Circulating neutrophil subsets in advanced lung cancer patients exhibit unique immune signature and relate to prognosis

Merav E. Shaul, Ophir Eyal, Silvia Guglietta, Pazzit Aloni, Asaf Zlotnik, Ester Forkosh, Liran Levy, Lukas M. Weber, Yonathan Levin, Alon Pomerantz, Hovav Nechushtan, Evgeniy Eruslanov, Sunil Singhal, Mark D. Robinson, Carsten Krieg, Zvi G. Fridlender*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


The accumulation of circulating low-density neutrophils (LDN) has been described in cancer patients and associated with tumor-supportive properties, as opposed to the high-density neutrophils (HDN). Here we aimed to evaluate the clinical significance of circulating LDN in lung cancer patients, and further assessed its diagnostic vs prognostic value. Using mass cytometry (CyTOF), we identified major subpopulations within the circulating LDN/HDN subsets and determined phenotypic modulations of these subsets along tumor progression. LDN were highly enriched in the low-density (LD) fraction of advanced lung cancer patients (median 7.0%; range 0.2%-80%, n = 64), but not in early stage patients (0.7%; 0.05%-6%; n = 35), healthy individuals (0.8%; 0%-3.5%; n = 15), or stable chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients (1.2%; 0.3%-7.4%, n = 13). Elevated LDN (>10%) remarkably related with poorer prognosis in late stage patients. We identified three main neutrophil subsets which proportions are markedly modified in cancer patients, with CD66b+/CD10low/CXCR4+/PDL1inter subset almost exclusively found in advanced lung cancer patients. We found substantial variability in subsets between patients, and demonstrated that HDN and LDN retain a degree of inherent spontaneous plasticity. Deep phenotypic characterization of cancer-related circulating neutrophils and their modulation along tumor progression is an important advancement in understanding the role of myeloid cells in lung cancer.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)4204-4218
Number of pages15
JournalFASEB Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology


  • lung cancer
  • mass cytometry
  • neutrophils
  • phenotypic modulation


Dive into the research topics of 'Circulating neutrophil subsets in advanced lung cancer patients exhibit unique immune signature and relate to prognosis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this