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Clin Cancer Res. 2007 Sep 15;13(18 Pt 1):5243-8.

Pathways mediating the expansion and immunosuppressive activity of myeloid-derived suppressor cells and their relevance to cancer therapy.

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  • 1Laboratory of Transplantation Immunology, Department of Pathology and Microbiology, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, Nebraska 68198-7660, USA. jtalmadg@unmc.edu


Cancer immunotherapy has focused on inducing and expanding CTLs and improving the immune recognition of weak antigenic determinants expressed by tumors. However, few positive clinical outcomes have been reported due, in part, to tumor-associated immunologic tolerance, supporting the need for an emphasis on overcoming immunosuppression. Systemic immunosuppression is associated with abnormal myelopoiesis secondary to tumor growth, myelosuppressive therapy, and growth factor administration and subsequent expansion/mobilization of bone marrow-derived immunosuppressive cells. These myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC) reduce activated T-cell number and inhibit their function by multiple mechanisms, including depletion of l-arginine by arginase-1 (ARG1) production of nitric oxide, reactive oxygen species, and reactive nitrogen oxide species by inducible nitric oxide synthase. Increased numbers of MDSCs are associated with neoplastic, inflammatory, infectious, and graft-versus-host diseases where they restrain exuberant or novel T-cell responses. In this review, we discuss critical components of MDSC-mediated suppression of T-cell function, including cellular expansion and activation-induced secretion of immunosuppressive mediators. Both components of MDSC bioactivity are amenable to pharmacologic intervention as discussed herein. We also focus on the relationship between MDSCs, tumor growth, therapeutic responses, and the mechanisms of cellular expansion, activation, and immunosuppression.

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