Immunosuppressive Cell Subsets and Factors in Myeloid Leukemias

Cancers (Basel). 2021 Mar 10;13(6):1203. doi: 10.3390/cancers13061203.


Both chronic myeloid leukemia and acute myeloid leukemia evade the immune response during their development and disease progression. As myeloid leukemia cells modify their bone marrow microenvironment, they lead to dysfunction of cytotoxic cells, such as CD8+ T cells or NK cells, simultaneously promoting development of immunosuppressive regulatory T cells and suppressive myeloid cells. This facilitates disease progression, spreading of leukemic blasts outside the bone marrow niche and therapy resistance. The following review focuses on main immunosuppressive features of myeloid leukemias. Firstly, factors derived directly from leukemic cells - inhibitory receptors, soluble factors and extracellular vesicles, are described. Further, we outline function, properties and origin of main immunosuppressive cells - regulatory T cells, myeloid derived suppressor cells and macrophages. Finally, we analyze interplay between recovery of effector immunity and therapeutic modalities, such as tyrosine kinase inhibitors and chemotherapy.

Keywords: acute myeloid leukemia; chronic myeloid leukemia; extracellular vesicles; immunosuppression; inhibitory receptors; myeloid derived suppressor cells; regulatory T cells.

Publication types

  • Review