Obesity will soon surpass smoking as the most preventable cause of cancer. Hypercholesterolemia, a common comorbidity of obesity, has been shown to increase cancer risk, especially colorectal cancer. However, the mechanism by which hypercholesterolemia or any metabolic disorder increases cancer risk remains unknown. In this study, we show that hypercholesterolemia increases the incidence and pathologic severity of colorectal neoplasia in two independent mouse models. Hypocholesterolemia induced an oxidant stress–dependent increase in miR101c, which downregulated Tet1 in hematopoietic stem cells (HSC), resulting in reduced expression of genes critical to natural killer T cell (NKT) and γδ T-cell differentiation. These effects reduced the number and function of terminally differentiated NKT and γδ T cells in the thymus, the colon submucosa, and during early tumorigenesis. These results suggest a novel mechanism by which a metabolic disorder induces epigenetic changes to reduce lineage priming of HSC toward immune cells, thereby compromising immunosurveillance against cancer. Cancer Res; 77(9); 1–12. ©2017 AACR.
Note: Supplementary data for this article are available at Cancer Research Online (http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/).
- Received July 24, 2016.
- Revision received October 31, 2016.
- Accepted February 24, 2017.
- ©2017 American Association for Cancer Research.