Cancer Metabolism

Energy metabolism manipulates the fate and function of tumour myeloid-derived suppressor cells



In recent years, a large number of studies have been carried out in the field of immune metabolism, highlighting the role of metabolic energy reprogramming in altering the function of immune cells. Myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) are a heterogeneous population of cells generated during a large array of pathological conditions, such as cancer, inflammation, and infection, and show remarkable ability to suppress T-cell responses. These cells can also change their metabolic pathways in response to various pathogen-derived or inflammatory signals. In this review, we focus on the roles of glucose, fatty acid (FA), and amino acid (AA) metabolism in the differentiation and function of MDSCs in the tumour microenvironment, highlighting their potential as targets to inhibit tumour growth and enhance tumour immune surveillance by the host. We further highlight the remaining gaps in knowledge concerning the mechanisms determining the plasticity of MDSCs in different environments and their specific responses in the tumour environment. Therefore, this review should motivate further research in the field of metabolomics to identify the metabolic pathways driving the enhancement of MDSCs in order to effectively target their ability to promote tumour development and progression.

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We appreciate Dr. Bo Zhao (Department of Medicine Case Western Reserve University) ’s critical comments and invaluable suggestions on this manuscript.

Author contributions

C.H., B.P., and G.L. performed the bibliographical research and co-wrote the manuscript. Y.Z. participated in paper writing and figure design. H.Y. conceived the idea of the review, provided comments, and reviewed the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Huanfa Yi.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

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The research is supported by the grant from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (81671592) and the Science and Technology Department of Jilin Province (20180101110JC, 20190201140JC).

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Hu, C., Pang, B., Lin, G. et al. Energy metabolism manipulates the fate and function of tumour myeloid-derived suppressor cells. Br J Cancer 122, 23–29 (2020).

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