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Nat Immunol. 2008 Nov;9(11):1225-35. doi: 10.1038/ni.1655. Epub 2008 Sep 28.

Modulation of the antitumor immune response by complement.

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Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Medical School of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104, USA.


The involvement of complement-activation products in promoting tumor growth has not yet been recognized. Here we show that the generation of complement C5a in a tumor microenvironment enhanced tumor growth by suppressing the antitumor CD8(+) T cell-mediated response. This suppression was associated with the recruitment of myeloid-derived suppressor cells into tumors and augmentation of their T cell-directed suppressive abilities. Amplification of the suppressive capacity of myeloid-derived suppressor cells by C5a occurred through regulation of the production of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species. Pharmacological blockade of the C5a receptor considerably impaired tumor growth to a degree similar to the effect produced by the anticancer drug paclitaxel. Thus, our study demonstrates a therapeutic function for complement inhibition in the treatment of cancer.

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