Based on studies in mouse tumor models, granulocytes appear to play a tumor-promoting role. However, there are limited data about the phenotype and function of tumor-associated neutrophils (TANs) in humans. Here, we identify a subset of TANs that exhibited characteristics of both neutrophils and antigen-presenting cells (APCs) in early-stage human lung cancer. These APC-like "hybrid neutrophils," which originate from CD11b(+)CD15(hi)CD10(-)CD16(low) immature progenitors, are able to cross-present antigens, as well as trigger and augment anti-tumor T cell responses. Interferon-γ and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor are requisite factors in the tumor that, working through the Ikaros transcription factor, synergistically exert their APC-promoting effects on the progenitors. Overall, these data demonstrate the existence of a specialized TAN subset with anti-tumor capabilities in human cancer.
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