ST8Sia6 promotes tumor growth in mice by inhibiting immune responses

David J. Friedman, Sydney B. Crotts, Michael J. Shapiro, Matthew Rajcula, Shaylene McCue, Xin Liu, Khashayarsha Khazaie, Haidong Dong, Virginia Smith Shapiro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Many tumors exhibit increased incorporation of sialic acids into cell-surface glycans, which impact the tumor microenvironment. Sialic acid immunoglobulin-like lectins (Siglec) are receptors that recognize sialic acids and modulate immune responses, including responses to tumors. However, the roles of individual sialyltransferases in tumorigenesis and tumor growth are not well understood. Here, we examined the sialyltransferase ST8Sia6, which generated a2,8-linked disialic acids that bind to murine Siglec-E and human Siglec-7 and -9. Increased ST8Sia6 expression was found on many human tumors and associated with decreased survival in several cancers, including colon cancer. Because of this, we engineered MC38 and B16-F10 tumor lines to express ST8Sia6. ST8Sia6-expressing MC38 and B16-F10 tumors exhibited faster growth and led to decreased survival, which required host Siglec-E. ST8Sia6 expression on tumors also altered macrophage polarization toward M2, including upregulation of the immune modulator arginase, which also required Siglec-E. ST8Sia6 also accelerated tumorigenesis in a genetically engineered, spontaneous murine model of colon cancer, decreasing survival from approximately 6 months to 67 days. Thus, ST8Sia6 expression on tumors inhibits antitumor immune responses to accelerate tumor growth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)952-966
Number of pages15
JournalCancer Immunology Research
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Cancer Research


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