Aim: To investigate the frequency and clinical significance of the myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC) in human colorectal carcinoma (CRC).
Methods: Samples of peripheral blood and tumor tissue from 49 CRC patients were analyzed. Mononuclear cells were isolated by Ficoll-Hypaque density gradient centrifugation and were subjected to a flow cytometry-based immunophenotypic analysis.
Results: A considerable increase in the percentage of CD33⁺HLA-DR⁻ MDSCs was observed in the peripheral blood (1.89% ± 0.75%) and tumor tissues (2.99% ± 1.29%) of CRC patients as compared with that in the peripheral blood of healthy controls (0.54% ± 0.35%). This expanded CD33⁺HLA-DR⁻ subset exhibited immature myeloid cell markers, but not lineage markers, and showed up-regulation of CD18/CD11b expression as compared with the MDSCs from healthy donors. Further studies showed that the MDSC proportion in CRC peripheral blood was correlated with nodal metastasis(P = 0.023), whereas that in tumor tissues was correlated with nodal/distant metastasis (P = 0.016/P = 0.047) and tumor stage (P = 0.028), suggesting the involvement of MDSCs in CRC tumor development.
Conclusion: Characterization of MDSCs in CRC suggests the clinical significance of circulating and tumor-infiltrating MDSCs and may provide new insights into the CRC immunotherapy targeting MDSCs.
Keywords: Colorectal carcinoma; Myeloid-derived suppressor cell; Tumor metastasis.