Cross-Talk between Myeloid-Derived Suppressor Cells and Mast Cells Mediates Tumor-Specific Immunosuppression in Prostate Cancer

Elena Jachetti, Valeria Cancila, Alice Rigoni, Lucia Bongiovanni, Barbara Cappetti, Beatrice Belmonte, Claudia Enriquez, Patrizia Casalini, Paola Ostano, Barbara Frossi, Sabina Sangaletti, Claudia Chiodoni, Giovanna Chiorino, Carlo E Pucillo, Claudio Tripodo, Mario P Colombo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Immunotherapy, including the use of checkpoint inhibitors, is a potent therapeutic approach for some cancers, but has limited success with prostate tumors, in which immune suppression is instigated by the tumor. The immunosuppressive capacity of mast cells, which promote adenocarcinoma development in the prostate, prompted our investigation on whether mast cells promote tolerance to SV40 Large-T antigen, the transforming oncogene in transgenic adenocarcinoma of the mouse prostate (TRAMP) mice. The incidence of adenocarcinoma was reduced in the offspring of a cross between TRAMP mice and mast cell-deficient KitWsh mice. TRAMP mice are tolerant to the SV40 Large T antigen, which is otherwise immunogenic in normal syngeneic B6 mice. Genetic ablation of mast cells in TRAMP mice restored their ability to mount a tumor-specific cytotoxic T-cell response. In KitWsh-TRAMP mice, the restored T-cell immunity correlated with the reduced activity of polymorphonuclear myeloid-derived suppressor cells (PMN-MDSC), along with their reduced expression of Arg1, Nos2, and Stat3 Having found that CD40L-expressing mast cells can interact in vivo with CD40-expressing PMN-MDSC, we then determined that only KitWsh-TRAMP mice reconstituted with mast cells expressing CD40L could restore PMN-MDSCs suppressive functions, T-cell unresponsiveness and adenocarcinoma development. Thus, mast cells have an immunoregulatory effect on PMN-MDSCs activity through CD40L-CD40 interaction, favoring immunosuppression and tumor onset. In prostate cancer patients, in silico analyses correlated poor clinical outcomes with high expression of genes related to mast cells and PMN-MDSCs. Cancer Immunol Res; 6(5); 552-65. ©2018 AACR.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)552-565
Number of pages14
JournalCancer immunology research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2018


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