Immunotherapy has become a leading modality for the treatment of cancer, but despite its increasing success, a substantial number of patients do not benefit from it. Cancer-related neutrophils have become, in recent years, a subject of growing interest. Distinct sub-populations of neutrophils have been identified at advanced stages of cancer. In this study, we aimed to evaluate the role of neutrophils in mediating the efficacy of immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICI) treatments (α-PD-1/PD-L1), by assessing lung tumor models in mice. We found that G-CSF overexpression by the tumor significantly potentiates the efficacy of ICI, whereas neutrophils’ depletion abrogated their responses. Adoptive transfer of circulating normal-density neutrophils (NDN) resulted in significantly reduced tumor growth, whereas low-density neutrophils (LDN) had no effect. We next investigated the effect of ICI on neutrophils’ functions. Following α-PD-L1 treatment, NDN displayed increased ROS production and increased cytotoxicity toward tumor cells but decreased degranulation. Together, our results suggest that neutrophils are important mediators of the ICI treatments and that mainly NDN are modulated following α-PD-L1 treatment. This research provides a better understanding of the function of neutrophils following immunotherapies and their impact on the efficacy of immunotherapy, supporting better understanding and future improvement of currently available treatments.
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- Lung cancer