Splenectomy inhibits non-small cell lung cancer growth by modulating anti-tumor adaptive and innate immune response

Liran Levy*, Inbal Mishalian, Rachel Bayuch, Lida Zolotarov, Janna Michaeli, Zvi G. Fridlender

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


It has been shown that inhibitors of the immune system reside in the spleen and inhibit the endogenous antitumor effects of the immune system. We hypothesized that splenectomy would inhibit the growth of relatively large nonsmall lung cancer (NSCLC) tumors by modulating the systemic inhibition of the immune system, and in particular Myeloid Derived Suppressor Cells (MDSC). The effect of splenectomy was evaluated in several murine lung cancer models. We found that splenectomy reduces tumor growth and the development of lung metastases, but only in advanced tumors. In immune-deficient NOD-SCID mice the effect of splenectomy on tumor growth and metastatic spread disappeared. Splenectomy significantly reduced the presence of MDSC, and especially monocytic-MDSC in the circulation and inside the tumor. Specific reduction of the CCR2C subset of monocytic MDSC was demonstrated, and the importance of the CCL2-CCR2 axis was further shown by a marked reduction in CCL2 following splenectomy. These changes were followed by changes in the macrophages contents of the tumors to become more antitumorigenic, and by increased activation of CD8+ Cytotoxic T-cells (CTL). By MDSC depletion, and adoptive transfer of MDSCs, we demonstrated that the effect of splenectomy on tumor growth was substantially mediated by MDSC cells. We conclude that the spleen is an important contributor to tumor growth and metastases, and that splenectomy can blunt this effect by depletion of MDSC, changing the amount and characteristics of myeloid cells and enhancing activation of CTL.

Original languageAmerican English
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


  • Lung cancer
  • MDSC
  • Metastases
  • Splenectomy
  • Tumor immunology


Dive into the research topics of 'Splenectomy inhibits non-small cell lung cancer growth by modulating anti-tumor adaptive and innate immune response'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this