CANCER BIOLOGY

The benefits of sloughing off

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Science  15 Jan 2016:
Vol. 351, Issue 6270, pp. 237-238
DOI: 10.1126/science.351.6270.237-c

Polymorphic neutrophils inhibit tumor cell growth in the mouse uterus

PHOTO: BLAISDELL ET AL., CANCER CELL (14 DECEMBER 2015) © CELL PRESS

The clinical success of cancer immunotherapy has intensified interest in the role of the various immune cells that infiltrate solid tumors. Among these are polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMNs), potent effectors of inflammation that are thought to promote tumor growth. Blaisdell et al. studied mouse models of uterine cancer and found that, in contrast to expectation, PMNs inhibited tumor growth and progression, and that it was the hypoxic state of the tumors that attracted them. Once there, these immune cells caused the tumor cells to slough off from the uterine lining, resulting in their death. Human tumors with high levels of PMNs, as assessed by gene expression analyses, correlated with improved patient survival.

Cancer Cell 28, 785 (2015).

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