Tumors frequently induce immature myeloid cells (iMC), which suppress specific and unrelated cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) responses and are termed myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC). Mainly analyzed by in vitro assays in tumor transplantation models, little is known about their function in autochthonous tumor models in vivo. We analyzed iMC in 3 SV40 large T (Tag)-driven conditional autochthonous cancer models with different immune status: (1) Early Tag-specific CTL competence and rare stochastic Tag activation leading to sporadic cancer, which induces an aberrant immune response and CTL tolerance; (2) Cre/LoxP recombinase-mediated hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) development in neonatal Tag-tolerant mice; and (3) Tag-activation through Cre recombinase-encoding viruses in the liver and HCC development with systemic anti-Tag CTL immunity. In the first but not two latter models, tumors induced CTL hyporesponsiveness to tumor-unrelated antigens. Regardless of the model, tumors produced interleukin-6 and vascular endothelial growth factor but not granulocyte macrophage–colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) and induced iMC (CD11b(+)Gr-1(int)) that suppressed CTL responses in vitro. None of the iMC from the different tumor models suppressed CTL responses in adoptive cell transfer experiments unless GM-CSF was provided in vivo. Together, iMC expand independent of the type of antitumor response and are not immunosuppressive in a cell-autonomous fashion.
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