Circulating Myeloid Derived Suppressor Cells (MDSC) That Accumulate in Premalignancy Share Phenotypic and Functional Characteristics With MDSC in Cancer.


Myeloid derived suppressor cells (MDSC) are a heterogeneous population of immature myeloid cells that accumulate in circulation of cancer patients and at tumor sites where they suppress anti-tumor immunity. We previously reported that in a colon cancer prevention trial of a MUC1 vaccine tested in individuals at increased risk for colon cancer, those who did not mount immune response to the vaccine had higher pre-vaccination levels of circulating MDSC compared to those who did. We also reported that individuals with pancreatic premalignancy, Intraductal Papillary Mucinous Neoplasm (IPMN), had increased circulating levels of MDSC that inversely correlated with spontaneous antibody responses against the pancreatic tumor associated antigen MUC1, abnormally expressed on IPMN. Accumulation of MDSC in cancer and their immunosuppressive role had been well established but their presence in premalignancy was unexpected. In this study we compared MDSC in premalignancy with those in cancer with the hypothesis that there might be differences in the composition of various MDSC subpopulations and their immunosuppressive functions due to different lengths of exposure to disease and/or different tissue microenvironments. In cohorts of patients with premalignant polyps, colon cancer, premalignant IPMN, and pancreatic cancer, we confirmed higher levels of MDSC in premalignancy compared to healthy controls, higher levels of MDSC in cancer compared to premalignancy, but no difference in their subpopulation composition or immunosuppressive capacity. We show that levels of MDSC in premalignancy correlate negatively <i>in vivo</i> with spontaneous MUC1-specific antibody responses and <i>in vitro</i> with polyclonal T cell proliferation and IFN-γ secretion.

  • Beatty PL
  • Brand R
  • Finn OJ
  • Ma P
  • McKolanis J
  • Schoen RE
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Appears In
Front Immunol, 2019, 10