased in multiple brain regions of LPS-treated tumor-bearing mice relative to LPS-treated controls; tumor resection attenuated these effects in some cases (but not Tnf-α). Tumors also attenuated sickness behaviors (hypothermia and lethargy) compared to LPS-treated controls. Tumor resection reversed these behavioral consequences, although basal body temperature remained elevated, comparable to tumor-bearing mice. Thus, tumors significantly modulate neuroinflammatory pathways with functional consequences and tumor resection mitigates most, but not all, of these changes.

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