Immu-25. analysis of immunosuppressive myeloid cells in the glioblastoma tumor microenvironment reveals therapeutically targetable immunomodulatory signals across populations

Mohammad Asad,Julio Inocencio, Celina Crisman,Benjamin Himes


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Abstract Immunosuppression in glioblastoma (GBM) remains a critical and poorly understood barrier to the development of effective novel therapies. Increasing evidence points to the critical role of immunosuppressive myeloid cells in the immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment and an intriguing target for ameliorating tumor-mediated immune suppression. Efforts to characterize the myeloid milieu in the tumor microenvironment have revealed a highly heterogenous population of cells with the capacity to exert immunosuppressive effects. In order to maximize the efficacy of potential therapeutic targets, we sought to identify immune checkpoint markers expressed across a range of immunomodulatory myeloid cell populations in the tumor microenvironment of patients undergoing resection for GBM. Freshly collected ultrasonic aspirate obtained during the primary surgery for GBM resection (based on preoperative imaging and intraoperative frozen section, later confirmed on final pathology) was prepared for high dimensional flow cytometry to quantify the immune checkpoint marker expression profile of a number of described immunosuppressive myeloid cell populations, including both monocytic and granulocytic myeloid-derived suppressor cells (mMDSC and gMDSC), and CD16+ non-classical monocytes (NCM). mMDSCs expressed particularly high levels of TIGIT (53.9±19.27%), which was also highly expressed in the NCM population (25.03±5.44%). NCMs also demonstrated high levels of B7H3 expression (39.85±18.05%), which has recently been implicated as an important immune checkpoint protein in GBM. gMDSCs demonstrated a rather different expression profile, with significantly higher levels of VISTA expression than other immunomodulatory markers (p< 0.05). These findings underscore the diversity of immunomodulatory signaling in the tumor-associated myeloid cell compartment, emphasizing the challenges in developing single-target immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy in GBM. Nevertheless, this data points to some common patterns of expression across major immunomodulatory cell populations that remain understudied in GBM and could herald more promising avenues of immunotherapy development.
immunosuppressive myeloid cells,tumor microenvironment,myeloid cells,glioblastoma
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