Suppressive myeloid cells can contribute to immunotherapy resistance, but their role in response to checkpoint inhibition (CPI) in anti-PD-1 refractory cancers, such as biliary tract cancer (BTC), remains elusive. We use multiplexed single-cell transcriptomic and epitope sequencing to profile greater than 200,000 peripheral blood mononuclear cells from advanced BTC patients (n = 9) and matched healthy donors (n = 8). Following anti-PD-1 treatment, CD14+ monocytes expressing high levels of immunosuppressive cytokines and chemotactic molecules (CD14CTX) increase in the circulation of patients with BTC tumors that are CPI resistant. CD14CTX can directly suppress CD4+ T cells and induce SOCS3 expression in CD4+ T cells, rendering them functionally unresponsive. The CD14CTX gene signature associates with worse survival in patients with BTC as well as in other anti-PD-1 refractory cancers. These results demonstrate that monocytes arising after anti-PD-1 treatment can induce T cell paralysis as a distinct mode of tumor-mediated immunosuppression leading to CPI resistance.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02703714.
Keywords: CP: Cancer; biliary tract cancer; checkpoint inhibitors; cholangiocarcinoma; immunotherapy; monocytes; myeloid cells.
Copyright © 2022 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.