Research ArticleCancer

Human tumor-associated monocytes/macrophages and their regulation of T cell responses in early-stage lung cancer

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Science Translational Medicine  13 Feb 2019:
Vol. 11, Issue 479, eaat1500
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aat1500

In defense of tumor-associated macrophages

Although preclinical models using implanted tumors in mice are valuable, they cannot completely recapitulate the early stages of natural tumor development in humans. To better understand how monocytes and macrophages influence developing tumor immunity, Singhal et al. studied samples from patients with early-stage lung cancer. They phenotyped monocytes and macrophages in tumors and adjacent tissue, as well as samples from control subjects without cancer. The authors found that, although tumor-associated macrophages expressed PD-L1, these cells did not generally suppress T cell responses. Their results suggest that tumor-associated macrophages should not be assumed to be protumorigenic, especially during early stages of cancer.

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