Signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 in myeloid-derived suppressor cells: an opportunity for cancer therapy

Inès Dufait, Elsa Van Valckenborgh, Eline Menu, David Escors, Mark De Ridder and Karine Breckpot _

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:42698-42715. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.8311

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Inès Dufait1,2, Els Van Valckenborgh3, Eline Menu3, David Escors4, Mark De Ridder1 and Karine Breckpot2

1 Department of Radiotherapy, Vrije Universiteit, UZ-Brussel, Brussels, Belgium

2 Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Technology, Vrije Universiteit, UZ-Brussel, Brussels, Belgium

3 Laboratory of Hematology and Immunology, Vrije Universiteit, UZ-Brussel, Brussels, Belgium

4 Immunomodulation Group, Navarrabiomed-Fundaçion, Miguel Servet, IdiSNA, Navarra, Spain

Correspondence to:

Karine Breckpot, email:

Keywords: MDSC, STAT3, T cell, immunotherapy, radiotherapy

Received: December 17, 2015 Accepted: February 23, 2016 Published: March 23, 2016


Cancer progression is in part determined by interactions between cancer cells and stromal cells in the tumor microenvironment (TME). The identification of cytotoxic tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes has instigated research into immune stimulating cancer therapies. Although a promising direction, immunosuppressive mechanisms exerted at the TME hamper its success. Myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) have come to the forefront as stromal cells that orchestrate the immunosuppressive TME. Consequently, this heterogeneous cell population has been the object of investigation. Studies revealed that the transcription factor signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) largely dictates the recruitment, activation and function of MDSCs in the TME. Therefore, this review will focus on the role of this key transcription factor during the MDSC’s life cycle and on the therapeutic opportunities it offers.

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