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Cancer Immunol Res. 2014 Jan;2(1):50-8. doi: 10.1158/2326-6066.CIR-13-0129. Epub 2013 Oct 18.

Myeloid-derived suppressor cells in the development of lung cancer.

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Authors' Affiliations: The Wistar Institute, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


Myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC) are widely implicated in immune suppression associated with tumor progression and chronic inflammation. However, very little is known about their possible role in tumor development. Here, we evaluated the role of MDSC in two experimental models of lung cancer: inflammation-associated lung cancer caused by chemical carcinogen urethane in combination with exposure to cigarette smoke; and a transgenic CC10Tg model not associated with inflammation. Exposure of mice to cigarette smoke alone resulted in significant accumulation in various organs of cells with typical MDSC phenotype (Gr-1(+)CD11b(+)). However, these cells lacked immunosuppressive activity and could not be defined as MDSC. When cigarette smoke was combined with a single dose of urethane, it led to the development of tumor lesions in lungs within 4 months. By that time, Gr-1(+)CD11b(+) cells accumulated in the spleen and lung and had potent immunosuppressive activity, and thus could be defined as MDSC. In the CC10Tg model, accumulation of immunosuppressive MDSC was observed only at 4 months of age, after the appearance of tumor lesions in the lungs. Accumulation of MDSC in both models was abrogated in S100A9 knockout mice. This resulted in a dramatic improvement in survival of mice in both models. Thus, cigarette smoke results in the expansion of immature myeloid cells lacking suppressive activity. Accumulation of bona fide MDSC in both models was observed only after the development of tumor lesions. However, MDSC played a major role in tumor progression and survival, which suggests that their targeting may provide clinical benefits in lung cancer.

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