STING suppresses cancer pain via immune and neuronal modulation

Journal Article

Agonists of the innate immune regulator stimulator of interferon genes (STING) have shown great efficacy in promoting antitumor immunity in preclinical models, leading to their exploration in cancer immunotherapy trials. Patients with advanced stage cancers frequently suffer from severe pain as a result of bone metastasis and bone destruction, for which there is no efficacious treatment. Here, using multiple mouse models of metastatic bone cancer, we report that STING agonists confer remarkable protection against cancer pain, bone destruction, and local tumor burden. Repeated systemic administration of STING agonists robustly attenuated bone cancer-induced pain symptoms and improved locomotor function. Interestingly, STING agonists provided acute pain relief through direct neuronal modulation, as ex vivo incubation of STING agonists reduced excitability of pain-sensing nociceptive neurons from tumor-bearing mice. In addition, STING agonists protected local bone destruction and reduced local tumor burden through modulation of osteoclast and immune cell function in the tumor microenvironment, providing long-term cancer pain relief. Finally, these in vivo effects were dependent on host-intrinsic STING and Ifnar1 . Overall, STING activation provides unique advantages in controlling metastatic bone cancer pain through distinct and synergistic actions on nociceptors, immune cells, and osteoclasts.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Wang, K; Donnelly, C; Jiang, C; Liao, Y; Tao, X; Bang, S; Lee, M; Hilton, M; Ji, R-R

Published Date

  • 2021

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1101/2021.01.18.426944