Metastasis-Entrained Eosinophils Enhance Lymphocyte-Mediated Antitumor Immunity

Cancer Res. 2021 Nov 1;81(21):5555-5571. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-21-0839. Epub 2021 Aug 24.


The recognition of the immune system as a key component of the tumor microenvironment (TME) led to promising therapeutics. Because such therapies benefit only subsets of patients, understanding the activities of immune cells in the TME is required. Eosinophils are an integral part of the TME especially in mucosal tumors. Nonetheless, their role in the TME and the environmental cues that direct their activities are largely unknown. We report that breast cancer lung metastases are characterized by resident and recruited eosinophils. Eosinophil recruitment to the metastatic sites in the lung was regulated by G protein-coupled receptor signaling but independent of CCR3. Functionally, eosinophils promoted lymphocyte-mediated antitumor immunity. Transcriptome and proteomic analyses identified the TME rather than intrinsic differences between eosinophil subsets as a key instructing factor directing antitumorigenic eosinophil activities. Specifically, TNFα/IFNγ-activated eosinophils facilitated CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell infiltration and promoted antitumor immunity. Collectively, we identify a mechanism by which the TME trains eosinophils to adopt antitumorigenic properties, which may lead to the development of eosinophil-targeted therapeutics. SIGNIFICANCE: These findings demonstrate antitumor activities of eosinophils in the metastatic tumor microenvironment, suggesting that harnessing eosinophil activity may be a viable clinical strategy in patients with cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis
  • Breast Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Eosinophils / immunology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Lung Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Lung Neoplasms / secondary
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Mice, Nude
  • Receptors, CCR3 / physiology*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • Tumor Microenvironment*
  • Xenograft Model Antitumor Assays


  • Ccr3 protein, mouse
  • Receptors, CCR3