As current therapies benefit only a minority of cancer patients, additional therapeutic targets are needed. Tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) have attracted attention for improving therapeutic responses, yet regulatory strategies remain elusive. Here, we show that the protein kinase A catalytic subunit (PKA-C) acts as a molecular switch, inducing a pro-tumoral immunosuppressive macrophage phenotype within tumors. In human and murine breast cancer, overactivated PKA in TAMs creates a detrimental microenvironment for cancer progression by inducing vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGFA), interleukin-10 (IL-10), and macrophage-derived arginase 1 (ARG1) expression. Macrophages with genetic deletion of PKA-C are prone to be pro-inflammatory, suggesting a possible immunotherapeutic target. Delivery of liposomal PKA inhibitor facilitates tumor regression and abrogates pro-tumoral TAM functions in mice. The therapeutic effect of targeting PKA is pronounced when combined with αCTLA-4 antibody, increasing cluster of differentiation 8 (CD8)+GranzymeB+ T cells by about 60-fold. Our findings demonstrate critical roles of TAM PKA-C in tumor progression and suggest that targeting PKA-C efficiently augments cancer treatment responses.
- molecular target
- protein kinase A catalytic subunit
- tumor microenvironment
- tumor-associated macrophage