The Neutrophil: The Underdog That Packs a Punch in the Fight against Cancer

Ustyanovska Avtenyuk, N., Visser, N., Bremer, E. & Wiersma, V. R., 2020, In : International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 21, 21, p. 1-34 34 p., 7820.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

The advent of immunotherapy has had a major impact on the outcome and overall survival in many types of cancer. Current immunotherapeutic strategies typically aim to (re)activate anticancer T cell immunity, although the targeting of macrophage-mediated anticancer innate immunity has also emerged in recent years. Neutrophils, although comprising ≈ 60% of all white blood cells in the circulation, are still largely overlooked in this respect. Nevertheless, neutrophils have evident anticancer activity and can induce phagocytosis, trogocytosis, as well as the direct cytotoxic elimination of cancer cells. Furthermore, therapeutic tumor-targeting monoclonal antibodies trigger anticancer immune responses through all innate Fc-receptor expressing cells, including neutrophils. Indeed, the depletion of neutrophils strongly reduced the efficacy of monoclonal antibody treatment and increased tumor progression in various preclinical studies. In addition, the infusion of neutrophils in murine cancer models reduced tumor progression. However, evidence on the anticancer effects of neutrophils is fragmentary and mostly obtained in in vitro assays or murine models with reports on anticancer neutrophil activity in humans lagging behind. In this review, we aim to give an overview of the available knowledge of anticancer activity by neutrophils. Furthermore, we will describe strategies being explored for the therapeutic activation of anticancer neutrophil activity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7820
Pages (from-to)1-34
Number of pages34
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 2020

ID: 141587733