In many solid cancers, tumor-associated macrophages (TAM) represent the predominant myeloid cell population. Antigen (Ag) cross-presentation leading to tumor Ag-directed cytotoxic CD8+ T cell responses is crucial for antitumor immunity. However, the role of recruited monocyte-derived macrophages, including TAM, as potential cross-presenting cells is not well understood. Here, we show that primary human as well as mouse CD206+ macrophages are effective in functional cross-presentation of soluble self-Ag and non-self-Ag, including tumor-associated Ag (TAA), as well as viral Ag. To confirm the presence of cross-presenting TAM in vivo, we performed phenotypic and functional analysis of TAM from B16-F10 and CT26 syngeneic tumor models and have identified CD11b+F4/80hiCD206+ TAM to effectively cross-present TAA. We show that CD11b+CD206+ TAM represent the dominant tumor-infiltrating myeloid cell population, expressing a unique cell surface repertoire, promoting Ag cross-presentation and Ag-specific CD8+ T cell activation comparable with cross-presenting CLEC9A+ DCs (cDC1). The presence of cross-presenting CD206+ TAM is associated with reduced tumor burden in mouse syngeneic tumor models and with improved overall survival in cutaneous melanoma patients. Therefore, the demonstration of effective Ag cross-presentation capabilities of CD206+ TAM, including their clinical relevance, expands our understanding of TAM phenotypic diversity and functional versatility.
Keywords: Antigen presentation; Cancer immunotherapy; Immunology; Macrophages; Oncology.