Myeloid-Derived Suppressor Cells: Not Only in Tumor Immunity

Author/Creator ORCID





Citation of Original Publication

Pawelec G, Verschoor CP and Ostrand-Rosenberg S (2019) Myeloid-Derived Suppressor Cells: Not Only in Tumor Immunity. Front. Immunol. 10:1099. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2019.01099


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Since the realization that immature myeloid cells are powerful modulators of the immune response, many studies on “myeloid-derived suppressor cells” (MDSCs) have documented their ability to promote tumor progression in melanoma and other cancers. Whether MDSCs are induced solely pathologically in tumorigenesis, or whether they also represent physiological immune control mechanisms, is not well-understood, but is particularly important in the light of ongoing attempts to block their activities in order to enhance anti-tumor immunity. Here, we briefly review studies which explore (1) how best to identify MDSCs in the context of cancer and how this compares to other conditions in humans; (2) what the suppressive mechanisms of MDSCs are and how to target them pharmacologically; (3) whether levels of MDSCs with various phenotypes are informative for clinical outcome not only in cancer but also other diseases, and (4) whether MDSCs are only found under pathological conditions or whether they also represent a physiological regulatory mechanism for the feedback control of immunity. Studies unequivocally document that MDSCs strongly influence cancer outcomes, but are less informative regarding their relevance to infection, autoimmunity, transplantation and aging, especially in humans. So far, the results of clinical interventions to reverse their negative effects in cancer have been disappointing; thus, developing differential approaches to modulate MSDCs in cancer and other diseases without unduly comprising any normal physiological function requires further exploration.