Natural killer (NK) cells play indispensable roles in innate immune responses against tumor progression. To depict their phenotypic and functional diversities in the tumor microenvironment, we perform integrative single-cell RNA sequencing analyses on NK cells from 716 patients with cancer, covering 24 cancer types. We observed heterogeneity in NK cell composition in a tumor-type-specific manner. Notably, we have identified a group of tumor-associated NK cells that are enriched in tumors, show impaired anti-tumor functions, and are associated with unfavorable prognosis and resistance to immunotherapy. Specific myeloid cell subpopulations, in particular LAMP3+ dendritic cells, appear to mediate the regulation of NK cell anti-tumor immunity. Our study provides insights into NK-cell-based cancer immunity and highlights potential clinical utilities of NK cell subsets as therapeutic targets.
Copyright © 2023 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.