Exosomal Circsafb2 Reshaping Tumor Environment to Promote Renal Cell Carcinoma Progression by Mediating M2 Macrophage Polarization

Xin Huang, Jingyu Wang, Jibin Guan, Zhong Zheng, Jun Feng Hao, Zitong Sheng, Menghua Wang, Tianhua Xu, Guangying Guo, Li Yao

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29 Scopus citations


Background: Macrophages are the most abundant infiltrating immune-related stromal cells present in and around tumors, showing different phenotypes and functions. M2 macrophages mainly exert immunosuppressive functions and promote tumor growth. Exosomes are emerging as important mediators of cross-talk between tumor cells and the microenvironment. CircRNAs are novel members of non-coding RNAs that regulate cancer proliferation and progression. However, the mechanism by which exosomal circRNA regulates macrophage polarization in renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is still largely unknown. Methods: RCC-derived exosomes were characterized using transmission electron microscopy and nanoparticle tracking analysis (NTA). CCK-8, wound healing, and Transwell assays were performed to assess whether exosomes would affect the proliferation, migration, and invasion of RCC. Furthermore, we performed a bioinformatics analysis to identify circRNAs in RCC serum-derived exosomes from the GEO database. The fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) assay was used to detect the cellular distribution of circSAFB2. Bioinformatics analyses (StarBase 2.0) were used to pool the miRNA targets of circSAFB2. Luciferase assays were performed to verify the direct interactions. Western blotting was used to detect markers of macrophage M2 polarization. Lastly, mouse xenograft and bioluminescence imaging were used to examine the clinical relevance of exosomal circSAFB2 in vivo. Results: We report the circRNA derived from SAFB2 and evaluate its biological function in promoting the immune escape of RCC. We found that circSAFB2 was highly expressed in RCC tissues and RCC-derived exosomes. Furthermore, we demonstrated that exosomal circSAFB2 mediates the polarization of M2 macrophages through the miR-620/JAK1/STAT3 axis to promote RCC metastasis. Conclusions: Our data first demonstrated that circSAFB2 leads to immune escape from RCC by mediating M2 macrophage polarization via the miR-620/JAK1/STAT3 axis. These findings indicate a novel molecular mechanism of exosomal circSAFB2 in the progression of RCC and implicate circSAFB2 as a target for exosome-mediated tumor immune evasion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number808888
JournalFrontiers in Oncology
StatePublished - May 12 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the following funds:

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2022 Huang, Wang, Guan, Zheng, Hao, Sheng, Wang, Xu, Guo and Yao.


  • CircSAFB2
  • M2 macrophage
  • exosome
  • miR-620/JAK1/STAT3
  • renal cell carcinoma

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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