Myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC) that block antitumor immunity are elevated in glioblastoma (GBM) patient blood and tumors. However, the distinct contributions of monocytic (mMDSC) versus granulocytic (gMDSC) subsets have yet to be determined. In mouse models of GBM, we observed that mMDSCs were enriched in the male tumors, whereas gMDSCs were elevated in the blood of females. Depletion of gMDSCs extended survival only in female mice. Using gene-expression signatures coupled with network medicine analysis, we demonstrated in preclinical models that mMDSCs could be targeted with antiproliferative agents in males, whereas gMDSC function could be inhibited by IL1β blockade in females. Analysis of patient data confirmed that proliferating mMDSCs were predominant in male tumors and that a high gMDSC/IL1β gene signature correlated with poor prognosis in female patients. These findings demonstrate that MDSC subsets differentially drive immune suppression in a sex-specific manner and can be leveraged for therapeutic intervention in GBM. SIGNIFICANCE: Sexual dimorphism at the level of MDSC subset prevalence, localization, and gene-expression profile constitutes a therapeutic opportunity. Our results indicate that chemotherapy can be used to target mMDSCs in males, whereas IL1 pathway inhibitors can provide benefit to females via inhibition of gMDSCs.See related commentary by Gabrilovich et al., p. 1100.This article is highlighted in the In This Issue feature, p. 1079.
©2020 American Association for Cancer Research.