Tumor-promoting inflammation and avoiding immune destruction are hallmarks of cancer. Here, we demonstrate that the pro-inflammatory cytokine interleukin (IL)-18 is critically involved in these hallmarks in multiple myeloma (MM). Mice deficient for IL-18 were remarkably protected from Vk∗MYC MM progression in a CD8+ T cell-dependent manner. The MM-niche-derived IL-18 drove generation of myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs), leading to accelerated disease progression. A global transcriptome analysis of the immune microenvironment in 73 MM patients strongly supported the negative impact of IL-18-driven MDSCs on T cell responses. Strikingly, high levels of bone marrow plasma IL-18 were associated with poor overall survival in MM patients. Furthermore, our preclinical studies suggested that IL-18 could be a potential therapeutic target in MM.
Keywords: IL-18; cancer; immunosuppression; immunotherapy; inflammasome; inflammation; myeloid-derived suppressor cells; myeloma; tumor microenvironment.
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