Evaluation of myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC), a cell type implicated in T-cell suppression, may inform immune status. However, a uniform methodology is necessary for prospective testing as a biomarker. We report the use of a computational algorithm-driven analysis of whole blood and cryopreserved samples for monocytic MDSC (m-MDSC) quantity that removes variables related to blood processing and user definitions. Applying these methods to samples from patients with melanoma identifies differing frequency distribution of m-MDSC relative to that in healthy donors. Patients with a pretreatment m-MDSC frequency outside a preliminary definition of healthy donor range (<14.9%) were significantly more likely to achieve prolonged overall survival following treatment with ipilimumab, an antibody that promotes T-cell activation and proliferation. m-MDSC frequencies were inversely correlated with peripheral CD8(+) T-cell expansion following ipilimumab. Algorithm-driven analysis may enable not only development of a novel pretreatment biomarker for ipilimumab therapy, but also prospective validation of peripheral blood m-MDSCs as a biomarker in multiple disease settings.
©2014 American Association for Cancer Research.