Deterministic reprogramming of neutrophils within tumors

Science. 2024 Jan 12;383(6679):eadf6493. doi: 10.1126/science.adf6493. Epub 2024 Jan 12.


Neutrophils are increasingly recognized as key players in the tumor immune response and are associated with poor clinical outcomes. Despite recent advances characterizing the diversity of neutrophil states in cancer, common trajectories and mechanisms governing the ontogeny and relationship between these neutrophil states remain undefined. Here, we demonstrate that immature and mature neutrophils that enter tumors undergo irreversible epigenetic, transcriptional, and proteomic modifications to converge into a distinct, terminally differentiated dcTRAIL-R1+ state. Reprogrammed dcTRAIL-R1+ neutrophils predominantly localize to a glycolytic and hypoxic niche at the tumor core and exert pro-angiogenic function that favors tumor growth. We found similar trajectories in neutrophils across multiple tumor types and in humans, suggesting that targeting this program may provide a means of enhancing certain cancer immunotherapies.

MeSH terms

  • Cellular Reprogramming* / genetics
  • Cellular Reprogramming* / immunology
  • Epigenesis, Genetic
  • Humans
  • Hypoxia
  • Neoplasms* / blood supply
  • Neoplasms* / immunology
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic* / genetics
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic* / immunology
  • Neutrophils* / immunology
  • Proteomics
  • Receptors, TNF-Related Apoptosis-Inducing Ligand / immunology
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • Receptors, TNF-Related Apoptosis-Inducing Ligand