Inhibition of curcumin on myeloid-derived suppressor cells is requisite for controlling lung cancer

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Lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer mortality. Myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) are potent immune-suppressive cells and present in most cancer patients. Recently, several studies have shown that curcumin inhibits the expansion of MDSCs in some cancers. However, it is not clear how curcumin modulates the suppressive function of MDSCs, and whether curcumin achieves anti-tumor effects via regulating the expansion of MDSCs in lung cancer. Here, our results showed that curcumin significantly inhibited tumor growth in a Lewis lung carcinoma (LLC) isogenic tumor model. Curcumin reduced the accumulation of MDSCs in spleen and tumor tissue in LLC isogenic model. And curcumin promoted the maturation and differentiation of MDSCs in tumor tissue. Notably, curcumin inhibited the expression level of immune suppressive factors of MDSCs, arginase-1 (Arg-1) and ROS, in purified MDSCs from tumor tissue in vivo. Expectedly, curcumin also inhibited the immunosuppressive function of isolated MDSCs from tumor tissue and spleen of tumor bearing mice in vitro. Moreover, curcumin decreased the level of IL-6 in the tumor tissue and serum from LLC-bearing mice. Taken together, curcumin indeed possesses anti-cancer effect and inhibits the accumulation and function of MDSCs. And curcumin reduces the level of IL-6 in tumor-bearing mice to impair the expansion and function of MDSCs. These results suggest that inhibition of MDSCs in tumor is requisite for controlling lung cancer.

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