The Parity-Associated Microenvironmental Niche in the Omental Fat Band Is Refractory to Ovarian Cancer Metastasis
Ovarian cancer is an insidious and aggressive disease of older women, typically undiscovered prior to peritoneal metastasis due to its asymptomatic nature and lack of early detection tools. Epidemiological studies suggest that child-bearing (parity) is associated with decreased ovarian cancer risk, although the molecular mechanisms responsible for this phenomenon have not been delineated. Ovarian cancer preferentially metastasizes to the omental fat band (OFB), a secondary lymphoid organ that aids in filtration of the peritoneal serous fluid (PSF) and helps combat peritoneal infections. In the present study we assessed how parity and age impact the immune compositional profile in the OFB of mice, both in the homeostatic state and as a consequence of peritoneal implantation of ovarian cancer. Using fluorescence-activated cell sorting analysis and quantitative realtime PCR, we found that parity was associated with a significant reduction in omental monocytic subsets and B1-B lymphocytes, correlating with reduced homeostatic expression levels of key chemoattractants and polarization factors (Ccl1, Ccl2, Arg1, Cxcl13). Of note, parous animals exhibited significantly reduced tumor burden following intraperitoneal implantation compared to nulliparous animals. This was associated with a reduction in tumor-associated neutrophils and macrophages, as well as in the expression levels of their chemoattractants (Cxcl1, Cxcl5) in the OFB and PSF. These findings define a pre-existing "parity-associated microenvironmental niche" in the OFB that is refractory to metastatic tumor seeding and outgrowth. Future studies designed to manipulate this niche may provide a novel means to mitigate peritoneal dissemination of ovarian cancer.