The Interplay Between Neutrophils and CD8 + T Cells Improves Survival in Human Colorectal Cancer

Clin Cancer Res. 2017 Jul 15;23(14):3847-3858. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-16-2047. Epub 2017 Jan 20.


Purpose: Tumor infiltration by different T lymphocyte subsets is known to be associated with favorable prognosis in colorectal cancer. Still debated is the role of innate immune system. We investigated clinical relevance, phenotypes, and functional features of colorectal cancer-infiltrating CD66b+ neutrophils and their crosstalk with CD8+ T cells.Experimental Design: CD66b+ and CD8+ cell infiltration was analyzed by IHC on a tissue microarray including >650 evaluable colorectal cancer samples. Phenotypic profiles of tissue-infiltrating and peripheral blood CD66b+ cells were evaluated by flow cytometry. CD66b+/CD8+ cells crosstalk was investigated by in vitro experiments.Results: CD66b+ cell infiltration in colorectal cancer is significantly associated with increased survival. Interestingly, neutrophils frequently colocalize with CD8+ T cells in colorectal cancer. Functional studies indicate that although neutrophils are devoid of direct antitumor potential, coculture with peripheral blood or tumor-associated neutrophils (TAN) enhances CD8+ T-cell activation, proliferation, and cytokine release induced by suboptimal concentrations of anti-CD3 mAb. Moreover, under optimal activation conditions, CD8+ cell stimulation in the presence of CD66b+ cells results in increasing numbers of cells expressing CD45RO/CD62L "central memory" phenotype. Importantly, combined tumor infiltration by CD66b+ and CD8+ T lymphocytes is associated with significantly better prognosis, as compared with CD8+ T-cell infiltration alone.Conclusions: Neutrophils enhance the responsiveness of CD8+ T cells to T-cell receptor triggering. Accordingly, infiltration by neutrophils enhances the prognostic significance of colorectal cancer infiltration by CD8+ T cells, suggesting that they might effectively promote antitumor immunity. Clin Cancer Res; 23(14); 3847-58. ©2017 AACR.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Antigens, CD / genetics
  • Antigens, CD / immunology
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / pathology
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / genetics
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / immunology
  • Cell Proliferation / genetics
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / genetics
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Female
  • GPI-Linked Proteins / genetics
  • GPI-Linked Proteins / immunology
  • Humans
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / immunology
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / pathology
  • Neutrophils / immunology*
  • Neutrophils / pathology
  • Prognosis*
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology
  • Tissue Array Analysis


  • Antigens, CD
  • CEACAM8 protein, human
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • GPI-Linked Proteins