Cancer Microenvironment

, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp 169–177 | Cite as

Tumor Microenvironment and Myeloid-Derived Suppressor Cells

  • Viktor Umansky
  • Alexandra Sevko
Original Paper


Tumor progression has been demonstrated to be supported by chronic inflammatory conditions developed in the tumor microenvironment and characterized by the long-term secretion of various inflammatory soluble factors (including cytokines, chemokines, growth factors, reactive oxygen and nitrogen species, prostaglandins etc.) and strong leukocyte infiltration. Among leukocytes infiltrating tumors, myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) represent one of the most important players mediating immunosuppression. These cells may not only strongly inhibit an anti-tumor immune reactions mediated by T cells but also directly stimulate tumorigenesis, tumor growth and metastasis by enhancing neoangiogenesis and creating a suitable environment for the metastatic formation. This review provides an overview of interactions between MDSCs and tumor cells leading to MDSC generation, activation and migration to the tumor site, where they can strongly enhance tumor progression. Better understanding of the MDSC-tumor interplay is critical for the development of new strategies of tumor immunotherapy.


Myeloid-derived suppressor cells Cancer Immunosuppression Tumor microenvironment Chronic inflammatory factors Tumorigenesis 



myeloid-derived suppressor cells


vascular endothelial growth factor


transforming growth factor




regulatory T cells


tumor-associated macrophages


dendritic cells


signal transducer and activator of transcription


inducible nitric oxide synthase




nitric oxide


reactive oxygen species


T cell receptor


tumor necrosis factor




granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor


granulocyte colony-stimulating factor


macrophage colony-stimulating factor


chemokine C-C motif ligand




prostaglandin E2


stem cell factor


all-trans-retinoic acid



This work was supported by the DKFZ-MOST Cooperation in Cancer Research (grant CA128, to VU), Dr. Mildred Scheel Foundation for Cancer Research (grant 108992, to VU), the Initiative and Networking Fund of the Helmholtz Association within the Helmholtz Alliance on Immunotherapy of Cancer (to VU).

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Skin Cancer Unit, German Cancer Research CenterHeidelbergGermany
  2. 2.Department of Dermatology, Venereology and Allergology, University Medical Center MannheimRuprecht-Karl University of HeidelbergHeidelbergGermany

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