Peritoneal dissemination of ovarian cancer (OC) correlates with poor prognosis, but the mechanisms underlying the escape of OC cells from the intraperitoneal immune system have remained unknown. We here identify pigment epithelium–derived factor (PEDF) as a promoting factor of OC dissemination, which functions through induction of CD206+ Interleukin-10 (IL-10)–producing macrophages. High PEDF gene expression in tumors is associated with poor prognosis in OC patients. Concentrations of PEDF in ascites and serum are significantly higher in OC patients than those with more benign tumors and correlated with early recurrence of OC patients, suggesting that PEDF might serve as a prognostic biomarker. Bromodomain and extraterminal (BET) inhibitors reduce PEDF expression and limit both OC cell survival and CD206+ macrophage induction in the peritoneal cavity. Our results thus implicate PEDF as a driver of OC dissemination and identify a BET protein–PEDF–IL-10 axis as a promising therapeutic target for OC.
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