The efficacy of immunotherapies for malignant melanoma is severely hampered by local and systemic immunosuppression mediated by myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC). Inhibitor of differentiation 1 (ID1) is a transcriptional regulator that was shown to be centrally involved in the induction of immunosuppressive properties in myeloid cells in mice, while it was overexpressed in CD11b+ cells in the blood of late-stage melanoma patients. Therefore, we comprehensively assessed ID1 expression in PBMC from stage III and IV melanoma patients, and studied ID1 regulation in models for human monocyte differentiation towards monocyte-derived dendritic cells. A highly significant elevation of ID1 was observed in CD33+CD11b+CD14+HLA-DRlow monocytic MDSC in the blood of melanoma patients compared to their HLA-DRhigh counterparts, while expression of ID1 correlated positively with established MDSC markers S100A8/9 and iNOS. Moreover, expression of ID1 in monocytes significantly decreased in PBMC samples taken after surgical removal of melanoma metastases, compared to those taken before surgery. Finally, maturation of monocyte-derived DC coincided with a significant downregulation of ID1. Together, these data indicate that increased ID1 expression is strongly associated with expression of phenotypic and immunosuppressive markers of monocytic MDSC, while downregulation is associated with a more immunogenic myeloid phenotype. As such, ID1 may be an additional phenotypic marker for monocytic MDSC. Investigation of ID1 as a pharmacodynamic biomarker or its use as a target for modulating MDSC is warranted.
Keywords: Cancer; Immunosuppression; Melanoma; Myeloid cells.