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Circulating myeloid-derived suppressor cells are increased and correlate to immune suppression, inflammation and hypoproteinemia in patients with cancer

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Recent studies have identified myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) that are potent suppressors of tumor immunity and therefore a significant impediment to cancer immunotherapy. It has been reported that MDSCs are generated by malignant diseases or inflammation. However, no systematic studies in patients have been described. In order to clinically characterize MDSCs, we tested PBMCs from patients with various types of cancer including cholangiocellular, hepatocellular and pancreatic carcinoma, esophageal, gastric and colorectal cancer, breast cancer and thyroid cancer, and GIST, and those from normal volunteers using flow cytometry analysis. A significant increase was seen in the percentages of MDSCs in PBMCs from patients compared with normal volunteers. Among these patients, MDSC level was higher in patients with cancer of the digestive system and patients with breast cancer compared with normal volunteers. MDSC level was significantly and inversely correlated to stimulation indices (SI) of PHA-blastogenesis of lymphocytes and serum concentration of total protein, and positively correlated to neutrophil count. MDSC percentage in patients with gastric and colorectal cancer was also significantly correlated to neutrophil count and inversely correlated with lymphocyte count, and showed highly significant correlation to neutrophil/lymphocyte rate (NLR). In patients with breast cancer, MDSC levels in preoperative patients was significantly increased compared to normal volunteers and significantly decreased in postoperative patients. Thus, it is clear that MDSCs are increased in patients with cancer and closely related to suppression of cell-mediated immune responses. These data also suggest that they are related to chronic inflammation and that their levels are increased further in the terminal stages of patients whose nutritional status is impaired as observed in hypoproteinemia. MDSC levels have also been shown to decrease after removal of tumors in patients with breast cancer.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Organ Regulatory Surgery, Fukushima Medical University, Fukushima, Fukushima 960-1295, Japan 2: Department of Tumor and Host Bioscience, Fukushima Medical University, Fukushima, Fukushima 960-1295, Japan 3: Department of Immunology, Fukushima Medical University, Fukushima, Fukushima 960-1295, Japan 4: Department of Blood Transfusion and Transplantation Immunology, Fukushima Medical University, Fukushima, Fukushima 960-1295, Japan

Publication date: January 1, 2012

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