ABSTRACT: Squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs) are sun-induced skin cancers that are particularly numerous and aggressive in immunosuppressed individuals. SCCs evade immune detection at least in part by downregulating E-selectin on tumor vessels, thereby restricting entry of skin-homing T cells into tumors. We find that nitric oxide (NO) potently suppresses E-selectin expression on human endothelial cells and that SCCs are infiltrated by NO-producing iNOS(+) CD11b(+) CD33(+) CD11c(-) HLA-DR(-) myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs). MDSCs from SCCs produced NO, transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β), and arginase, and inhibited endothelial E-selectin expression in vitro. MDSCs from SCCs expressed the chemokine receptor CCR2 (chemokine (C-C motif) receptor 2) and tumors expressed the CCR2 ligand human β-defensin 3 (HBD3), suggesting that CCR2/HBD3 interactions may contribute to MDSC recruitment to SCCs. Treatment of SCCs in vitro with the inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) inhibitor N(ω)-nitro-L-arginine(L-NNA) induced E-selectin expression at levels comparable to imiquimod-treated SCCs undergoing immunologic destruction. Our results suggest that local production of NO in SCCs may impair vascular E-selectin expression. We show that MDSCs are critical producers of NO in SCCs and that NO inhibition restores vascular E-selectin expression, potentially enhancing T-cell recruitment. The iNOS inhibitors and other therapies that reduce NO production may therefore be effective in the treatment of SCCs and their premalignant precursor lesions, actinic keratoses.
Journal of Investigative Dermatology 06/2012; 132(11):2642-51. · 6.31 Impact Factor