Increased CD14(+)HLA-DR (-/low) myeloid-derived suppressor cells correlate with extrathoracic metastasis and poor response to chemotherapy in non-small cell lung cancer patients

Cancer Immunol Immunother. 2013 Sep;62(9):1439-51. doi: 10.1007/s00262-013-1450-6. Epub 2013 Jun 13.


Accumulating evidence has demonstrated that myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs), a heterogeneous population of cells, play an important role in the subversion, inhibition, and downregulation of the immune response to cancer. However, the characteristics of these cells, particularly clinical relevance, in malignant tumors remain unclear due to a lack of specific markers. In this study, we characterized peripheral CD14(+)HLA-DR(-/low) cells, a new human MDSC subpopulation, in 89 patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). As expected, both frequency and absolute number of CD14(+)HLA-DR(-/low) cells were significantly increased in the peripheral blood of NSCLC patients compared with that of the healthy controls and indicated an association with metastasis, response to chemotherapy, and progression-free survival. These cells showed decreased expression of CD16 and CD86 compared with HLA-DR(+) monocytes. Unlike classical monocytes, these populations showed significantly decreased allostimulatory activity and showed the ability to inhibit autologous T cell proliferation and IFN-γ production in a cell-contact-dependent manner. Furthermore, we demonstrated that CD14(+)HLA-DR(-/low) cells expressed the NADPH oxidase component gp91(phox) and generated high level of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Moreover, inactivation of ROS reversed their immunosuppressive capacity on T cell response. These results prove, for the first time, the existence of ROS-producing CD14(+)HLA-DR(-/low) myeloid-derived suppressor cells in NSCLC patients, which mediate tumor immunosuppression and might thus represent a potential target for therapeutic intervention.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / immunology*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / pathology
  • Cell Growth Processes / immunology
  • Cisplatin / administration & dosage
  • Deoxycytidine / administration & dosage
  • Deoxycytidine / analogs & derivatives
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Docetaxel
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Glutamates / administration & dosage
  • Guanine / administration & dosage
  • Guanine / analogs & derivatives
  • HLA-DR Antigens / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Lipopolysaccharide Receptors / immunology*
  • Lung Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Lung Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myeloid Cells / immunology*
  • Myeloid Cells / pathology
  • Pemetrexed
  • Taxoids / administration & dosage


  • Glutamates
  • HLA-DR Antigens
  • Lipopolysaccharide Receptors
  • Taxoids
  • Pemetrexed
  • Deoxycytidine
  • Docetaxel
  • Guanine
  • gemcitabine
  • Cisplatin