Adoptive transfer of immature myeloid cells lacking NF-κB p50 (p50-IMC) impedes the growth of MHC-matched high-risk neuroblastoma

Mol Oncol. 2021 Jul;15(7):1783-1796. doi: 10.1002/1878-0261.12904. Epub 2021 May 2.


High-risk neuroblastomas harbor abundant myeloid cells that suppress antitumor immunity and support tumor growth. Macrophages lacking the inhibitory NF-κB p50 subunit adopt a pro-inflammatory phenotype. We now report that murine 9464D neuroblastoma cells, which express high levels of exogenous MYCN, grow slower in syngeneic p50(f/f);Lys-Cre mice that lack p50 in macrophages and neutrophils, compared with p50(f/f) littermates. Tumors in p50(f/f);Lys-Cre mice possess increased numbers of total and activated CD4+ and CD8+ T cells, and depletion of both of these T-cell populations accelerates tumor growth. Anti-PD-1 T-cell checkpoint blockade, or DNA methyltransferase and histone deacetylase inhibition, further slows tumor growth. In addition, adoptive transfer of immature myeloid cells lacking NF-κB p50 (p50-IMC), generated either from the bone marrow of p50-/- mice or via nucleofection of a p50 sgRNA:Cas9 complex into wild-type hematopoietic progenitors, also slowed growth of MHC-matched 9464D tumors but not of MHC-mismatched Neuro2A tumors. These findings further validate the utility of targeting myeloid NF-κB p50 as a strategy for cancer therapy and demonstrate activity of p50-IMC generated by gene editing of syngeneic marrow cells, a cell product relevant to clinical translation.

Keywords: NF-κB p50; adoptive transfer; immunotherapy; macrophages; myeloid cells; neuroblastoma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adoptive Transfer
  • Animals
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / pathology
  • Mice
  • Myeloid Cells
  • NF-kappa B* / genetics
  • Neuroblastoma* / genetics


  • NF-kappa B