Significance of immunosuppressive cells as a target for immunotherapies in melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers

Setsuya Aiba, Taku Fujimura

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) have been detected in most skin cancers. TAMs produce various chemokines and angiogenic factors that promote tumor development, along with other immunosuppressive cells such as myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs), regulatory T cells (Tregs) and tumor-associated neutrophils. TAMs generated from monocytes develop into functional, fully activated macrophages, and TAMs obtain various immunosuppressive functions to maintain the tumor microenvironment. Since TAMs express PD1 to maintain the immunosuppressive M2 phenotype by PD1/PD-L1 signaling from tumor cells, and the blockade of PD1/PD-L1 signaling by anti-PD1 antibodies (Abs) activate and re-polarize TAMs into immunoreactive M1 phenotypes, TAMs represent a potential target for anti-PD1 Abs. The main population of TAMs comprises CD163+ M2 macrophages, and CD163+ TAMs release soluble (s)CD163 and several proinflammatory chemokines (CXCL5, CXCL10, CCL19, etc.) as a result of TAM activation to induce an immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment together with other immunosuppressive cells. Since direct blockade of PD1/PD-L1 signaling between tumor cells and tumor-infiltrating T cells (both effector T cells and Tregs) is mandatory for inducing an anti-immune response by anti-PD1 Abs, anti-PD1 Abs need to reach the tumor microenvironment to induce anti-immune responses in the tumor-bearing host. Taken together, TAM-related factors could offer a biomarker for anti-PD1 Ab-based immunotherapy. Understanding the crosstalk between TAMs and immunosuppressive cells is important for optimizing PD1 Ab-based immunotherapy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1087
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Aug


  • Anti-PD1 Abs
  • Chemokines
  • MDSCs
  • PD1/PD-L1 signaling
  • Soluble CD163
  • TAMs
  • TANs
  • Tregs


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