Myeloid-derived suppressor cells and anti-tumor T cells: a complex relationship

Immunol Invest. 2012;41(6-7):595-613. doi: 10.3109/08820139.2012.673191.


Myeloid-Derived Suppressor Cells (MDSC) are immature myeloid cells that are potent inhibitors of immune cell function and which accumulate under conditions of inflammation, especially cancer. MDSC are suggested to promote the growth of cancer by both enhancement of tumor angiogenesis and metastasis and also inhibition of antitumor immune responses. The presence of deficient and/or defective antitumor adaptive and innate immune responses, coincident with accumulation of MDSC in lymphoid organs and tumor parenchyma, supports the notion of a causal relationship. The potent ability of MDSC to inhibit several components and phases of immune response highlights the likelihood that targeting the inhibitory functions of MDSC may maximize the therapeutic potential of antitumor immunotherapy. In order to guide the rational development of immunotherapeutic strategies that incorporate inhibition of MDSC activity and enzymatic functions, thorough understanding of the role of MDSC in antitumor immune responses is required. In this manuscript we review the multifaceted inhibitory functions of MDSC and consider the role of MDSC-induced inhibition of antitumor T cell effector phase. Support for this research is from NIH R01 CA108573.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / pharmacology
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / genetics
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / immunology
  • Cell Communication / drug effects
  • Cell Communication / genetics
  • Cell Communication / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immune Tolerance
  • Immunotherapy
  • Mice
  • Myeloid Progenitor Cells / drug effects*
  • Myeloid Progenitor Cells / immunology
  • Myeloid Progenitor Cells / pathology
  • Neoplasms / immunology
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • T-Lymphocytes / drug effects*
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes / pathology
  • Tumor Escape


  • Amino Acids
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • Reactive Oxygen Species