Low-grade intestinal inflammation two decades after pelvic radiotherapy.

Devarakonda S, Thorsell A, Hedenström P, Rezapour A, Heden L, Banerjee S, Johansson MEV, Birchenough G, Toft Morén A, Gustavsson K, Skokic V, Pettersson VL, Sjöberg F, Kalm M, Al Masri M, Ekh M, Fagman H, Wolving M, Perkins R, Morales RA, Castillo F, Villablanca EJ, Yrlid U, Bergmark K, Steineck G, Bull C

EBioMedicine 94 (-) 104691 [2023-08-00; online 2023-07-20]

Radiotherapy is effective in the treatment of cancer but also causes damage to non-cancerous tissue. Pelvic radiotherapy may produce chronic and debilitating bowel symptoms, yet the underlying pathophysiology is still undefined. Most notably, although pelvic radiotherapy causes an acute intestinal inflammation there is no consensus on whether the late-phase pathophysiology contains an inflammatory component or not. To address this knowledge gap, we examined the potential presence of a chronic inflammation in mucosal biopsies from irradiated pelvic cancer survivors. We biopsied 24 cancer survivors two to 20 years after pelvic radiotherapy, and four non-irradiated controls. Using tandem mass tag (TMT) mass spectrometry and mRNA sequencing (mRNA-seq), we charted proteomic and transcriptomic profiles of the mucosal tissue previously exposed to a high or a low/no dose of radiation. Changes in the immune cell populations were determined with flow cytometry. The integrity of the protective mucus layers were determined by permeability analysis and 16S rRNA bacterial detection. 942 proteins were differentially expressed in mucosa previously exposed to a high radiation dose compared to a low radiation dose. The data suggested a chronic low-grade inflammation with neutrophil activity, which was confirmed by mRNA-seq and flow cytometry and further supported by findings of a weakened mucus barrier with bacterial infiltration. Our results challenge the idea that pelvic radiotherapy causes an acute intestinal inflammation that either heals or turns fibrotic without progression to chronic inflammation. This provides a rationale for exploring novel strategies to mitigate chronic bowel symptoms in pelvic cancer survivors. This study was supported by the King Gustav V Jubilee Clinic Cancer Foundation (CB), The Adlerbertska Research Foundation (CB), The Swedish Cancer Society (GS), The Swedish State under the ALF agreement (GS and CB), Mary von Sydow's foundation (MA and VP).

Clinical Genomics Gothenburg [Service]

Glycoproteomics and MS Proteomics [Collaborative]

PubMed 37480626

DOI 10.1016/j.ebiom.2023.104691

Crossref 10.1016/j.ebiom.2023.104691

pmc: PMC10393618
pii: S2352-3964(23)00256-6

Publications 9.5.0